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BURN IT TO THE GROUND (Query feedback wanted! Happy to return the favor.)


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#1 gigigriffis

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 02:37 AM

Would love feedback on my query and very happy to return the favor (just let me know where to find yours)!

 

QUERY:

 

Dear agent,

 

Jeanne de Clisson is out for revenge.

 

At forty-two, her perfect life—a loving husband, three boisterous kids, and two castles in the French countryside—shatters when Phillip VI, the King of France, arrests and beheads her husband for treachery.

 

There’s no evidence and no trial—only the execution.

 

The nobles are shocked. The paranoid king is relieved. And Jeanne…

 

Jeanne wants the king’s head on a pike.

 

To get justice, she’ll sell her castles, learn to captain a pirate fleet, and risk everything—including her life and the only family she has left. 

 

Based on the true story of notorious female pirate Jeanne de Clisson, BURN IT TO THE GROUND is a 90,000-word historical thriller set in the 1300s in France and England. It’s a revenge tale a la COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO with a lady lead, a more diverse cast, and a commercial style and may appeal to fans of REJECTED PRINCESSES and AND I DARKEN.

 

I’m a copywriter and travel writer with 15 years experience. Previous publication credits include Get Lost Magazine, International Living, Huffington Post, Fodor’s guidebooks, and an essay in TINY BUDDHA’S 365 TINY LOVE CHALLENGES, published by Harper Collins.

 

[reason I’m querying].

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

Gigi

 


Will you take a peek at my query?

 

Sincerely,

 

Gigi Griffis

Copywriter, Content Strategist, & Travel Guide Author

Blog  /  Website  /  Facebook  /  Twitter


#2 JoQwerty

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 09:55 AM

Great query. Contains all the elements we are told a query should contain.

 

Two small suggestion.

 

1) I would combine the lines:

 

The nobles are shocked. The paranoid king is relieved. And Jeanne…

 

Jeanne wants the king’s head on a pike.

 

 

Into one:

 

The nobles are shocked. The paranoid king is relieved. And Jeanne…Jeanne wants the king’s head on a pike.

 

2) The sentence:

 

To get justice, she’ll sell her castles, learn to captain a pirate fleet, and risk everything—including her life and the only family she has left.

 

 

is in future tense. Why not set it in the present like the previous paragraphs?

 

In pursuit of vengeance, she sells her castles, learns to captain a pirate fleet, and risks everything—including her life and the only family she has left.

 

Good luck!



#3 kat8

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 02:46 PM

Would love feedback on my query and very happy to return the favor (just let me know where to find yours)!

 

QUERY:

 

Dear agent,

 

Jeanne de Clisson is out for revenge.

 

At forty-two, her perfect life—a loving husband, three boisterous kids, and two castles in the French countryside—shatters when Phillip VI, the King of France, arrests and beheads her husband for treachery.

 

There’s no evidence and no trial—only the execution.

 

The nobles are shocked. The paranoid (this word is a little clunky and unnecessary; from the previous information, it's clear he is paranoid, and it kind of breaks up the parallel flow of these three sentences) king is relieved. And Jeanne…

 

Jeanne wants the king’s head on a pike.

 

To get justice, she’ll sell her castles, learn to captain a pirate fleet, and risk everything—including her life and the only family she has left. 

 

Based on the true story of notorious female pirate Jeanne de Clisson, BURN IT TO THE GROUND is a 90,000-word historical thriller set in the 1300s in France and England. It’s a revenge tale a la COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO (When I was doing my own query research, I read that comp titles are meant more for sales and commercial placement, so classics are not a good idea. It does sound like your book is like Monte Cristo, and you do have other titles. I'm not sure how important this is, but I just wanted to let you know)with a lady lead, a more diverse cast, and a commercial style and may appeal to fans of REJECTED PRINCESSES and AND I DARKEN.

 

I’m a copywriter and travel writer with 15 years experience. Previous publication credits include Get Lost Magazine, International Living, Huffington Post, Fodor’s guidebooks, and an essay in TINY BUDDHA’S 365 TINY LOVE CHALLENGES, published by Harper Collins.

 

[reason I’m querying].

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

Gigi

 

I think this is an amazing query!! I definitely want to read your book after reading this, and I really think that a lot of agents would feel the same!

 

Good luck! If you have the time, I'd love it if you could take a look at my query, linked in the signature below :)


My query: 27 Club


#4 Nessa

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 03:20 PM



Would love feedback on my query and very happy to return the favor (just let me know where to find yours)!

