Ask Daphne! About My Query 13

February 10th, 2017 • Hannah Fergesen

It’s time for another About My Query!

Dear Agent,

Given your interest in romance and erotic literature, I wanted to contact you about my novel, Sex, Money and the Price of Truth, for which I’m currently seeking representation.

This erotic novel blends romance, suspense and a fascinating exploration of the power of secrets. It captures the current high level of interest in strong sexual content with fully developed characters and a riveting plot. <– resist the urge to tell us outright what the themes are, how riveting your plot may be, etc. These are things that should come through in your synopsis without needing to be explained.

The manuscript is complete at 82,000 words and can be provided, in whole or part, upon request. I deeply appreciate your time and attention. <– I generally prefer to see this information at the end of a query, before or after the bio.

Synopsis: <– you don’t need to title the separate components of your query

Lola and Aidan would have been the perfect match.

Except for the lie that brought them together: Dating her was a job, and not his first.

The two lines above are a great hook, but they can and should be one sentence, not two paragraphs: Lola and Aidan would have been the perfect match, if not for the lie that brought them together: dating her was a job, and not his first.

When a stunning man appears at her local coffee shop, Lola knows better than to engage him. Her romantic history is littered with men who were too good to be true. But Aidan deftly takes down her guard <– Don’t tell me that he does, tell me how he does leaving her with only one option – go out with him. 

The supposedly chance meeting quickly develops into a passionate affair, despite the secrets that hold them back. She wasn’t looking for love. He wasn’t supposed to find it. <– these are punchy lines but don’t actually tell us much about their supposed secrets. That’s a big part of your conflict, so make sure you don’t neglect that

Ominous dreams and unshakable desire fill Lola’s nights, as her fine-tuned intuition sends her messages she can’t ignore but can’t quite decipher. She is in danger, but from whom? <– Too vague. Tell us more about the deception. Give us concrete details. What is at stake, for her and for their relationship? Also, this suddenly feels paranormal to me. Is that the case? If not, careful with wording. If so, make it clear that psychic-ness is part of the package with her from the get-go, so I know what I’m getting into.

As the deception is revealed, so is the threat that puts more than just their relationship in jeopardy. Aidan and Lola are forced to confront the deceit in their pasts, as well as decide whether they are willing to pay the high price of truth. <–Again, too vague. Give me specifics. What must they overcome to be together?

Bio:

PK is an MIT-educated purveyor of self-awareness and glee who ditched her corporate career to follow a higher calling. Using spiritual principles, psychological methods and sexy stories, she can bring anyone back to life. When not rocking the stage and the page, she can be found loving her family to excess, globe-trotting to the next great adventure, and sporting bright red lips as a tango diva.

 

Thanks so much for submitting your query, PK! You’ve got some great stuff here. I like that you’ve taken keeping your synopsis short to heart, and that you have several hooks and punchy lines throughout.

As far as critique, one of the first thing that jumps out at me is the separation and titling of your your synopsis, and your bio. These do not need to be separated – a query letter, by nature, should flow into each of these elements naturally without needing to be titled or called out. The second big thing is that your bio should be condensed a bit, and should not be in third person – your query, while possessing elements of one, is not a book flap, it’s a cover letter.

Lastly, the query is a bit too vague on the details. Secrets are mentioned, but not what they are. Lola’s intuition is mentioned, but not whether it’s an actual psychic ability or just a good gut instinct. Deceit and a threat is mentioned, but not what the deceit and threats are. I don’t know the particulars of the plot, which is what I’m looking for besides voice in a query.

If you can chop that paragraph that tells us about the themes and plot, and flesh out the actual details of the plot more, I think you’ll be much closer.

I hope this has been useful!

–Hannah

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One Response to “Ask Daphne! About My Query 13”

  1. Pascale Kavanagh Says:

    Thank you, Hannah! Your assessment made a lot of sense. I had already been tweaking the query to incorporate more detail and would love if you could let me know if the version below is going in the right direction. Again, I deeply appreciate your help.

    Dear Agent,

    Keeping up with her family of super-achievers had pushed Lola Jennings away from her creative dreams and into an impressive life and career in New York City. With hard work, she maintains the façade of her carefully crafted life, but consistently falls prey to men who are too good to be true.

    Aidan fits in perfectly – stunning, charming, smart and sexy.

    Unfortunately, he is also lying. He had been coerced, by someone who knew too much about his past, to date her and dump her. The rules were simple: no sex, no feelings, no confessions.

    Aidan’s secrets and Lola’s suspicions are no match for the desire they can’t deny. But the closer they get, the more danger they’re in, as the one pulling the strings reveals the extent of his vengeance. Working together, the couple are able to save themselves, but the knotty entanglement at the heart of their meeting ultimately proves untenable as a basis for love.

    Lola’s heartbreak topples over into the precarious structures of her life, leaving her shattered and reaching for the one thing she had let go of so long before: her writing. Through her words, she makes sense of the complex series of events that led her to that moment and acknowledges the extent of her own hypocrisy.

    To find their way back to each other, they are forced to confront the deceit in their pasts, and decide whether they are willing to pay the high price of truth.

    Sex, Money, and the Price of Truth is an erotic novel, complete at 82,000 words, and part of a trilogy.

    Although I began as an MIT-educated engineer, I have been following my calling as a spiritual teacher and writer for over a decade. All my work meets at the intersection of spirituality, psychology, and sexuality.

    I deeply appreciate your time and consideration.

    Pascale Kavanagh