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I Am Not There, I Did Not Die (Pets, Self-Help)

Non-Fiction

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#1 Careygram

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 08:55 AM

I'm nervous as hell but what have I got to lose?  Thank you in advance for any input on this first-time query. I will be sure to return the favor.

Debbie

 

Dear (Agent),

 

I have identified you as an agent specializes in the genre and subject matter for the book I have written titled “I Am Not There, I Did Not Die”.  The manuscript is a 113 page, twenty-nine-thousand-word document.

 

When I impulse-adopted my feisty Canaan dog Patches, I never expected to love so selflessly or grieve so deeply as a result of our battle with canine osteosarcoma.

 

I adopted my two dogs from a local shelter.  The last thing on my mind as I was adopting them was losing them.  I was naïve as a first-time dog parent.  Over 8 years, I got to see my adopted Canaan dog, Patches, go from a food-aggressive, rough-around-the-edges dog to a joyful and loving dog, secure with the knowledge that she was loved and that food would always be plentiful.  I was woefully unprepared for her diagnosis of osteosarcoma.  I was terrified from the moment of diagnosis and found of a wealth of information regarding the mechanics of how to manage the battle with this disease on the internet.  What I could not find was a resource that explained how I might feel during the journey, a resource that would help me deal with the fear and sadness I would feel at 3am while watching my dog sleep as I could not.  No “how to” on managing and processing the day to day emotions and stresses of having a three-legged dog on chemotherapy.  No information on how you’ll feel during the battle with this horrific disease, even if you know what to expect.  This book tells the story of our journey and gives you a look inside my mind about what day-to-day life is like when caring for a pet with a terminal illness.  It is for anyone who is alone on their emotional island in the middle of the night, scared and dreading what the next day might bring. I hope my story provides some relief and healing from the grief that begins long before the battle is over.

 

I am a Registered Dietitian with an MBA and a dedicated employee of Johnson and Johnson for 26 years.  I have counseled numerous patients and clients on nutrition for healing and maintaining their health and wellness.  This is my first foray into self-help through a shared experience.  I am a huge animal advocate who propagates the “Adopt Don’t Shop” tenet.  I previously produced The Girlystuff Podcast which garnered well over 100,000 hits while active and started a well-read blog on Tripawds.com.  Encouraged by my peers, I decided to put into words a tribute for my beloved, brave little girl.   

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to consider my submission.  I have attached a table of contents and sample chapters for your consideration. I have a competitive title analysis, pet industry and canine osteosarcoma facts, and full manuscript available upon request.  

 

Sincerely,

DC



#2 ARDavis

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 11:08 PM

Dear (Agent),

 

I have identified you as an agent specializes in the genre and subject matter for the book I have written titled “I Am Not There, I Did Not Die”.  The manuscript is a 113 page, twenty-nine-thousand-word document.

 

When I impulse-adopted my feisty Canaan dog, Patches, I never expected to love so selflessly or grieve so deeply as a result of our battle with canine osteosarcoma.

 

I adopted my two dogs from a local shelter. (That's nice, but you're only talking about one doggo at the moment.) The last thing on my mind as I was adopting them was losing them.  I was naïve as a first-time dog parent.  Over 8 years, I got to see my adopted Canaan dog, Patches, go from a food-aggressive, rough-around-the-edges dog to a joyful and loving dog, secure with the knowledge that she was loved and that food would always be plentiful.  I was woefully unprepared for her diagnosis of osteosarcoma.  I was terrified from the moment of diagnosis and found of a wealth of information regarding the mechanics of how to manage the battle with this disease on the internet.  What I could not find was a resource that explained how I might feel during the journey, a resource that would help me deal with the fear and sadness I would feel at 3am while watching my dog sleep as I could not.  No “how to” on managing and processing the day to day emotions and stresses of having a three-legged dog on chemotherapy.  No information on how you’ll feel during the battle with this horrific disease, even if you know what to expect.  This book tells the story of our journey and gives you a look inside my mind about what day-to-day life is like when caring for a pet with a terminal illness.  It is for anyone who is alone on their emotional island in the middle of the night, scared and dreading what the next day might bring. I hope my story provides some relief and healing from the grief that begins long before the battle is over.

 

I am a Registered Dietitian with an MBA and a dedicated employee of Johnson and Johnson for 26 years.  I have counseled numerous patients and clients on nutrition for healing and maintaining their health and wellness.  This is my first foray into self-help through a shared experience.  I am a huge animal advocate who propagates the “Adopt Don’t Shop” tenet.  I previously produced The Girlystuff Podcast which garnered well over 100,000 hits while active and started a well-read blog on Tripawds.com.  Encouraged by my peers, I decided to put into words a tribute for my beloved, brave little girl.   

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to consider my submission.  I have attached a table of contents and sample chapters for your consideration. (Do this only if it states so in the guidelines.I would also reverse these sentence, have the thanks be the last thing they read. Before the I have attached sentence, give the title and the word count ex: I Am Not There, I Did Not . . . (29,000) I have a competitive title analysis, pet industry and canine osteosarcoma facts, and full manuscript available upon request.  

