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Another One Bites The Dust

September 16, 2020

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It’s a good day when you wake up to receive another email from a London agent who asks for the full manuscript and states that both her and her assistant love the premise and first three chapters.

That brings my agent tally to 10 full manuscript requests since June. Surely, surely, one of them will bite at some stage, right?

I’m in the throws of my Curtis Brown course and it’s actually really quite a full on outline, which I’ll post about later. But it’s keeping me busy (and distracted) from the potential agent representation I’m hoping to receive!

Like I said in the previous post, I think I’m gaining attention, not only due to the story (I’d like to think that’s the main reason), but due to the query itself.

I’ve got a template which I alter, depending on who I’m sending it to. And these are just some of the little strategies I’ve been using thus far. I hope you can take something out of it, but I’m in no way claiming to be the guru of queries. But if you’re like me and are addicted to reading about writers and their templates of cover letters, queries, synopsis and author bios, then I’m sure you’ll enjoy this.

Dear (use name and surname),

Elevator pitch: should be able to spice up the story in 20 words or less.

Online darling, Annabelle, is murdered live in front of thousands of voyeurs paying to watch her twenty-four-seven.

What am I wanting? What is my book? What genre and word-count. Comparable Titles.

I am currently seeking representation for my novel, The Hidden, a high concept psychological suspense, approximately 89,000 in length. The Hidden is comparable to Big Little Lies (the television series), Gone Girl and Girl on a Train.

Brief Blurb. No spoilers yet. Leave this for the synopsis.

Exemplary ex-detective, Claire Fuller, suffers from agoraphobia, isolating herself inside a new lake house on the banks of Windermere. Her husband and young daughter are the only people Claire trusts. The disappearance of her four-year-old son, Max, unhinges Claire daily, reaffirming the horrors of their past London life. Judgements of mothers. A divorce gone wrong. The loss of her job. Criminals lurking.

When Claire is contacted by her ex-boss to lead the homicide case of an online influencer, Annabelle Young, Claire ignores the request. However, when evidence proves Annabelle was in fact Claire’s friend, living under a hidden persona, she agrees to join the team. But the obsession to find the killer leads Claire to partake in strange and deviant behaviours, to push the limits and to face a moral dilemma that could jeopardise her life.

Who am I addressing this to and why? What do I know about my subject? Do I have any other works on the go?

(Agent’s first Name), I am submitting this to you as you enjoy domestic suspense and psychological thrillers. Although, The Hidden is a thriller, it’s essentially about a woman suffering from grief and social isolation. It’s about fractured relationships between females and mothers with an emphasis on competitive personalities through social media. The Hidden is dark, gritty, with an unexpected climax. I have begun the sequel to The Hidden and I have plotted three other psychological thrillers, each with an emphasis on social media.

Brief Bio and experience. Name-drop where possible. (hahaha)

As a secondary English teacher, my students frequently analyse the impacts social media has on esteem, anxiety, and self-worth. The Hidden is based around social media and the judgements we make on the profiles we view. As a mother, I have also witnessed first-hand how social media warps friendships, relationships, and values.

On a professional and personal note, I have degrees in creative writing, journalism, public relations and English teaching, each from Curtin University of Technology, in Western Australia. I continue to refine my creative writing skills by working with mentors and Western Australian published authors such as: name drop, name drop, name drop.

Many thanks for considering my work, (Agent name)

Kind regards,

Holly Craig

  • I have received feedback from an agent who didn’t take my partial any further but said that my query letter really got her interested.
  • I’ve researched how to write a proper query for years and Query Shark are the best for advice.
  • You’ll notice I keep it really professional and PERSONAL. So many interviews from agents talk about their biggest pet peeve being writers who address their query with Dear sir/madam or Dear agent, or to whom it may concern. It means you haven’t even researched who they are or why you are sending it to them. The say they instantly delete them.
  • I’ve also gone so far as to find interviews with each of the agents I’m querying to mention personal info about them and added it to their query letter.
  • The section where I use their name is always adjusted and personalised to suit them and their requirements.
  • Keep it short and sweet.
  • I haven’t been clever or funny (unless they’re a really trendy or modern/hip agency). You can judge whether it’s acceptable to have a bit of fun with them.

 

I’m not a professional and I’m not claiming to know how to perfect a query, but so far in 10 weeks it’s got me noticed, so it must be working somehow!

Next up, I’ll share the excel spread sheet which I use to help me organise who I’m querying.

Thanks for visiting!

Holly

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