I don’t normally do this, get all self-indulgent with post after post about my work, but I had an idea today which I really need to pass by someone. I’m sitting in a cafe wracking my brains to come up with a query letter to literary agents and can’t get beyond the boring standard method of approach. You know the old routine: ‘I’m looking for representation and I saw your website and read about how you’re looking for a fresh voice and strong storytelling…’
Bearing in mind the fact that literary agents might not actually read beyond the first line of a query letter I had a moment of brilliance/madness (delete after you’ve read this post) and I’d like an independent opinion. Without saying any more this is what I thought of using as my query letter: (Let’s assume the agent’s name is Jane Smith.)
Dear Ms Smith
Writing this query letter is harder than writing a novel, so I’ve abandoned the idea and decided to let the novel’s protagonist Frieda Schoenhofer pitch it to you on my behalf. I hope you don’t mind.
I’m a little more forthcoming than Chris and don’t have much time for the contradictory niceties I know you literary types love so much. I’m a business woman in Bamberg, a very successful business woman, but what happened to me one night in Rotterdam left my world upside down and my parents grief stricken.
I have every right to feel aggrieved about the events in Rotterdam and one day I’ll find the bastard who murdered me, but for now I have a more urgent issue to deal with. My father collected film memorabilia and when he heard of my death he threw it all away. The memories contained in the collection were just too painful for him.
But I’m not dead. I’m not alive either and this is the story of how I find that film collection and bring it home. It’s also a story of redemption and my attempts, not always successful, to make amends for a previous life of wickedness. I’m not sure my parents will appreciate what I was, but I’m certain they won’t like what I’ve become and they must never find out.
However, that isn’t something you need to worry about, Jane. To be honest I’m not too worried about Chris’s attempts to sell this novel. He doesn’t write for teenagers who seem to gobble up this kind of paranormal stuff, and he makes life difficult for himself by including this novel in a wider series of stories that seems to go on forever. (It all sounds over-complex if you ask me.)
I’d love to stay longer, but a friend has asked me to reverse the effects of an exorcism. What fascinating times we live in, don’t you think, Jane?
The One Rule of Magic is 60 000 words. Please find attached a synopsis and the opening three chapters. I hope to hear from you soon.
Am I on to something here or shooting myself in the foot?
Promise to talk about something different in the next post on Friday. (You’ll like that one!)