 

QUERY:

 

Dear agent,

 

Jeanne de Clisson is out for revenge.

 

At forty-two, her perfect life—a loving husband, three boisterous kids, and two castles in the French countryside—shatters when Phillip VI, the King of France, arrests and beheads her husband for treachery.[To me, this has the tone of a modern day story. The language seems off to me. But that's just me. The other posters don't seem to have that problem.]

 

There’s no evidence and no trial—only the execution.

 

The nobles are shocked. The paranoid king is relieved. And Jeanne…

 

Jeanne wants the king’s head on a pike.[Visually, it's weird having so many sentences on their own lines. Consider combining them. Great pitch so far, though! :)]

 

To get justice, she’ll sell her castles, learn to captain a pirate fleet, and risk everything—including her life and the only family she has left. [Consider reworking the list of things she has to do. It's sort of a cliche in sentence craft for querying. It's one of those your-mileage-may-vary things. Really depends on your personal taste.]

 

Based on the true story of notorious female pirate Jeanne de Clisson, BURN IT TO THE GROUND is a 90,000-word historical thriller set in the 1300s in France and England. It’s a revenge tale a la COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO with a lady lead, a more diverse cast, and a commercial style and may appeal to fans of REJECTED PRINCESSES and AND I DARKEN.[I love AND I DARKEN. Great!]

 

I’m a copywriter and travel writer with 15 years experience. Previous publication credits include Get Lost Magazine, International Living, Huffington Post, Fodor’s guidebooks, and an essay in TINY BUDDHA’S 365 TINY LOVE CHALLENGES, published by Harper Collins.

 

[reason I’m querying].

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

Gigi


I love dogs


#5 gigigriffis

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 01:27 AM

Thanks, all!

Nessa: the modern language is intentional and reflects the way the story itself is. The goal is to write a historical adventure tale in a modern style that will appeal to a broad commercial audience. Working on that within the book itself with a mentor, but definitely want to keep the query style modern and snappy.


Will you take a peek at my query?

 

Sincerely,

 

Gigi Griffis

Copywriter, Content Strategist, & Travel Guide Author

Blog  /  Website  /  Facebook  /  Twitter


#6 Bkrasnik

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 01:54 AM

Would love feedback on my query and very happy to return the favor (just let me know where to find yours)!

 

QUERY:

 

Dear agent,

 

Jeanne de Clisson is out for revenge. (I am thinking it might be better if you give us the "why" here. Otherwise the hook is a bit generic and overdone.)

 

At forty-two, her perfect life—a loving husband, three boisterous kids, and two castles in the French countryside—shatters when Phillip VI, the King of France, arrests and beheads her husband for treachery. 

 

There’s no evidence and no trial—only the execution. (This is very short and sweet, but I am wondering if there is a way you can hint at the motivations of the king to kill her husband. Giving us a taste, can really heighten the suspense in this query.)

 

The nobles are shocked. The paranoid king is relieved. And Jeanne…

 

Jeanne wants the king’s head on a pike.

 

To get justice, she’ll sell her castles, learn to captain a pirate fleet, and risk everything—including her life and the only family she has left.  (I really like this last sentence.)

 

Based on the true story of notorious female pirate Jeanne de Clisson, BURN IT TO THE GROUND is a 90,000-word historical thriller set in the 1300s in France and England. It’s a revenge tale a la COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO with a lady lead, a more diverse cast, and a commercial style and may appeal to fans of REJECTED PRINCESSES and AND I DARKEN.

 

I’m a copywriter and travel writer with 15 years experience. Previous publication credits include Get Lost Magazine, International Living, Huffington Post, Fodor’s guidebooks, and an essay in TINY BUDDHA’S 365 TINY LOVE CHALLENGES, published by Harper Collins.

 

[reason I’m querying].

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

Gigi

 

This is a very streamlined query, good job! I understood everything well and there was coherent flow, but I feel like it could be spiced up a bit if you reveal the motivations of the king. If you give us that, I think this query will be good to go! 

 

If you have some time, I would appreciate feedback on my query :) 


Have a moment to offer up some very much appreciated feedback? :)

My Young Adult Dystopian Query: http://agentquerycon...ate-on-post-15/


#7 W.P.

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 08:20 AM

Dear agent,

 

Jeanne de Clisson is out for revenge. ((Although it has some punch to it, it think it could be a stronger hook were it more specific. Why, how, or when would do. Just something else that made it less trope-y and more unique.)) 

