Sunday, April 30, 2006
1. Actress Tara Reid's self-titled autobiography, which she wrote, proof-read, and printed entirely by herself.
2. Tierra studied auras for a living, and her own was usually a calm blue, but now something was terribly wrong. Could she cure herself before it was too late?
3. Struggling potter Matt Tudhope finally perfected the formula for a luminous, deep-red glaze, but the key ingredient is human blood, and he's already killed all the homeless people. Now what?
4. When their new red soft drink sweeps the country, Pepsi's stock takes off. But it plummets even faster when a whistle-blowing chemist reveals that the beverage contains massive amounts of heroin.
5. A Philadelphia socialite follows her fiancé to New Mexico, only to discover he's involved in conspiracy, murder and wanton destruction. She immediately decides to look for a different fiancé.
6. University of Florida botanist Louis Carstairs is on the verge of introducing a genetically engineered strain of tomato capable of ending world hunger when he's murdered--in his locked laboratory.
Dear Mr. Evil Editor:
Philadelphia socialite Lily Vandermere [Anyone else noticed that in these queries, the socialites are always named Lily Vandermere, and the marketing assistants are always named Abby Clumm?] is engaged in a dangerous game–-while she struggles to solve the riddle of cleverly encrypted documents stolen from a mysterious land scheme, someone is killing everyone connected to them.
It is 1898. While the nation prepares for the Spanish-American War [Possibly a crucial aspect of the book, but not of this query.] and a territory fights for statehood, Lily’s arrival in the Territory of New Mexico is surrounded by deceit and corruption as she learns that both her father and her fiancé are part of a criminal land scheme. Suddenly the custodian of stolen documents from the covert plan and uncertain of who she can trust, Lily is determined to unmask the other participants involved in the conspiracy of stolen land grants, ruthless killing, and wanton destruction. [Nice family this Philadelphia socialite hails from.] Two men enter Lily’s life, each of them pivotal to the solution of the mystery: Guy Boardman, a powerful land and cattle baron, who pursues her out of lust, and Don Roman Aragon, the son of a prominent northern New Mexico family, who falls in love with her [Gee, I wonder which one turns out to be the bad guy.] and is unwittingly more personally involved in the mystery at the core of Tierra Red [What is Tierra Red? The name of the land development? A new strain of apple?] than he knows. [How, specifically, is he involved?] When the answers are finally divulged, [The answers? To what questions? Evil Editor is the only one asking questions here.] the key to the mystery is dropped at his own doorstep! But solving the mystery is not enough–-Lily and Roman must survive the consequences of learning the truth. [Wait a minute, does this take place in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico?]
As recently as 1999, Senators Pete Domenici and Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico introduced legislation in the United States Senate to initiate renewed investigation and restitution for hundreds of ignored stolen land claims. Although a work of fiction, the issue [The issue is a work of fiction?] around which the main plot of Tierra Red revolves still ignites fierce emotion more than a hundred years later.
Thank you for taking the time to read this query letter. Tierra Red was written in the spirit of the old-fashioned novel, [It's sort of a cross between Moby Dick and Oliver Twist.] long enough to present its period properly. [Nice alliteration, but so blah it's meaningless.] The book has many subplots involving strong secondary characters, but the story itself is a hybrid of many genres. [You mean it doesn't fall into the single genre category of erotic romance western mystery suspense?] The full manuscript of Tierra Red is available upon request.
Dear Mr. Evil Editor:
Philadelphia socialite Lily Vandermere is caught up in a dangerous game--as she struggles to decipher cleverly encrypted documents, someone is killing everyone connected to them.
1898. As New Mexico fights for statehood, Lily’s arrival in the Territory brings her face to face with deceit and corruption: both her father and her fiancé are part of a criminal conspiracy involving stolen land grants. When she finds herself the custodian of documents from the covert scheme, Lily determines to unmask the other participants.
Two men enter Lily’s life, each pivotal to the solution of the mystery: Guy Boardman, a powerful land and cattle baron, who pursues her out of lust; and Don Roman Aragon, the son of a prominent northern New Mexico family, who falls in love with her. Roman is, unwittingly, more involved in the affair than he knows, and eventually the key to the mystery is dropped at his doorstep. But solving the mystery is not enough–-Lily and Roman must endure the aftermath of learning the truth.
Tierra Red, at 80,000 words, has many subplots involving strong secondary characters, but is focused mainly on the issue of ignored stolen land claims, an issue that provokes fierce emotion even today: as recently as 1999, Senators Pete Domenici and Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico introduced legislation in the U.S. Senate to initiate renewed investigation and restitution for hundreds of these claims.
The full manuscript of Tierra Red is available upon request. An SASE is enclosed for your reply. Thank you.
While Evil Editor does not question the assertion that the issue of stolen land claims from 1898 continues to provoke fierce emotion, he wonders whether the query might be more intriguing if it concentrated on the murders and the romantic angle. Are Lily's father and fiancé among those killed? If so, work it in. (Perhaps their deaths inspired her to try to solve the mystery?) If they aren't dead, how does her fiancé feel about her sneaking around with Roman behind his back? Did she dump her fiancé just for being involved in a scheme that her father probably thought up, and that her fiancé only went along with because he wanted Lily to see how well he got along with the old man? The poor guy's willing to commit a felony out of love for Lily, and Lily is off with Guy and Roman, living it up? Sheesh!
The Pele Project
1. A makeover surgeon faces his most challenging task: making young Ermalinda Pele into her idol, Mrs. Emma Peel. At least she's got the legs.
2. When a beautiful Hawaiian geologist working on a secret project witnesses a murder, she wonders if she's the next target.
3. When a Hawaiian lava goddess finds a South American soccer star has taken her name, she turns all of Brazil into a sea of lava.
4. When seven people pick up some unusual rocks from a park in Hawaii, they think they're just taking souvenirs. They have no idea that the stones are critical possessions of the volcano goddess--who will stop at nothing to get them back.
5. Becoming a fire goddess should have been easy. The people were primitive, her red-gold lamé dress perfect . . . it's just that Agnes never expected the hunky natives to insist on a virgin sacrifice.
6. Take one star soccer player, one volcano, and one religious cult of disillusioned sports fans. Combine, and sparks fly faster than a pyroclastic flow!
