Author Topic: Query like a literary agent  (Read 1406 times)

Offline Miss Plum

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Query like a literary agent
« on: March 29, 2021, 07:22:53 PM »
Dear Sarah,

Per the instructions on your website, I am telling you why I have picked you to query, and it is this: because you state on your website that you are interested in "smart women's fiction" and "book club fiction." Yes, this is something you have in common with a thousand other agents, but if that's all you're going to tell me, then that's all I have to go on. Your Twitter feed is nothing but snarky political commentary, photos of your pampered Labradoodle, and announcements of other clients' publishing dates. Your MSWL is nothing but a carbon copy of your profile on your agency's website. Your profile on your agency's website says nothing beyond what I've cited above, unless you count "Sarah graduated from the University of Kentucky with a B.A. in English" -- SAY, that could be a reason I'm querying you! I always wanted to be repped by an agent who graduated from U Kentucky with a B.A. in English. Consider it done.

Needless to say, my novel is smart women's fiction, let's say 88k words. What difference does it make whether it's 85k or 89k? But anyway consider it 88k. Oh and yes, it's "smart." Smart women's fiction. Not that "dumb women's fiction" genre that seems to be so popular but remains oddly unnamed. And yes, it's for the book clubbers. Did you know that you can pick any book on Amazon, go to the 1- and 2-star reviews, and find that half of them are "I had to read this clunker for my book club and everyone hated it"?

Anyhoo, my novel -- let's call it THE WEIRD, CONFUSED, AND POSSIBLY EVIL GIRL -- is about a woman who finds out her husband is cheating on her, so she decides to set him up for her own murder. As he comes closer to prosecution, she sets off on a road-trip across the country during which she decides to go to Tangiers; there, she steals her college chum's husband and gets away with another murder. After being visited by two different people who both claim to be the same guy, she overcomes her agoraphobia and alcohol addiction and goes back to her husband. Later, Rachel visits Megan's tombstone at a cemetery and states: "We are tied forever now, the three of us, bound forever by the story we shared." Later, she sits on the opposite side of the train, hopeful for a new life.

Similar projects are -- look, of course I'm going to list a couple of wild bestsellers. What am I going to say, that it's similar to Silas Marner and The Scarlet Letter? Or how about I pick some Amazon 2.5 star thing that sold 8 copies and compare it to that?

Oh, and you want to know what my credentials are. Well, since I'm a debut novelist, what can I say? I write awesome grocery lists. I'm writing this letter. Just this morning I wrote a note to my gardener asking him to trim back the juniper bushes.

Naturally, my novel has a few BIPOC characters, a neurodiverse character, an LGBTQ character (pick two letters), and it's written in my #ownvoice, which is that of a fourth-generation German who doesn't speak a word of German. The legacy of my ancestors weighs upon me in this strange new land.

Thank you for your time, and I understand that even though you respond to queries only if you're interested in following up and you don't really give any time-frame for any sort of response, you still want me to inform you if I receive interest elsewhere. For all I know, this query could have been purged from your Deleted Items folder or it could be languishing at two-months-out in your reading queue, but I'm supposed to chase you down and dutifully report to you on the status of my project. Truthfully, even if I receive a request for the full I won't know what its status is, because another charming habit of people in your chosen profession is to request full manuscripts and then ghost the authors. But I'll play along.

Thanks for your time. My project really can't be any worse than those of your clients. I checked their ratings on Amazon and yikes.

Best,

Debut Author

Offline Odd John

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Re: Query like a literary agent
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2021, 08:56:25 PM »
Well, that brightened up my evening, thanks! I don't know what I liked more, the swipe at "smart women's fiction" (didn't this used to be "women's literary fiction"?) or your extravagant protagonist. Lampoon on!  :) :yes: :)
My inferiority complex masks my superiority complex. It's very convenient.

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Offline Viddiest

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Re: Query like a literary agent
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2021, 08:57:23 PM »
Hahaha loved this. Thanks for a lovely laugh.