 

At forty-two, her perfect life—a loving husband, three boisterous kids, and two castles in the French countryside—shatters when Phillip VI, the King of France, arrests and beheads her husband for treachery.

 

There’s no evidence and no trial—only the execution. 

 

The nobles are shocked. The paranoid king is relieved. And Jeanne…

 

Jeanne wants the king’s head on a pike. ((I like these short sentences building up the tension, but I'm not sure the paragraphs are working. I think you could join the second with the third and leave this one the shortest to it visually packs more of a punch.))

 

To get justice, she’ll sell her castles, learn to captain a pirate fleet, and risk everything—including her life and the only family she has left. ((I'm conflicted on this ending. On one hand, her risking her children is a huge stake/conflict/source of worry, but on the other hand, if she herself doesn't care enough about them to keep them safe, why should the reader. You know what I mean? The way it is phrased makes it sound like she is willing to sacrifice the safety of her children, which makes it sound like she doesn't care. if she doesn't, why should I? If it were phrased some other way, that emphasised her love for them and her determination to get justice AND keep her children safe, then I think I'd care more about the ending. But this is totally subjective. I know others loved the sentence. )) 

 

Based on the true story of notorious female pirate Jeanne de Clisson, BURN IT TO THE GROUND is a 90,000-word historical thriller set in the 1300s in France and England. It’s a revenge tale a la COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO with a lady lead, a more diverse cast, and a commercial style and may appeal to fans of REJECTED PRINCESSES and AND I DARKEN.

 

 

Awesome query! I can see many agents trying to snatch it! :D I made a few comments which I hope will be helpful in some way. :)

 

If you have time, could you please take a look at my query as well? :) I'd love the feedback.  http://agentquerycon...ntasy/?p=358017



#8 AndrewF

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 08:52 AM

Thanks, all!

Nessa: the modern language is intentional and reflects the way the story itself is. The goal is to write a historical adventure tale in a modern style that will appeal to a broad commercial audience. Working on that within the book itself with a mentor, but definitely want to keep the query style modern and snappy.

Hey I like your query letter, I just completed a historical fiction book myself and I put a modern style to it as well and threw in some older dialog. Not much but some. You have a lot more experience than I do but if you're interested in doing a first chapter swap I would like the opportunity. My book is Age of Exploration. 



#9 Sataris

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 11:10 PM

Would love feedback on my query and very happy to return the favor (just let me know where to find yours)!

 

QUERY:

 

Dear agent,

 

Jeanne de Clisson is out for revenge. 

 

At forty-two, her perfect life—a loving husband, three boisterous kids, and two castles in the French countryside—shatters when Phillip VI, the King of France, arrests and beheads her husband for treachery.

 

There’s no evidence and no trial—only the execution.

 

The nobles are shocked. The paranoid king is relieved. And Jeanne…

 

It seems like you could cut the above lines and jump straight into the piracy thing - being that the path she takes for revenge is more interesting than the revenge itself (or her wanting it).

 

Just a quick first line like "when Philip VI beheads Jeanne de Clisson's husband, she sets out to even the score on the high seas." Just an example (and a terrible one) but it seems like the quicker you can get to housewife-turned-pirate thing the hookier your query will be. Might help to give us some more specifics on what her plan is with regard to piracy too—right now that whole plot line is condensed into a single fragment where she learns to captain a fleet and it's too cool to stay that buried.

 

basically, her wanting revenge just seems generic at first glance because we don't know how she's going to go about it at that point, and the earlier you can answer that question the better.

 

Jeanne wants the king’s head on a pike.

 

To get justice, she’ll sell her castles, learn to captain a pirate fleet, and risk everything—including her life and the only family she has left. what happens if she succeeds? does she have to answer for the bloodshed she's caused or is there collateral damage etc. what's her rock-and-a-hard-place situation?

 

Based on the true story of notorious female pirate Jeanne de Clisson, BURN IT TO THE GROUND is a 90,000-word historical thriller set in the 1300s in France and England. It’s a revenge tale a la COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO with a lady lead, a more diverse cast, and a commercial style and may appeal to fans of REJECTED PRINCESSES and AND I DARKEN.

 

I like the latter comps but I'd definitely drop the classic reference. We also know it's a lady lead, and since your query is in the modern style, we can assume the book will be, too.

 

I’m a copywriter and travel writer with 15 years experience. Previous publication credits include Get Lost Magazine, International Living, Huffington Post, Fodor’s guidebooks, and an essay in TINY BUDDHA’S 365 TINY LOVE CHALLENGES, published by Harper Collins. is there a reason NYT is missing in here?