I discovered your listing in Romance Diva's Comprehensive Listing of Evil Editors, and I understand you are looking for someone to snicker at. [Snicker with, not at. We're all in this together.] My book, The Pele Project, is a 100k word romantic suspense with all the nail-biting angst of a piece of pineapple cobbler. [No, no, for nail-biting angst, nothing beats blowfish.] It's spicy and exotic, easy to eat, and goes down fast.
Tension explodes [Tension never explodes; almost invariably, it mounts.] when Hawaiian geologist, Jen Stalling, witnesses the murder of a fellow scientist. Project officials don't want the negative publicity of a murder investigation. "An accident", they say. Jen knows better. So does her father, billionaire Art Stalling. [How? Is he in on the murder?] Having pushed Jen away, he can't reveal his interest in her [What is "his interest in her?"] without opening her up to potential kidnappers. [They would kidnap her because she witnessed the murder? Or because she's the billionaire's daughter?] He sends in DalCon, a Seattle-based security group. [To protect her? To solve the murder? To cater the company Luau?] [Aren't there any security groups in Honolulu?]
Keegan Dalfrey has his own problems. Two days ago, his brother was taken by Samoy extremists. [What is Samoy? A Siberian restaurant?] They want two million in ten days. Keegan liquidates everything he can, but he's still short.
Nine days. Neutralize the threat or get Jen to safety. [Get Jen to safety? Who, Keegan? You've made no connection between Keegan and Jen. Who is Keegan? Her man? Her co-worker? A DalCon man? Her surfing instructor? Does he even know her? Does he know she's in danger? Why can't he get her to safety today, and neutralize the threat in the following eight days? And who names their kid Keegan?] Your call. [My call? Wait, I get it, it's like "The Lady or the Tiger." I have to guess whether Keegan scrounged up the two million and saved his brother, but then had to live as a pauper without Jen, or whether he decided to keep the two million and move to the south of France to live happily ever after with Jen. Hmm. When you come right down to it, you can't trust Samoy extremists to return the brother anyway.]
He never expected to fall in love.
If you would like to read more about Jen and Keegan, I would be happy to send you a partial and synopsis. I appreciate the time you've taken to read my query and I look forward to hearing from you.
I discovered your listing in Romance Diva's Comprehensive Listing of Evil Editors, and I understand you are seeking romantic suspense novels that have all the nail-biting angst of a plate full of fugu. My 100k-word book, The Pele Project, may fit the bill. It's spicy and exotic, easy to digest, and goes down fast.
Tension is stretched to its limit when Jen Stalling, chief geologist on the Pele Project (its objective: to stop up the mouth of Mount Kilauea with an immense soccer ball), witnesses the murder of a fellow scientist. Project officials don't want the negative publicity of a murder investigation. "An accident," they say. Jen knows better. So does her father, billionaire Art Stalling, who is funding the project. But having pushed Jen away long ago, he can't now reveal his relationship to her without exposing her to danger. He sends in DalCon, a Seattle-based security group to watch over her.
Keegan Dalfrey has his own problems. Two days ago, his brother was taken by Samoy extremists. They want two million in ten days. Keegan liquidates everything he can, but he's still short. If only his geologist, Jen, were the daughter of a billionaire. But what are the odds of that? Still, it couldn't hurt to ask her.
Nine days. Neutralize the threat or get Jen to safety? His brother or his geologist?
He never expected to fall in love.
Eight days. Check in to your seaside bungalow in Saint-Tropez. With Jen.
If you would like to read more about Jen and Keegan, I would be happy to send you a partial and synopsis. I appreciate the time you've taken to read my query. A stamped envelope is enclosed for your reply.
This oddball query might lead the right editor to hope that the book will be more remarkable than most. That said, there's no substitiute for information. What's the Pele Project? Does Art Stalling have anything to do with it? How are Jen and Keegan involved (with each other)? And most of all, is Keegan a virtual Adonis?
There could be a danger that an editor will request the book expecting an amusing satire. And maybe that's what this is. But a humorous tone may not be the best way to sell an editor on a tearjerker set in the Holocaust. Or even on a suspense novel.
Saturday, April 29, 2006
1. Left for dead by an unscrupulous rival herpetologist, Dr. Kyle Sloan lays low while he plots to kill his adversary using the adversary's own deadly snakes as the murder weapon, thereby proving the adage that revenge is a dish best served . . . coiled.
2. Queen Cobra sets out to avenge her husband's death by killing the murderer who now wears his majesty as a belt.
3. After her brother Mack leaves the seat up again, Vivian Sloan exacts vigilante retribution with a loaded novelty peanut can
4. Famed hairstylist Garson Liver's elaborate coifs for the epic film, Star Wars MCIV - Return of the Lunch were completely ignored by the Academy. But he hasn't played his last hairpin yet, as the judges will find out.
5. When young women start dying, Tony's estranged wife hires a personal trainer, but the trainer is more personally interested in Tony--in killing him, that is.
6. Fred and Ethel check into a cheap hotel, never suspecting that an ancient mattress has been lying in wait, stuffed with dreams of retribution against overweight travelers.
When young women start dying, [Young women simply start dying? Sounds like a job for Dr. House.] lead detective Tony Santos is drawn into a web of deceit and revenge that forces him out of the police department and directly in the sights of the killer.
That’s the basis of my recently completed novel, COILED REVENGE, a 100,000 word romantic suspense set in a small Texas costal town.
Letters carved in each victim's flesh and a string of clues has Tony confused when they point his own daughter’s death. A dead friend and a dead body in his own bed [If this is Tony's idea of a threesome, it's a new low for heroes.] leaves Tony accused of murder and out of his job. [Wait a minute, a cop loses his job just because he's the main suspect in a string of murders? Call the ACLU.] The killer strikes too close for comfort, attacking Marissa Santos, Tony’s estranged wife. [His estranged wife is too close for comfort, but his daughter wasn't?] She escapes death when Tony barges in, using the key he stole from her apartment to save her. [He uses a key to save her? Who is this guy, MacGyver?] [Surprising that a guy accused of murder is free to barge in anywhere . . . of course, this is Texas.] [This paragraph is a list of three separate events. Tie them together or just concentrate on one of them.]
