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Sucking the life out of writng one query letter at a time

Womens Fiction Commercial Fiction

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#1 Keeppositive

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 10:34 PM

I haven't gotten any interest through my query letter. Is it confusing? Boring? I've rewritten it two or three times. Now it just looks like jumbled sentences to me, and I'm beginning to forget what the darn story is about! Suggestions greatly appreciated for this new writer. Here is my latest attempt:

 

I am a new novelist seeking representation for Sandshell Island, a women’s fiction story that explores a group’s fear of losing its identity for the sake of “progress,” and one woman’s challenge to help them, against their will (complete at 94,000 words).

When Kathlyn Murray, high school counselor, unexpectedly inherits a beach bungalow on a little known island off the Florida coast, she is shunned and dismissed by locals simply because she's a mainlander. Initially, she plans to sell the cottage, especially when residents snub her and a series of house pranks shows her that she is not welcome. However, after a student’s unexpected suicide back home, she doubts her professional abilities, and changes locations and careers, moving to her new cottage. When she learns more about the island's hostility towards outsiders, she decides her skills of mediation, compromise and peace-making can help the island overcome its anger at tourists to embrace their gifts. But she fails and earns a reputation as a troublemaker and instigator. She approaches island leaders with innovative ideas that will either seal her fate as a permanent outsider or brand her a meddler, neither one favorable. But she cannot go backwards; she will either thrive or fail on Sandshell Island taking the island’s future with her.

I am a former Literature and Language Arts teacher, and my knowledge, skills and a tough audience have served me well. Additionally, I have lived in several small cities/towns with residents who grapple with the same issue these islanders do. The themes as well as the characters stem from first-hand knowledgeThis novel will reach readers who identify with the struggles of a melting pot society, trying to blend in while maintaining independence.



#2 dogsbody

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 02:52 AM

Hi, and welcome! You might get more critiques to your query if you post it here.



#3 ThatDan

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 03:26 AM

Start your query with the second paragraph. The first can come at the end. I almost stopped reading after the first paragraph because it's too vague and boring. HOWEVER, from the second paragraph onwards I found the story very interesting (and this genre wouldn't normally pique my interest).

So that's my main suggestion, and as mentioned already, check the query critique section of the forums for more help/info.

#4 Ajax

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 05:55 AM

I don't know what's your process, but for me it takes twelve to twenty drafts over the course of six months to get the query right. I work as hard on the query letter as on my manuscript.

 

Perseverance is the key here.



#5 Keeppositive

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 09:25 AM

Thank you for the suggestions so far. I will rework it to make it more interesting; when it's the best I might be able to make it, I'll venture off the Guppie Board and into the more "public" critique arena! ;)



#6 ThatDan

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 02:10 PM

Why swim with guppies when you can swim with sharks, am i right? :D



#7 Keeppositive

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Posted 31 July 2017 - 12:57 PM

Thank you "ThatDan" for your suggestion. I sent out another few queries after changing the placement of paragraph one, per your suggestion, and got a request for a 2 week exclusive read for the full manuscript! Maybe it made all the difference. Thanks again for your input so far :)







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