 

[reason I’m querying]. you could stick the diverse cast bit here most likely given that 99% of agents are looking for that at the moment

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

Gigi

Hope that was helpful! Best of luck.


No current query.


#10 gigigriffis

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 01:47 AM

Thanks, AndrewF! I don't have time to swap right now (I already have a full queue of reading for CPs), but good luck!


Will you take a peek at my query?

 

Sincerely,

 

Gigi Griffis

Copywriter, Content Strategist, & Travel Guide Author

Blog  /  Website  /  Facebook  /  Twitter


#11 RosieSkye

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 12:30 AM

Would love feedback on my query and very happy to return the favor (just let me know where to find yours)!

 

QUERY:

 

Dear agent,

 

Jeanne de Clisson is out for revenge.  (This feels a little generic - I'd add something to make it stand out.)

 

At forty-two, her perfect life—a loving husband, three boisterous kids, and two castles in the French countryside—shatters when Phillip VI, the King of France, arrests and beheads her husband for treachery. (I'd put the year up front here, because otherwise it starts out feeling very modern, but then you get into kings and beheadings, and I'm like, "Wait, what?"  It pulls me out of the flow.)

 

There’s no evidence and no trial—only the execution.

 

The nobles are shocked. The paranoid king is relieved. And Jeanne…

 

Jeanne wants the king’s head on a pike.

 

To get justice, she’ll sell her castles, learn to captain a pirate fleet, and risk everything—including her life and the only family she has left. (I'm a little confused about her motivations now.  It seems like she cherished her home and family, but part of that life got destroyed, and now she's willing to risk what's left of it to get back at the guy who began to destroy it?  Does she care about her kids or not?)

 

Based on the true story of notorious female pirate Jeanne de Clisson, BURN IT TO THE GROUND is a 90,000-word historical thriller set in the 1300s in France and England. It’s a revenge tale a la COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO with a lady lead, a more diverse cast, and a commercial style and may appeal to fans of REJECTED PRINCESSES and AND I DARKEN.

 

I’m a copywriter and travel writer with 15 years experience. Previous publication credits include Get Lost Magazine, International Living, Huffington Post, Fodor’s guidebooks, and an essay in TINY BUDDHA’S 365 TINY LOVE CHALLENGES, published by Harper Collins.

 

[reason I’m querying].

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

Gigi

 

 

Good luck!



#12 Caligulas

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 08:14 PM

Would love feedback on my query and very happy to return the favor (just let me know where to find yours)!

 

QUERY:

 

Dear agent,

 

Jeanne de Clisson is out for revenge. (This isn't particularly "hooking", as in, if you read that one sentence alone and asked someone if they wanted to read on you'd probably get a lackluster response type of not hooking. The hooking part is the next sentence. Start with that)

 

At forty-two, her perfect life—a loving husband, three boisterous kids, and two castles in the French countryside—shatters when Phillip VI, the King of France, arrests and beheads her husband for treachery.  (Took out the arrest because the beheading is really the meat of it)

 

There’s no evidence and no trial—only the execution(Took this out because it's repetitive)

 

The nobles are shocked. The paranoid king is relieved. And Jeanne…

 

Jeanne wants the king’s head on a pike. (Good, all the more reason to cut the opening sentence. Weakens this one with repetition. Up until this point she could feel a number of ways)

 

To get justice, she’ll sell her castles, learn to captain a pirate fleet, and risk everything—including her life and the only family she has left. (By? Needs a little more. I get her anger, I get her goal, but what's the obstacle standing in her way? She wants to get a fleet, what does she stand to lose by doing so? Just a tad bit more to lay down the stakes clearly. Otherwise, this seems to be in pretty good shape. :) )

 

Based on the true story of notorious female pirate Jeanne de Clisson, BURN IT TO THE GROUND is a 90,000-word historical thriller set in the 1300s in France and England. It’s a revenge tale a la COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO with a lady lead, a more diverse cast, and a commercial style and may appeal to fans of REJECTED PRINCESSES and AND I DARKEN.

 

I’m a copywriter and travel writer with 15 years experience. Previous publication credits include Get Lost Magazine, International Living, Huffington Post, Fodor’s guidebooks, and an essay in TINY BUDDHA’S 365 TINY LOVE CHALLENGES, published by Harper Collins.

 

[reason I’m querying].

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

Gigi






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