Marissa wasn’t tough before she left Tony, but threats to her personal safety force her to prepare for a fight. She hires a personal trainer, Ally Upshaw, [Ally Oopshaw would be a more appropriate name for a personal trainer--and a darned entertaining one, too!] to help her get in shape. As the case heats up, [He's not actually on "the case," right? He's lost his job, so he has a lot of spare time, which he's using to investigate the numerous murders he's suspected of committing.] questions about Ally's background surface. Ally’s past is connected to Tony’s and she has plenty of reasons to hate him. [Such as?] The list of suspects is long and only narrowed once the plot for revenge is discovered. [The killer attacked Marissa, and Tony barged in and saved her; even if the killer was wearing one of those unsettling Ronald Reagan masks, and escaped out the window, they should easily have narrowed the suspect list by finding out who had an alibi for that time period. But perhaps I'm quibbling.] When Tony and Marissa find the killer’s identity, it is a race against the clock to escape. [To escape from the killer, who has captured them? If not, from what?]
Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.
A string of murders draws lead detective Tony Santos into a web of deceit and revenge that forces him off the police force and into the sights of the killer, in my recently completed novel, COILED REVENGE, a 100,000-word romantic suspense set in a small Texas coastal town.
The killer's sights seem to be trained on Tony himself: letters carved in each victim's flesh point to Tony's daughter’s death; a dead body turns up in Tony's bed; and the killer attacks Marissa Santos, Tony’s estranged wife (who escapes death when Tony barges in, using a key he stole from her apartment).
Marissa has never been physically strong, but threats to her personal safety force her to prepare for a fight. She hires a personal trainer, Ally Upshaw, to help her get in shape. But questions about Ally's past soon surface. A background check reveals that Tony shot Ally's brother four years ago, in a drug raid that turned violent. When Tony and Marissa finally realize who the killer is, they must race against the clock to survive.
The manuscript is available on request. An SASE is enclosed for your reply. Thank you.
Evil Editor has got this one figured out. Tony left Ally at the altar years ago. Seething with bitterness, she began a career as a personal trainer, hoping one day Tony would marry someone else who would eventually leave him and hire her, allowing her to put her diabolical plan for revenge against Tony into motion.
Presumably, somewhere along the line Tony and Marissa realize they truly belong together, and hit the sheets? There is a romance, right? Will it be clear to anyone who reads this query that the romance is between Marissa and the husband she dumped? Who is going to believe that she would take him back, now that she knows the truth about him, namely that he stole her key?
The Amateur's Guide to Killer Sex
1. You heard of the birds and the bees, right? Well, just get a swarm of killer bees, a flock of vultures, and let nature take its course.
2. Five female adult movie director's have been murdered in Tennessee already. Can the Tennessee Serial Killer Unit get the killer before he gets his next victim?
3. College students Bob and Billy decide to create a snuff film, using an unsuspecting coed as the victim. Too bad for them the coed they picked is a vampire.
4. Freed by the death of her repressive mother, 50-something Janice pursues her dream of being a rock and roll groupie and sets her sights on Jerry Lee Lewis. But are they both too long in the tooth for backstage swiving?
5. The Amateur, one of the world's top three most wanted hit-men, begins taunting his investigators with a series of grisly, explicit videotapes.
6. Doofus Worthington thinks he's going out on a blind date. But really, his arch-enemy Tiffany Bland has set him up with Las Vegas' notorious slasher prostitute, Pussy Whipped.
Catching a killer has never been so much fun--or so deadly. [After reading the entire letter, I see how it's fun; I see nothing about how it's deadly.]
Paramour Productions adult video director, Kimber Patello has it all, almost--a life in the big city and a job she loves. The only thing missing is red-hot sex with a gorgeous guy. All work and no play make Kimber a dull woman. [A bored woman, maybe; no one wants to read about a dull woman.] That is until Shadow Fallico shows up in the guise of work partner and ends up in her bed instead [Instead of what? He is her work partner, right?].
As a member of The Tennessee Serial Killer Unit, [Lame name. Sounds like a military company composed of hillbilly serial killers. The Dirty Dozen, starring Hannibal Lecter, Jethro Bodine . . .] Shadow Fallico wants nothing more than to nail the guy responsible for the grisly murders of five female adult movie director's. [A serial killer who targets only female adult film directors? The age of specialization has gone too far.][Wait a minute, five female adult movie directors? Six, counting Kimber? In Tennessee?] He's no movie executive, [We know that; he's a member of the TSK Unit. Tsk tsk.] but since his screw up led to the death of the last victim and the perp's escape [Shouldn't this guy have been demoted to school crossing guard by now?], Shadow will do anything to keep Kimber Patello, the next target, alive. [He knows she's the next target? Oh, right, she's the only female adult movie director left in the world.] Even if he must pretend to be an adult moviemaker and drag the sexually repressed [Okay, I bought the scientist turning into a wolverine-in-heat in the last query, but a sexually repressed adult filmmaker? Come on!] creator out from behind her camera and put her in front of it.
When Kimber's boss assigns them a special project filming an amateur's guide to sex, it gives Shadow the break he needs to get closer to his charge. A small budget forces them to use her attic for the steamy scenes [What, her bedroom was too pricey?] and Shadow's more than willing to fill the role of actor if she will be his co-star. [Ah, this explains why she loves her job.] Can Shadow keep his guard up when his mind is filled with hot sex and Kimber, the woman of his dreams? [He'll do anything to keep her alive, even star with her in an adult film? This guy is the ultimate self-sacrificing hero.]
The Amateur's Guide to Killer Sex [Catchy title, but won't readers think the book is a guide? Actually, it might sell like hotcakes if they do.] is a 70,000 word erotic romantic suspense. Currently, I have four novels and three short stories with DiskUs Publishing and Forbidden Publications. In 2001, I received honorable mention in the Writer's Digest Writing Competition [Evil Editor congratulates you, but your real editor won't be as impressed with this one.] and graduated from The Long Ridge Writers Group.
I look forward to hearing from you, and thank you for your time and consideration.
Catching a killer has never been so much fun.
Paramour Productions adult video director Kimber Patello has the big city life she wants, and a job she loves. All that's missing is red-hot sex with a gorgeous guy. That is, until Shadow Fallico shows up in the guise of work partner, and ends up in her bed.
A member of The Tennessee Serial Killer Task Force, Shadow wants nothing more than to nail the guy responsible for the grisly murders of five female adult movie directors. His screw-up led to the death of the last victim and the perp's escape; now Shadow vows to keep Kimber, the next target, alive--even if it means dragging her out from behind her camera and putting her in front of it.