Have you thought about writing a romance based on your correspondence with the gardener? :)



Offline Miss Plum

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Re: Query like a literary agent
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2021, 11:41:17 PM »
LOL, my "extravagant protagonist" is a mashup from Gone Girl, Tangerine, The Woman in the Window, and The Girl on the Train.

LOLOL (really!) the romance with the gardener... a lighthearted romance, Dirty Love.

Offline richardclin

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Re: Query like a literary agent
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2021, 03:38:00 AM »
Miss Plum,


I love your writing. Please write an entire 88k word book, nay, five-book series featuring this protagonist, The Debut Author, who will one day no doubt supplant The Man with No Name, but who has A Golden Gun, One Red Shoe, and the Iron Mask along with The Young Adult Gal in the Train Window and That Girl Who was Just Here but is now Gone as my favorite character of all time. Just her enthralling querying adventures alone could take up the first three volumes in the series, with the final two chronicling how she and her now wily sidekick agent secure that five-figure (if you count the two zeros to the right of the decimal point as well) advance that the book will never earn out...


Meanwhile, I hope that I too will find an agent soon to rep my epic MG/YA/NA/Smart Woman/BIPOC/LGBTQIA++ opus, THE BOY WHO CRIED WEREWOLF (think TWILIGHT meets something by that guy Aesop).


Sincerely,


Richard

Offline MsGretaGreen

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Re: Query like a literary agent
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2021, 11:01:56 AM »
This was fantastic. I might have identified with the following line a little too much:  "Oh, and you want to know what my credentials are. Well, since I'm a debut novelist, what can I say? I write awesome grocery lists. I'm writing this letter. Just this morning I wrote a note to my gardener asking him to trim back the juniper bushes."

Offline Miss Plum

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Re: Query like a literary agent
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2021, 02:01:50 PM »
You guys are killin' me! Richardclin, "(if you count the two zeros to the right of the decimal point as well)" I'm STEALING THAT!!

Offline Viddiest

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Re: Query like a literary agent
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2021, 05:52:52 PM »
Dirty Love sounds filthy good. :)

Offline richardclin

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Re: Query like a literary agent
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2021, 10:44:01 PM »

Dear Miss Plum,

You are welcome to use my phrase. However, please follow these simple steps:
1) Send me a formal email request no more than 499 characters (I know many will allow up to 500 characters but really I need conciseness here) on how you plan to use my phrase
2) If this is accepted, I need you to paste into email (no attachments please as I have not yet figured out how to open them) your first two pages of your MS. If I deem this partial meets my superior standards, then I will ask for the next two pages and so on over the course of a year or so, until I have received your entire MS. At which time I am still likely to reject your request
3) If you have somehow passed this gauntlet AND you either led the Navy SEAL team that caught Bin Laden or spearheaded the effort to successfully map out the human genome, then you may contact my as-of-yet unnamed agent or the licensing rights. Please be patient. I still need to choose from the thousands of agents clamoring to represent me and then send out form rejections to the others --- this will take a long time for my assistant to do as he is also the one composing this email for me. If you have not heard back from him, I mean, me within the next six months, please consider it a no from him and me as we often share licensing rights requests with one another.
 :wag:


Sincerely,
RCL

You guys are killin' me! Richardclin, "(if you count the two zeros to the right of the decimal point as well)" I'm STEALING THAT!!
« Last Edit: April 03, 2021, 12:03:18 PM by richardclin »

Offline jonny_555

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Re: Query like a literary agent
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2021, 02:09:08 AM »
Just hilarious!

Find the blessing in your curse

Offline Miss Plum

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Re: Query like a literary agent
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2021, 11:44:44 AM »
rcl, yer killin' me!!!

Quote
(no attachments please as I have not yet figured out how to open them)

Finally, the truth behind that requirement is exposed!

Offline DrCCat

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Re: Query like a literary agent
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2021, 09:27:55 AM »
you forgot the part where:

OMG, I like totally read your twitter and am following you because you are the coolest!
Aut inveniam viam aut faciam - attributed to General Hannibal

Offline Merry

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Re: Query like a literary agent
« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2021, 06:24:53 PM »
I am dying at "The legacy of my ancestors weighs upon me in this strange new land."