Author Topic: Underprivileged Overachiever || 75k Memoir  (Read 1352 times)

Offline TY-FTW

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Underprivileged Overachiever || 75k Memoir
« on: December 03, 2019, 11:07:28 PM »
I want all the feedback I can get. Good bad or indifferent. I truly appreciate your 2 cents. Please and Thank You For The Win!

Dear [Agent Name],

     Take The Blind Side, set it in L.A., and swap out Michael Oher for a smart, upbeat main
character with a hell of a lot more personality, and you have UNDERPRIVILEGED
OVERACHIEVER, a memoir of my life, complete at 75,000 words.

     At age fourteen, I ran away, but not from home—because I never had one to begin with.
At school I participated in every sport, club, and after-school activity, so that when the other kids
finally left, I could settle in for the night by my locker. Refusing to call myself homeless or join
my mother and little brother at any soup kitchen lines, I lived alone in the streets.

     I spent my childhood dealing with drugs, gangs, violence, and my mother's mental
illness, but my real enemy was always poverty.

     When I eventually moved into a homeless shelter, I did so out of a sense of duty. I felt it
was time to be a real man at age fifteen and start taking care of my family. I had to set the
example for my little brother who followed so closely in my footsteps that one stumble might
cause us both to fall.

     I am now a pilot in the Air Force. My story has been told by several media outlets: The
Los Angeles Times, The Los Angeles Sentinel, The Gazette
, and more, but the world only has a
glimpse of the iceberg that is my true story. Armed with my professionally edited manuscript, I
aim to change that.
                                                                                                                                                           Sincerely,
                                                                                                                                                          YA Salimu
 
« Last Edit: December 09, 2019, 07:44:08 PM by TY-FTW »

Offline NicoleA

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Re: Underprivileged Overachiever || 75k Memoir
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2019, 10:32:53 AM »
Hi! I would be careful about putting links in the email since some filters bounce them. You can just offer the ms and/or synopsis and send when they request. Good luck!

Offline kaperton

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Re: Underprivileged Overachiever || 75k Memoir
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2019, 12:37:21 PM »
I like version 2 better, but here's what I would have done with it.
The line in your query that grabbed my attention (sleeping at your locker) is buried in the second paragraph, so I've moved closer to the top.

This sounds like a great memoir! Good luck!

Dear [Agent Name],
     
I am writing to you seeking representation for my memoir, UNDERPRIVILEGED OVERACHIEVER, complete at 75,000 words. 

At age fourteen, I ran away, but not from home--because I never had one to begin with. At school I participated in every sport, club, and after-school activity, because when the other kids finally went home, I would settle in for the night by my locker. Refusing to call myself homeless or join my mother and little brother at any soup kitchen lines, I lived alone in the streets.

When I eventually moved into the homeless shelter, I did so out of a sense of duty. I felt like it was time to be a real man at age fifteen and to start taking care of my family. I had to set the example for my little brother who followed so closely in my footsteps that one misstep might cause us both to trip.

My story is like The Blind Side, only it takes place in Los Angeles and has a smart, upbeat main character with a hell of a lot more personality than Michael Oher—me. I spent my childhood dealing with drugs, gangs, violence, and my mother's mental illness, but my real enemy was always poverty.

I’m a pilot in the Air Force. My story has been told by several media outlets: The Los Angeles Times, The Los Angeles Sentinel, The Gazette, and more, but the world only has a glimpse of the iceberg that is my true story. Armed with my professionally edited manuscript, I aim to change that.

Sincerely,
Me Again
« Last Edit: December 06, 2019, 12:39:57 PM by kaperton »

Offline TY-FTW

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Re: Underprivileged Overachiever || 75k Memoir
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2019, 03:30:06 PM »
@kaperton,

Thank you very much. If my manuscript ever gets published it will be because awesome folks like you helped me sell it via your advice on my query letter. Peace.

Offline nmsheldon

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Re: Underprivileged Overachiever || 75k Memoir
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2019, 01:25:05 PM »
Okay, I'm not an agent, nor have I had a successful query, so I don't know what they're looking for, but I'll give it a try. I also don't know how querying a memoir might be different from fiction. I had the impression that non-fiction has a completely different process for finding agents, so I may be looking for the wrong things.

Quote
Take The Blind Side, set it in L.A., and swap out Michael Oher for a smart, upbeat main character with a hell of a lot more personality, and you have UNDERPRIVILEGED OVERACHIEVER, a memoir of my life, complete at 75,000 words.

I haven't read the Blind Side, nor seen the movie, but Wikipedia says it's about football. If I'm wrong, you can ignore what I'm saying in this paragraph. Although you mention High School sports, the rest of your query doesn't sound like it's about a sports career. If it is, maybe you'd want to mention that somewhere. If it isn't you may want to draw out how the books compare otherwise. Sports memoirs almost seem like a separate genre of their own, with a slightly different audience, and I wouldn't want someone to have the wrong idea.

The phrase "a lot more personality" sounds like bragging to me, since you're talking about yourself. It might be true, in which case your memoir will hopefully back this up. But, I would worry about whether this might turn an agent off before they have a chance to read it.

Quote
At age fourteen, I ran away, but not from home—because I never had one to begin with. At school I participated in every sport, club, and after-school activity., because wWhen the other kids finally went home, I would settle in for the night by my locker. Refusing to call myself homeless or join my mother and little brother at any the soup kitchen lines, I lived alone in the streets.

I spent my childhood dealing with drugs, gangs, violence, and my mother's mental illness, but my real enemy was always poverty.

When I eventually moved into a homeless shelter, I did so out of a sense of duty. At age fifteen, I felt it was time to be a real man at age fifteen and start taking care of my family. I had to set the example for my little brother who followed so closely in my footsteps that one misstep might cause us both to trip.

This is definitely an intriguing story, and I think many would like to read about this.

Quote
Today, I’m a pilot in the Air Force.

This is where you pulled a rabbit out of a hat. My instinct says to pull this line out into its own paragraph, but I don't know if my instincts are right.

Quote
My story has been told by several media outlets: The Los Angeles Times, The Los Angeles Sentinel, The Gazette, and more, but the world only has a glimpse of the iceberg that is my true story. Armed with my professionally edited manuscript, I aim to change that.

Which Gazette? There are numerous papers called The Gazette across the US. Maybe agent's would know what you mean, where I don't.

Overall, you're story is intriguing. I hope it does get picked up by someone.