When Kimber's boss assigns them a special project filming an amateur's guide to sex, it gives Shadow the break he needs to stay close to his charge. A small budget forces them to use her home for the steamy scenes and Shadow is more than willing to fill the role of actor if she will be his co-star. But can Shadow keep his guard up when his mind is on Kimber, the woman of his dreams?
Not For Amateurs is a 70,000-word erotic romantic suspense. May I send you the complete manuscript? Currently, I have four novels and three short stories with DiskUs Publishing and Forbidden Publications. I am a graduate of The Long Ridge Writers Group.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Another possible title: Who Is Killing the Great Female Porno Film Directors of Tennessee?
It's not clear why Kimber is safer from a serial killer if she's in front of the camera rather than behind it. It's not clear why the cop can't simply tell Kimber she's the next target, rather than posing as a colleague. It's not clear why Paramour Productions, one of the biggest names in adult films (they manage to pay Kimber's salary, anyway), has stooped to producing a film whose budget is so low the director has to perform in the film in her own attic. The answers to these questions are in the book, no doubt, but an editor may feel there are just too many holes here. And Evil Editor is in no position to fill in those holes.
The appeal of a romance to a reader, I would think, lies in putting herself in the place of the heroine as she deals with the romantic conflict. Sorry to sound Evil, but resolving the heroine's conflict of sexual repression by having her get laid in the attic while someone films her for a nationally distributed xxx video that will no doubt be all over the Internet in about three hours may thrill only a limited number of readers. Now, if Kimber were a sexually repressed cop in California, and all the male porn stars at Paramour were being killed, so she took a secretarial position at the company to investigate on the sly, got the hots for porn star Rod Driver, and on the very day the killer was planning to go after Rod, his co-star didn't show up, and he coyly suggested that Kimber step in, we might have something. Now were talking about a believable plot.
Friday, April 28, 2006
Mark of the Beast
1. Hermione Flapsaddle dotes on her darling little poodle, Kippy Yippy, until the day she leaves the creature in her apartment too long. Nothing can prepare her for what she finds on the carpet.
2. Senator Blake Johansen suspects his son may be the Antichrist, so he shaves the boy's head to check for the mark of the beast. To his relief, all he sees on the naked scalp is the number 999.
3. After six nannies die gruesome deaths while potty training her toddler, Mrs. Martin begins to suspect the man she had an affair with three years ago was not a real milkman.
4. Alone in her rented vacation cabin, Abby realizes that something is trying to claw its way inside. Could it be a bear? Or is it, as she hopes, the hunky research scientist from up the road, nude and horny?
5. A mix-up at the hospital has the Antichrist being raised by the Pope's housekeeper. A wacky battle of wills ensues.
6. Marcus Sheldinger reluctantly goes to work on a cattle ranch, and learns important lessons from the cowboys about life, love and branding irons.
Okay, not quite like that.
Marketing assistant Abby Clumm isn’t the kind of girl who travels to remote cabins in Alaska alone. [Makes it sound like traveling alone to Alaska is slut-like--she's not that kind of girl.] But with the expectation that her friend [name him or her] will be arriving shortly, she flies solo and makes the journey to their rented cabin. Unfortunately, things don’t go as she plans [How so?]--no real surprise there, when do they?--and her first night she finds herself alone in the boonies. Worse yet, a shotgun she doesn’t know how to use and a failing wooden door are the only things standing between her little city-girl self [yuck] and some kind of enormous, hungry animal. Thanks to her foolishness, she’s now caught in a battle for survival. [not clear what she did that was foolish, unless it was failing to anticipate that Tarik Evert would morph into an unstoppable (but no doubt wildly attractive) predator.]
Research scientist Tarik Evert has no idea what’s wrong. He’s suddenly driven by a need so overwhelming, so urgent it’s painful. He wants to mate. No, he needs to mate. [Sounds like he has an excellent idea what's wrong--he's been in Alaska too long.] The scent of a woman nearby beckons him, sends him staggering outside into the cold. And then somehow he’s at her door, freezing and nude, [Nude? This guy is going to make one lousy first impression.] not sure what just happened [Here's what just happened: he decided to pay a social call on Miss Abby, but forgot to put on some clothes.]...or what is about to happen if she lets him inside.
He only knows one thing--the hunger that brought him to her in the first place. [May as well tack this onto the previous paragraph.]
MARK OF THE BEAST is a 40,000 word paranormal erotic romance novella, written to target erotica and/or erotic romance publishers. [No need to spell out the target publisher; you're sending the query to the target publisher.] I am a multi-published author of erotic and paranormal romance fiction. My published books have received excellent reviews, including Top Pick from Romantic Times. [Editors might want to know your publishers and titles.]
Thank you for your time. I look forward to your response and can provide additional material upon request. I can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 555-220-1234. [Unlikely an editor will be phoning you to respond to a query.]
Marketing assistant Abby Clumm doesn't relish flying alone to a remote area of Alaska, but at least she knows that her friend Maxine will be joining her. Unfortunately, Maxine doesn't show, and Abby finds herself alone in their rented cabin, out in the boonies. What's worse, only a shotgun she doesn’t know how to use and a rickety wooden door stand between her and . . . whatever is trying to claw its way inside.
Research scientist Tarik Evert has no idea what’s happening to him. Driven by a need so overwhelming, so urgent it’s painful, he staggers outside into the cold, drawn by the scent of a woman. And then he’s at her door, not sure how he got there . . . or what will happen if he gets inside. He knows only one thing--the hunger that has brought him there.
MARK OF THE BEAST is a 40,000 word paranormal erotic romance novella. I am a multi-published author of romance fiction. My published books include Maureen and the Mongoose (Torchlight, 2002), which received a Top Pick review from Romantic Times.
I would be happy to submit the manuscript upon request. A stamped envelope is enclosed for your reply, or I may be reached via e-mail at ______________.
It's a little short. Perhaps some background about why Abby's going to remote Alaska, what Evert's researching? Also, it sounds more like a horror story than a romance. If your target is romance publishers, maybe something hinting at the romance would be useful. Something like:
Abby Clumm, stranded in remote Alaska, is so horny she'd be happy if the toothless, grizzled old lumberjack in the next cabin dropped by. Hell, she'd settle for a nude, deranged, sex-starved man-beast. Little does she know, she's about to get her wish, and I don't mean Gummy.
