Thursday, December 8, 2011

Here is a second stab at the query letter.

After getting some secret feedback, I have taken another stab at the query. Some cheese has been removed. I am trying to strike a tone between cheese and dramz. Not sure if this succeeds any better than the last attempt.

Writing this thing is in many ways harder than writing the damn novel was. I just deleted this sentence: "I am not cut out to write copy." SHUT UP SARA. Ugh. I will endeavor to believe that I can do this. I want to believe.

all right so here's the second version

Dear XXXX,

I bet you don’t believe in vampires. Few humans do.

Mirabel Radcliffe is determined to keep it that way. As the CEO of Spira Communications, Mirabel uses mass media to brainwash the public and keep the existence of her kind a secret.

But the twenty-four hour news cycle doesn’t stop for a woman who can only go out at night. That’s why Mirabel has gathered a team of perfect doubles—mortal women permanently altered to look like her, talk like her, think like her and conduct her affairs during the daytime.

Kate Avery thought she’d be working for SpiraCom as a reporter. Instead, her boss has her scouring the Internet, searching for people who know the truth and passing their IP addresses to the higher-ups. When Kate realizes what’s happening, she tries to take the company down from the inside. It doesn’t work.

Now Mirabel has conscripted Kate into service as a double. She’s taken Kate’s face, voice, and even her memories. Worse still, the procedures that left Kate looking exactly like Mirabel also left her with an unfortunate dependency on vampire blood.

Fortunately for Kate, Mirabel is not without enemies. When Mirabel’s blood brother Adam Radcliffe kidnaps Kate from SpiraCom headquarters, she gets a chance for freedom—and a chance for revenge.

REDLISTED, 80,000 words, is my first novel.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Sara Beaman

Your thoughts are welcome. If you don't feel comfortable ripping me apart in the comments you can always email me at skbeaman at gmail dot com.

Thanks for reading either way!


  1. I'm impressed! You hooked me! I don't know if inquiry letters usually follow this straight-to-the-point format, but I love it. I don't have any constructive criticism, never having done anything like this before, but best of luck!

  2. Only comments I have:
    1. I believe it should be "twenty-four-hour news cycle" with an extra hyphen. I think it could also be written as "24-hour news cycle" which might be easier to read?
    2. The other thing that jumps out at me is the use of "unfortunate" in a sentence/paragraph immediately followed by the use of "fortunately" to start the next.

    Weird picky things. I do think this version is better than the one earlier although I couldn't say why. They both intrigue me. :)

  3. Thank you guys! Much appreciated!

  4. I like this version better than the last one, but i feel like there needs to be better flow between the part about Kate and the part about Mirabel. I don't know if this would work, but maybe if you said something more about how Mirabel uses her bizness to harvest people who would work as her body doubles and use that to lead into Kate's story. Also, Kate's story about what she does all day (pre-transformation), seems a little unbelievable to me, is there more to it? It just feels a little flat, like what exactly is she searching for? There has to be some sort of cover story Mirabel is feeding her workers to look for, right? Other than that, I think your query letter is improving. You just need to smooth the transition between Kate and Mirabel's stories, and I think you'll be on the right track. Also, now that I think of it, do you think there needs to be more information about why Adam wants revenge on Mirabel, or is the letter supposed to be like a trailer for the book to make the agent want to find out more?

  5. ps sorry for the wall of text, i'm typing on my netbook

  6. Jen, the common wisdom is that query letters should be under 250 words. They need to include the hook of the novel but shouldn't include a plot synopsis. Or at least that's how I understand it. I'll look at trying to make the transition between the third and fourth paragraphs less abrupt. Thank you!

  7. I hate writing query letters, and actually don't know the current rules for book queries- you probably have more current research than I.

    That said, with the above comments, this is beautiful. I am completely "vampired-out" and you've got me wanting to read this. That says something about your abilities. :)

  8. Your book query looks fascinating -- definitely something I would add to my reading list. I don't know what the guidelines are (sorry), but one thing stood out to me. "searching for people who know the truth and passing their IP addresses to the higher-ups." I read this several time and thought, "... And? They get a prize? Brainwashed? Murdered? Conscripted?" Maybe it was just the "IP addresses" part that made it hard to emotionally connect with. Eh, who knows. I'm probably off base anyways. Best of luck! You can do this! Don't shortchange yourself.

  9. Rachel, that's useful, thank you! One of the people in my writer's group actually helped me fix that particular section. I knew it was off but sometimes it's hard to come up with alternatives on your own.