To that end, with the completion of my latest novel, I am spending a lot of time on my query letter and working to get it right. One great site I have found to assist me in my endeavor is Query Shark, where renowned literary agent, Janet Reid, allows aspiring authors to post their queries. The queries are then shredded to pieces (or bitten) by Janet and a litany of faithful blog followers. The result is dramatically improved queries.
A few days ago, I posted a query here for my readers to take shark bites of their own out of. I'm glad I did too, because I got some great feedback. After reading Janet's blog, it also occurred to me that my manuscript was humorous, but my query letter wasn't, and did nothing to indicate the story's voice. So, with all of that in mind...here is my revised take two. Hopefully, by the time I have completed fine tuning the 115,000 word novel, I can get a 300 word query right! It sounds ridiculous, but after spending thousands of hours on a project, it becomes an almost insurmountable task to back away far enough from it to write a simple synopsis.
Also, remember, I am posting this because I want your feedback. If you don't want to leave a posted reply, then please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Literary Agent,
In Losing Meadow Brook, my 115,000 word novel, four men are drawn together by the inescapable bond of being the only lucid males at Meadow Brook Assisted Care Facility. When a dying mobster shows up and regales the unlikely quartet with tales of buried cash in Havana, Cuba, one of them will become obsessed by it. Bernard Mitchell will use everything within his manipulative arsenal to ensure they make the journey and get the cash…together.
Eduardo ‘Eddie’ Santiago fled Cuba with his family as a boy. Paul Wagner lived his entire life battling demons and trying to avoid the wife he barely knew. Harvey Richardson had tried to kill himself but no one knew it. Bernard was the wild card in every sense of the word. He’d been cast out of society, as well as a number of nursing homes.
Losing Meadow Brook is the story of three men doing everything they can to make it to Havana before Bernard drives them all crazy. Harvey Richardson doesn’t even like being in the same room as Bernard. Who could blame him? Bernard is loud, obnoxious, rude, and following multiple strokes, downright mean at times. He demands attention and bites the hand of anyone who tries to help him. If Harvey hadn’t lost a bet, he would have never even left the home.
Bernard is convinced the mob is going to kill him for stealing from the dying boss. That doesn’t stop him from giving the stolen cash away to a young nurse to feed his own ego. Now, Bernard must try to make it all the way to Cuba and get to the buried cash before his unwitting partners discover he is actually broke. Even though the mob didn’t kill him, that doesn’t mean his traveling companions won’t leave him for dead. Their journey together to Havana will create moments akin to The Odd Couple and Grumpy Old Men, and keep readers on the edge of their seats wondering what ridiculous thing Bernard is going to do next.
In my forty years, I have always been a writer. I am learning every day how to improve and I feel that something great is just around the next bend, beyond the next horizon…another paragraph away.
Thanks for reading!