If you don't feel that the critique has improved the query, at least wait until others weigh in with their comments and set you straight. And of course remember that a better query does not guarantee better results.
The original query may be read by ignoring the colored sections of the first version below.
Also, bear with Evil Editor, as I haven't read the books. Which means:
1. These letters are going to end up shorter than they began, because your Evil Editor cannot add information as easily as he can subtract it.
2. I must make certain assumptions that may prove incorrect
3. When I insert specifics where they are needed, they are sure to be the wrong specifics. Unless I'm psychic.
As an added bonus, query letters will often be preceded by an opportunity for readers to "Guess the Plot," given only the book's title.
Guess the Plot
Par for the Course
1. Policewoman Vanessa Grute wants nothing more than to nab the gay albino who murdered her conjoined Siamese twin--until she falls head over heels in love with him.
2. Caught between a rock and a hard place, Sam tries to kill two birds with one stone by taking the bull by the horns. He soon learns, though, that run-of-the-mill problems like his are just a part of life, all in a day's work . . . Par for the Course.
3. When Belinda "Birdie" Winters meets her soulmate after hours at the 19th hole, he bends her over the bar.
4. A columnist writing a story on golf course romances, wrangles a trip to a golf resort for "research," never mentioning to her editor that it's the home course of the hunky pro golfer she's had a crush on since college.
5. Running marathons seemed like a good way for Terry Par to change her life. But when a rash of on-course killings hits the amateur marathon circuit, she wonders if she made the right decision.
6. Serial killer Herbert Hawkins takes his victims on golfing holidays and bludgeons them to death, each with a different club. Can Detective Paris stop him before he goes through his entire bag?
When Jillian Welch learns women are the fastest growing market in the global golf industry, [This is relevant if she's writing for Golf Trade Magazine] she grabs onto the fact with both hands. Golf courses have become the new singles bar [Now that is relevant]– a place where men and women of similar backgrounds can meet up. [Men and women who golf, anyway.] Jillian uses this truth to convince her editor to let her write her Dating Diva column about the phenomenon [I wouldn't think you would need to convince an editor on subject matter; perhaps on paying for a trip to a distant golf course]. Never mentioning what she really wants to do is fan an old flame.
Just once is all it will take [Just once what? Wrong move? Roll in the hay?] for Jillian Welch to stop obsessing about her college crush and move on with her life. Ben Cannon is just a man after all [Ben Cannon? Just a man? Why, he's a god!], and once he disappoints her as all men do, she’ll be able to get him out of her head for good [same thing you said in the last sentence]. Except every move he makes is the right one, in bed and out of it, making Jillian wonder if leaving [If, by "leaving" you mean "moving on," say so; or do you mean leaving town and going back to New York?] is the right thing to do after all… [I'm thinking this paragraph should be switched with the next one.]
There’s something familiar about the columnist [Is it the columnist or the magnetic pull that's familiar?] who arrives at his [It's his?] golf course to write about how the clubhouse is the new singles bar. Ben’s only felt this magnetic pull once before, for a bespectacled brunette who kissed him, then ran away. The platinum blonde from New York couldn’t be more different. Confident, poised, and hitting on him like crazy - is she interested in him, or looking for fodder for her Dating Diva column?
PAR FOR THE COURSE is a sensual romance about the one who got away. Currently, I have three other novels under consideration with different publishers: Come For Dinner, full manuscript requested by Mills & Boon; If You Say So, partial manuscript with Harlequin; and Breaking His Rules, full manuscript with Avon. Mills & Boon will publish my debut romance novel, Just One Spark, in May 2006. [This is more impressive than those other credits; put it first, and don't bother with the others' titles.] I can immediately send you complete manuscript. Thank you so much for your time and consideration.
When Jillian Welch learns that golf courses have become the new singles scene, she convinces her editor to fly her to Myrtle Beach, where she can research the phenomenon for her Dating Diva column -- never mentioning to her editor that what she really wants to do is fan an old flame.
There’s something wildly enchanting about the columnist who arrives at Ben Cannon's favorite golf course. Ben’s felt this magnetic pull only once before, for a bespectacled brunette who was nothing like this platinum blonde from New York. Confident, poised . . . and hitting on him like crazy--is she really interested in him, or merely seeking fodder for her Dating Diva column?
Just one wrong move from Ben, one more disappointment, and Jillian can finally stop obsessing about her college crush, leave town, and get on with her life. Except, every move Ben makes is the right one, both in bed and out of it, until Jillian begins to wonder if leaving is what she wants to do after all.
Par for the Course is a sensual romance about the one who got away. My debut romance novel, Just One Spark, will be published by Mills & Boon in May 2006. Currently, I have three other novels under consideration, with Mills & Boon, Harlequin, and Avon. I would be pleased to send you the complete manuscript of Par for the Course.
A stamped envelope is enclosed for your reply. Thank you so much for your time and consideration.
It's not clear whether Ben owns, is the pro, or plays at "his" golf course. Nor is it clear how Jillian knows where to find him. I found this slightly bothersome; if others do, you might change the first paragraph to something like:
When Jillian Welch learns that golf courses have become the new singles scene, she decides to devote her Dating Diva column to the phenomenon. And when she discovers that her college crush, Ben Cannon, is the new golf pro at the Myrtle Beach Country Club, she convinces her editor to fly her to South Carolina, for "research."
This would require some minor changes in the other paragraphs, like not using the term "college crush" again, etc.:
There’s something wildly enchanting about the columnist who arrives at the golf club one Friday afternoon. Ben’s felt this magnetic pull only once before, for a bespectacled brunette who was nothing like this platinum blonde from New York. Confident, poised . . . and hitting on him like crazy--is she really interested in him, or merely seeking fodder for her Dating Diva column?
Just one wrong move from Ben, one more disappointment, and Jillian can finally stop obsessing about him, leave town, and get on with her life. Except, every move Ben makes is the right one, both in bed and out of it, until Jillian begins to wonder if leaving is what she wants to do after all.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Just kidding. Their opinions could be useful. What seems perfectly clear to you may bother everyone else, and occasionally when this is the case, it's your fault! Even if you're in the right, you may have to fix it. If your character is wearing black leather jeans, and you know such things exist because you own a pair, but everyone who reads your book says, "Leather jeans? Jeans are made of denim," then there's a good chance your editor is going to say, "Leather jeans? Jeans are made of denim," and even if you have the guts to tell your editor, "You're wrong and I can prove it," there's a good chance your readers are going to say, "Leather jeans? Jeans are made of denim," and since you can't model your leather jeans for everyone who reads your book, the readers will have no choice but to say, "I'm never ever going to buy anything else by this author who thinks jeans can be leather," at which point the only thing that saves you from ending up on skid row is the fact that you have six other names you write under. That and your hidden bank account in Bimini.