 

Sincerely,

DC

 

Man, I am really sorry you had to go through that. As a dog lover myself, I feel for you. Our dogs really are like our kids, and having to watch that must have been the hardest/saddest thing in the world. The fact that you are brave enough to put that out that really speaks to me. 

 

I just wanted you to know that before I get into my critique. The subject's not the problem. It's the letter and maybe even the content itself. 29K words isn't really a novel of any kind. From research I learned about 50K words is the sweet spot for most agents. If you look back on your manuscript, maybe there are places that you can expand upon. Maybe there's more research to be done. Or maybe, and this isn't to discourage you in any way, but maybe this is just fitting for a blog of some kind. I can tell you're really passionate about the subject, and you seem to definitely want to reach out to other people. Maybe if you wrote a blog about your experiences, you can achieve the same goal? I know I would be interested in reading your blog if you turned it into such. 

 

That being said, as much as I admired parts of this letter, it does need work. You need to get straight into the point. Tell the agent why this is worth reading and why it's important right away. I'm not an expert on nonfiction queries, so I say going to resources like query shark would be a great start for you. I think it's OK to put personal stuff in a nonfiction query but I think there might be a limit to it. But I know you need to put in the main story without adding your feelings to it. Do that first and then find places that you can expand. 

 

Good luck and I hope I helped. 



#3 smithgirl

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 12:19 PM

Dear (Agent):

 

I have identified you as an agent specializing in the genre and subject matter for the book I have written titled “I AM NOT THERE, I DID NOT DIE”.  Title in all caps. It is a 29,000-word self-help book. The manuscript is a 113 page, twenty-nine-thousand-word document.

 

Usually you put the info in your first paragraph at the very end of your query. Also, try to avoid really long paragraphs.

 

When I impulse-adopted my feisty Canaan dog Patches, I never expected to love so selflessly or grieve so deeply as a result of our battle with canine osteosarcoma. I think this is good.

 

I adopted Patches my two dogs from a local shelter.  At the time, the last thing on my mind as I was adopting  them was losing her.  Focus your query on just the main dog. I was naïve as a first-time dog parent.  Over 8 years, I got to see her my adopted Canaan dog, Patches, go from a food-aggressive, rough-around-the-edges dog to a joyful and loving dog, secure with the knowledge that she was loved and that food would always be plentiful.  I was woefully unprepared for her diagnosis of osteosarcoma. 

 

I was terrified from the moment of diagnosis. On the Internet Internet is a proper noun I  found of a wealth of information on clinical disease management. regarding the mechanics of how to manage the battle with this disease on the internet.  What I could not find was a resource that explained how I might feel during the journey, a resource that would help me deal with the fear and sadness I would feel at 3am while watching my dog sleep as I could not.  No “how-to” on managing and processing the day-to-day emotions and stresses of having a three-legged dog on chemotherapy.  No information on how you’ll feel during the battle with this horrific disease, even if you know what to expect.  This book tells the story of our journey and provides gives you a look inside my mind comma about what day-to-day life is like when caring for a pet with a terminal illness.  It is for anyone who is alone on their emotional island in the middle of the night, scared and dreading what the next day might bring. I hope my story provides some relief and healing from the grief that begins long before the battle is over.

 

I am a Registered Dietitian with an MBA and a dedicated employee of Johnson and Johnson for 26 years. and have counseled numerous patients and clients on nutrition for healing and maintaining their on health and wellness issuesThis is my first foray into self-help through a shared experience.  I am a huge animal advocate who propagates the “Adopt Don’t Shop” tenet.  I previously produced The Girlystuff Podcast which garnered well over 100,000 hits while active and started a well-read blog on Tripawds.com.  Encouraged by my peers, I decided to put into words a tribute for my beloved, brave little girl. Agents are very picky re what they consider relevant platform, but I think you have a few things that might be good such as the MBA, some background in counseling, and your Podcast/blog. Ditch all the other stuff. Other people might be better informed than me re these platform details.

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to consider my submission.  I have attached a table of contents and sample chapters for your consideration. I have a competitive title analysis, pet industry and canine osteosarcoma facts, and full manuscript available upon request.  

 

Sincerely,

DC

 

Overall, I think your query is pretty good. As a person who has also lots pets to illness/old age, I find it emotionally compelling. I also think you did a good job of identifying a potential niche market for you to fill. At times it seemed a bit wordy, though, so just try to tighten it a bit. I made some suggestions.

 

I do share a concern with the previous reviewer, re the word count. I did a quick Google search for self-help/how-tos, and it says they should run 40-50,000 words. I think that any manuscript with a 29K word count would be an automatic rejection for agents -- it's just too short. I would recommend you go back and fill it in a bit, then come back to querying. I think you have a good topic and I know there are a lot of people who suffer tremendous grief with pet death. Maybe you could find some other people who lost pets and include interviews with them? Good luck.

 

One more thing. I notice you use two spaces after a period. For a long time now, that rule is one space after a period. You should get into the habit of switching from one space to two. It's not like someone will reject your for it, but it's just a useful thing to do going forward.







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