Sunday, October 25, 2009

Whatcha Think? New Query

Once again I've revised my query letter and I'd love to hear your feedback/suggestions/opinions. I find the hardest part in writing this lovely letter is trying to fit EVERYTHING into a couple of paragraphs. Have I included the key plot points? Have I hooked you? Is it well written? Are interested to read more?

So, the following is my most recent attempt at my query for BEAUTY SECRETS. Enjoy!

Dear Mr. Agent,

Beauty Secret Representative Keira Diaz was out to sell lipstick, not solve a mystery. An early morning house call to client Marion Siebold changes that. Marion’s playboy husband, Roger, is missing and unknowingly Keira is the first to arrive at the scene of the crime. The Beaufort Police Department quickly dismisses the case; their resources are already stretched investigating a kidnapped little girl. What the police don’t realize is that one man is the key to solving both crimes.

Keira’s Southern socialite clientele hold the clues to propel the investigation forward. If it weren’t for them, Keira would have never learned of Roger’s infidelity while his wife battled breast cancer, or set up her best friend with Savannah’s most corrupt businessman. As the evidence builds, Keira vows to find Roger. What she wasn’t planning on was finding him dead—or befriending the murderer.

BEAUTY SECRETS is complete at 65,000 words. If interested, the full manuscript is available upon request. In terms of writing experience, I’ve worked as an editor for five years and I teach advanced writing courses at a local university. For more information about me or my writing, please visit my blog at

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Steph Damore said...

I would also like to add that I'm experiencing editing ADD and look forward to reading your comments, updated blog entries and any or all links that you feel like sharing. =)

Bane of Anubis said...

Steph, I like it. The 2nd paragraph threw me a bit due to tense.

"Keira’s Southern socialite clientele hold the clues to propel the investigation forward." -- does the next line relate to the clues? If so, I might change the tense - e.g., "If it weren't for them, Keira would never learn of Roger's infidelity..." (and I'd nix 'alleged,' if possible).

Great last line.

Do you wanna list genre (I'm not familiar w/ mysteries, so I don't know if there are subgenres, but if so, that might help)

Hope this helps some. And, as always, TWAGOS.e

Steph Damore said...

Thanks Bane!

Yeah, the tense has bothered me, but I wasn't exactly sure why. Thanks for pointing that out. And I was also thinking of axing "alleged" - so you're right on with my thoughts.

Good catch about the genre. Not sure if I want to list it as a cozy mystery or not. Some people are offended by that term while others embrace it. Hmmmm. Not sure about that yet.

DebraLSchubert said...

Steph, I feel like the plot is here, but not the voice. I sense this book is quite good and a lot of fun, but I'm not "getting" fun in the query. I also don't think you need this part: "most recently at a creative firm in Saginaw, Michigan."

If you want, feel free to e-mail me at I love playing with queries. ;-))

Pen Pen said...

It's very good!! I'd say the only thing I'd add would be a little bit of a "feel" for the mood of the book. I've noticed that queries that let the "depressed", or "whimsical" nature in the novel show thru are the most successful.
...I hope that makes sense...hmm.. :)

I can't wait to read ur book tho! THe plot sounds exciting! :)

Stephanie Thornton said...

Stephanie, I love the first line. I'm a sucker for a hook and you've got a good one. But I'd agree with Debra in that I want to hear more of your voice in the query.

When I was writing my query I found that it took three major revisions: one to get everything down that I knew I needed to say, one to clean it up, and one to make it pop. I feel like you're on #2. It just needs a little tweaking, a little extra oomph and I think you'll have it.

Of course, as Bane said, take all that with a grain of salt!

Steph Damore said...

Hey Debra, I've deleted the Saginaw, MI part, but I'm not sure how to go about adding more of the voice as you, Pen and Steph have commented. This is something I still need to work on. Let me mess around with it the next couple days and I'll email it to you if that's still cool - thanks for the offer!

Steph Damore said...

Thanks Pen - Like I told Debra, I need to work on the voice. I'm not quiet sure how to do that exactly in the query, but I'll figure it out.

Steph Damore said...

Hey Steph, Query #2? That's cool, I'll take that.

And I couldn't agree more with your grain of salt comment. The first request I got for a partial was from a HORRIBLE query letter (seriously, it was full of rhetorical questions and all!), so I'm not going to stress about my query too much. But then again, adding extra oomph is always a good thing.

Lynnette Labelle said...

If Beauty Secret is the company name, then it should be capped, but not representative. "not solve a mystery" is overused. I really like "Marion's playboy the scene of the crime." I don't think it's important to mention that the police dismiss the case or why. You could skip right to the last sentence of that paragraph.

In the second graph, you use "find" and "finding". Replace one of them for a fresher feel.

Like a couple of the others said, the voice isn't there, but you know that. Try not to give too much of the plot away here. I think you're trying to put too much into this. Think of it as a back cover blurb. Look through some books that are similar to yours and see how those authors wrote their blurbs. Remember, this is to tease the agent/editor. It's not a synopsis.

Hope this helps.

Lynnette Labelle

Steph Damore said...

Hi Lynnette - thanks for your feedback. I'm not sure about deleting the police and kidnapped girl sentence, because the two cases are intertwined throughout the novel. Maybe I'll look at a different way of incorporating the information.

Thx again. I'm working on adding more voice right now.

Laura Martone said...

Hi, Steph! I like the plot of your mystery - sounds fun. So, forgive my broken record-itis, but as with the other commenters, the query needs a bit more voice. Believe me, I know how difficult that can be. My query's a big pile o' poop at the moment. :-(

Steph Damore said...

Yeah, yeah, yeah - I get it. Work on the voice. My voice sings when I write prose, but business letters, eh? Not so much. Must learn how to showcase voice in query letter...