You're ready to send your manuscript off, which is easy if you have an agent, but if you don't have an agent (yet), you're trying to decide where to send it. Or rather, where to send your query letter. Should you shoot for the top? The few big publishing houses that accept un-agented submissions? Or should you start with a small press, hoping to quickly pad your résumé with a published book so that you have a better chance of attracting an agent who can get your book to a publisher you've actually heard of? Let's look at the advantages of each choice.
Advantages of a Small Press
1. If they buy your book, you may be holding the finished copy in your hand in six to nine months, depending on how small they are. With the big publishing house you may have to wait two years because they have so many other books lined up ahead of you, books by authors with established sales records, who keep churning out more books, which get moved in front of yours, until eventually yours is scheduled for October, 2042.
2. A press that puts out only a couple books a year has an editor who has time to go through your book several times, increasing the chances it will be free of typos, contradictions, and excessive exclamation points.
3. When you phone Seedling Press, you can speak directly to your publisher, editor, proofreader or publicist. They're all the same person. When you phone Sequoia House, you get a voice mail system that insists on sending you to "Sales."
Advantages of a Big Publishing House
1. If they buy your book, you might make some money.
Why don't small press books make money? In a perfect world, the best books would make the most money, but in the publishing world, the big presses are all subsidiaries of a startlingly small number of conglomerates, conglomerates that may also own the bookstore chains, but even if they don't own the chains, they have massive clout with the chains, clout they can wield because they produce occasional blockbuster bestsellers with huge publicity campaigns that bring in big money and keep the stockholders happy, and who cares if five thousand small presses go under every year because they couldn't get their books onto Barnes and Noble's shelves, as long as ten million people can get the next Harry Potter book the day it comes out?
Are your chances of selling to a small press greater? Not necessarily. A lot of small presses are run by publishers or editors or book lovers who decided quality was more important than the bottom line, quit the rat race, and started their companies to help a few deserving authors get their start, authors who might hit it big one day, at which point readers will go looking for their earlier works, at which point the publisher can finally open those boxes of books that have been sitting in the garage for six years and cash in. Assuming the books aren't covered with mold and mildew.
The point is, small presses want quality too, and coming up with two quality books a year is easier than coming up with two hundred. If they get five queries a week, and 98% of them are trash, that still leaves five decent manuscripts a year, from which to choose the two they can afford to publish. So the odds aren't great. The good news about submitting to a small press is that your book isn't competing with books from all those irritating authors who have agents. Because agents know that 15% of nothing is nothing.
Tomorrow: The Weekend Starts Early, with Q & A, Query Critiques
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Please forgive my sending you this query directly, but most of the literary agencies I have dealt with in the past have turned out to be fronts for editing houses or out-and-out scam artists.
Horrified, I visited one of the many websites that list agents and their wish lists, and fired off query letters to three of them, chosen at random. (Yes, Evil Editor does some writing on the side.) One agent asked to see my novel, one has yet to reply, and one sent an enormous (so big I annoyingly had to maximize my screen to see it) image of the cover of her book about how to get a literary agent. So, by my calculations, at least a third of agents are legit, and quite possibly two thirds.
Let's get one thing straight. An agent provides a service, not a product. And that service is to skim fifteen percent of your earnings off your paycheck, in return for which you get to feel like an athlete or a movie star by telling people, "I have an agent." Believe me, it's worth it; how many of those full-of-themselves egomaniacs you went to school with who look down on you now that they're doctors and lawyers, have agents?
Do you need an agent? You've probably considered sending your manuscript to some big-time publisher, only to discover, upon reading their submission guidelines, that they accept only "agented submissions." What this means is that they're so sure that whoever is writing the next Da Vinci Code has an agent, they're not going to hire a bunch of slush readers to deal with thousands of un-agented manuscripts, especially when most slush readers wouldn't recognize a good book if it jabbed them in the eye with its sharp corner. Of course, look who's talking. Evil Editor once rejected a manuscript just because I got a paper cut turning the pages.
The number of big-time publishers who will look at your work is severely limited if you don't have an agent. So you need an agent. But wait, the number of big-time agents who will look at your work is severely limited if you haven't been published. It's a Catch-22 (which, coincidentally, happened to be the title of the book I rejected because of the paper cut; not that that bothers me--I thought the movie was overrated, so how good could the book have been?).
Hiring an agent is great, because you don't have to pay her unless she sells your book. Imagine a law firm that advertised that their service was free unless they won the case.
Hiring an agent sucks, because you're hiring her to work for you, but she only works for you if she wants to. Imagine contacting a painter or landscaper to work on your home/yard, and they show up, look the place over, and say, "Sorry this doesn't look right for my current list."
Unfortunately, that's the way it has to be in the agent business, because there aren't enough agents to handle the four billion people who want to hire them. You're probably thinking, agents would make a lot more money if they just charged a flat rate for their services instead of taking a percentage of what might turn out to be nothing. Actually, there are literary agencies that will work for anyone, for a price. You send them your manuscript, they immediately assume it's trash (because why would you be hiring them instead of a legitimate agency if you were any good?), and charge you a huge reading fee and $600 postage for sending your history of World War I to twenty erotic fiction and gardening publishers.
A good agent is good to have, because if you aren't spending a lot of time printing and packaging and mailing manuscripts, you can be busy working on the sequel to the book your agent is selling for a million-dollar advance. The sequel that's a formulaic shell of the original, but that idiots will buy anyway now that your agent has made you hot hot hot.
But how do you get an agent when agents don't want to be gotten? Basically you're sending the agent the same query letter you would have sent to a publisher, the one in which you describe your book, except that before, you were trying to convince a publisher that his 35% of the profits were worth taking you on, while now you're trying to convince an agent that her 15% of your 6% of the profits are worth taking you on. Hmm. One could argue that this will be an even harder sell. Until you realize that your agent is also getting 15% of 6% of a couple dozen other clients' books. Then it hits you that your agent is making a lot more than you are, and you start thinking, with four billion writers and four hundred agencies out there, maybe you've chosen the wrong profession.
Tomorrow: Large Press, Small Press
Have a question about the writing profession for Evil Editor? A query letter you'd like critiqued? Send it as a comment, and we'll start a weekend q & a column.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Perhaps there are evil editors who take pleasure in rejecting your brilliant work, simply because it's better than anything they could do. But consider that an editor has a job to do. His job is to identify writing that's good enough to lead to fame and fortune. Not for you, of course; for his publishing house.
Evil Editor has seen pieces on the Internet doling out such trivial advice as, "Don't use the term 'Ms.,' when writing to an editor, for fear of offending." Look, there may be editors whose skin is so thin they would risk losing a bestseller to another house just for the satisfaction of temporarily destroying the hopes of a writer who typed "Ms. Leslie Fleigelschmidt," when he should have typed "Mr. Leslie Fliegelshmidt," just as there is, no doubt, a waitress somewhere who would risk her job for the satisfaction of spitting into the soup of a customer who earlier mistakenly addressed her as "sir" because she bears a striking resemblance to Robert DeNiro, but for the most part, editors want to find good books that they believe large numbers of people will buy, so that their publishing company will flourish and get bought out by a German conglomerate that will downsize and squeeze them out.
I pay no attention to anything in a query letter other than the author's description of the work, and the author's writing skills, as evidenced by the only thing I have to go on: his or her ability to compose a query letter. Oh, I might also notice your credits, like if Random House published your last novel, but then I'll wonder why they aren't publishing this one, and I'll start thinking maybe you're trying to capitalize on your recent success by unloading that old rag you wrote twenty years ago that's been rejected by everyone in the business, including, a few years back, me.
The purpose of a query letter is to make an editor want to read your book. You have about a page in which to do this. Why waste any of that precious space telling your life story, confessing that you're unpublished, bragging that your sister's friends love the book, or demonstrating that you can't spell? I'm not necessarily going to refuse to look at your novel about a Philadelphia lawyer just because you wasted half your query letter telling me you've worked as a nun, a stripper, and an astronaut, but unless you've worked as a Philadelphia lawyer, you're wasting valuable space. You're telling me things you could save for later when we meet to celebrate the publication of your work, and . . . uh oh, it's happening. I'm starting to lose interest in your novel! I'm starting to think, If this writer can't stay on topic in a one-page letter, do I want to read his entire book? I'm starting to think, Did I forget to turn off the Mr. Coffee this morning?
Below are a few other items you might consider omitting from your query letter, again, not because they are the kiss of death, but because the space could be better used writing about your book (and also because you don't want excerpts from your query letter appearing in Evil Editor's blog). By the way, examples are taken from actual query letters, cut and pasted from e-mail letters, with errors in spelling, grammar, etc. intact--Evil Editor is too lazy to retype or repair anything, and certainly too lazy to spend time making this stuff up):
1. Name Dropping
I am a young writer, around the age Matthew Pearl was when he began his best-seller, The Dante Club.
I’ve added a touch of the Dan Brown style with mystery, but I took it to ten levels above that.
I believe the timelessness of authors such as George Orwell and H.G. Wells proves that there will be a large and continuous audience for this genre of fiction.
My work has already been professionally edited by, Dawn Doddle, editor of Sleuth Editing.
My style has been compared to Twain and Harte, Vonnegut and Hiaasen, and Marlowe and Spillane.
My novel has one very important thing in common with Dan Brown’s "The Da Vinci Code" - its subject matter has the potentially of being tremendously controversial.
i make spephen kings book look like a walk through the park
Before I go anyfurther I would liek to know if you would be interested in reading the first of five fantasy novels for children that are much in the spirit of Harry Potter?
2. Your Opinion of Your Work
Every page overflows with desecrated horror.
This book will make you laugh one minute and cringe in horror the next, but it will not let you put it down.
I look forward with enormous anticipation to working with your Publishing Firm in marketing Ascending Powers toachieve the astounding sales this book will broadcast.
I must stress that this is not done in a way that seems to try to shove a load of crap down the reader’s throat.
Why would you want to read my fiction? "Sales" is the most direct answer.
This story will take you on a spell binding experience; with a twist that will question everything you thought to be make believe.
3. Your Future Projects
I am technically finished with the manuscript but am rewriting it for the 3rd time.I am also working on a story about how the tooth fairy came to be.
"Visions of Eden" is the first book in the five part "Biography of an Earther Saga". Books two through four are also complete. The last novel in this series is set for completion in Q1 2002. Further, I have solid plans for "Lisa" (anticipated completion 9/1/2002) and "Raia" (3/1/2003), a two-book follow on series entitled "The Earther's Daughter". After that, I currently plan to begin work on the Ancestors series of between eight and twelve novels. All of these novels are related, telling the same overall story at different time periods.
4. Clever First Sentences that Fall Flat
Dear Editorial Department: "I am King David, although I wasn’t always one.
5. Unimpressive or Irrelevant Credits
I am an English major and for two years served as editor for my college newspaper.
My life has been checkered with past experience as a mover, lifeguard/swimming instructor, door-to-door salesman, carpenter's helper, Russian translator, soldier, phone solicitor, collections counselor, and teacher.
Though I have yet to publish a novel, an early version of one of my novels, made “Editor’s Choice” in a writer’s group.
I have written articles for The Woodstock Times and Charleston Magazine.
If you check out my website, you will notice that I have written another unpublished novel
6. Your Financial Situation
Also, I'd be happy to email anyone a synopsis, but as I'm very poor (currently) I can't really afford even postage on mailing stuff off
7. Whether Your Book Would Make a Great Movie
This book would make a great movie.
Tomorrow: Do you need an agent?
Monday, April 24, 2006
Writing a brief synopsis can be a daunting endeavor, as those who've tried it will attest. So don't be too hard on the authors whose plots are described below. The novels may be spectacularly well-written. Evil Editor can't say, as he neglected to request them.
After Barry kills the cannibal, he roams the earth until 1998, when he meets Kate Dempsey. She is a reincarnation of his lost love but refuses to become a vampire again, even for the sake of love. With the help of Pyro (the world's first vampire), they travel to the Garden of Eden where Christ makes them human again. Meanwhile, the cannibal returns and drains Kate's blood, leaving Barry without his soul mate. Then, Bo kidnaps Barry, makes him a vampire again and uses a spell to permanently possess Barry's body. His spirit is banished to a cypress tree in Louisiana. Then Bo, masquerading as Barry, resurrects Kate, but once she realizes that it's really Bo, she flees and enlists the help of a gypsy witch to kill Bo and free Barry's spirit. Meanwhile, Pyro, the first vampire, has been cursed by the gypsy witch. His conscience no longer lets him feed on humans. He is destined to protect the innocent. Through a group called CEVA (Certified Vampire Association), Pyro finds the key to walking in the sun - werewolf blood. Bo attempts to get Kate one more time by possessing a male vampire, Tim Doogan, but Kate calls upon a demon to escort Bo to Hell. Inadvertently, Kate's soul is freed from her vampiric body, and in the year 2025, she is reincarnated and meets Barry in high school.
An astrological conjunction that has been calculated in the fashion of the Arabian ancient wise men marks the precise time when a woman must be murdered: it might be a English young scientist, or singer Madonna, or... The Mona Lisa. It might also be, in the end, an even better-known woman whose identity will not be known until the last page of the book is read. By means of short chapters as if it were the sequences of an action film, the author leads us with his easy-going, enjoyable style through a number of crazy, Rocambole-style events that never lack true, uneasy credibility.
Co-exiting with the horror plot the story is a subtly erotic, modernly romantic story where a provocative relationship develops in a way no one, including those involved, would ever expect or anticipate where what is left unspoken is as important as what is. It is a story of a man not only at war with the supernatural, but also the story a man at war with the reality of his true self and his notions of what the outside world expects of him. Underlying the entire text are parallels, recurring themes and analogies available to any reader who wants to look beneath the surface and see them.
With the help of another childhood friend, Quince, who, after selling his soul to a faceless and androgynous god, is now one of the many incarnations of Death, Chuck's girlfriend, who he saved from death by encoding her into software, and a Taoist drug dealer who trades under the moniker, "Wally Zero," Chuck makes a desperate play for survival.
Chosen into an elite group of guardsmen called Brughs, Gorel was privy to the kingdom’s greatest secrets and sword to protect them, but somehow, all that began to fall apart when he starts questioning his own motives and those of thepeople he was honor bound to serve. Driven by his desire to learn more about his land’s chaotic past, Gorel accidentally brings about its downfall when he refrains from notifying the proper authorities of his longtime friend’s increasingly erratic behavior, a behavior that has been brought about by the awakening of an ancient awareness at Gorel’s behest. Soon war breaks out across the kingdom as the Brughs revolt, egged onward by dreams of freedom and power brought about by this new awareness, causing the Brughs to forget for the moment that they owe theirentire existences to the people they were now destroying. Gorel realizes his mistake, but the deed has been done, and nothing may rectify it. A great battle ensues between the renegade Brughs and those few still loyal to the current regime, the result of which leaves Malanjia in ruins. Somehow, whether through blind luck, or his own growing desire for revenge, Gorel manages to escape his former companion’s onslaught, leaving only himself left to bear witness to the desecration that has been wrought. The book itself begins here.
It’s a "Sci-fan fusion" novel about a couple that meets in the 1700’s and is cursed to be reincarnated and meet through the centuries on some of the most horrific shipwrecks ever recorded. Except for the Titanic and the Andradoria, which have been done to death.
I have completed the first in a trilogy of novels that involve a man’s self destructive need to be dominated by a woman who uses her sexual cunning as the means to make him a pawn for her own malicious purposes of establishing Hitler’s Fourth Reich.
Tomorrow: Great Query Letters, Part 3
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Tell me if this is evil. You spend two years creating your masterpiece, the great American novel. 600 pages of blood, sweat and tears. You package it up and ship it to Evil Editor with a self-addressed envelope. I remove it from its package, spend thirty seconds reading the first page, roll my eyes, and toss the manuscript onto a pile in the corner. Eight months later I e-mail you a rejection letter because I'm too lazy to walk out to my mailbox and mail you a hard copy. Besides, I can't mail you anything, because I long ago steamed the stamp off your self-addressed envelope and used it to send my 1st wife a letter explaining that she won't be getting any more child support because I blew all my spare cash paying my divorce lawyer to see that I got the Ferrari when my 2nd wife dumped me.
No doubt that's what all writers assume happens when they submit a manuscript. And for the most part, they're right. But occasionally editors have legitimate reasons for rejecting work. As a public service, I'm taking the liberty of publishing excerpts from actual query letters I've received, letters that would have made me cry, if I weren't too busy laughing.
I write like how I talk; pretty darned entertaining.
My manuscript contains 71,282 words and in my opinion is brillant.
Background of the Author is as follows: worked with a Surveyor for some time. Then worked in a Shearing shed ,and after that entered the Army for 6 years. a natural Carpenter, can make furniture
Some events, Carries baby upside down, by leg, breaking it. Attempts to drownd son, from moving boat. Thrown from a car. Set on fire. (See intense) This is only a few event's.
um I wrote a book its about two friends who discover that that they have the power of witchs and they use that power to save the entire witch race from being destroyed, its not really like that but some what
I have the best fantasy that I've ever read, written. I've allowed three people to read it, one a published writer and two of my worst enemies, and they have convinced me to approach a publisher with the manuscript. However, I felt that approaching you with a synapse rather than an unsolicited manuscript.....
I have been in contact with one other publishing house, however, there were terms in their contract that I found most disturbing. The highlight of which required me to pay them to publish my book.
Please excuse my spelling. I'm here to tell you about a book I have writen. Please if you juge the letter's you read by the bigening of there letter please excuse my bluntness and un perfeshionlisum approch.
I am not enclosing a manuscript at this moment. I wish to become more familiar with your company and its processes before divulging my work and I do mean work via any medium. I've spent the last three years on character develpment and background storyline layouts and because of the amount of effort that i've put into my literary work, I refuse to be foolish enough just to give the story away to anyone. The book, itself, consist of no measurable end as I will continue to write the story in a continuing series of cliff-hangers. I did not design the story for short term reading because of its potential to both evolve and to reach into new areas of the imagination. If you satisfy my requirements in the information I've requested, then i will submit to you the introduction for the book. The introduction, which consist of 16,000+ words, will give you an inclination of my writing skills. I wrote the introduction for two reasons. One, to familirize the reader with the main character and some sub-characters and two, it doesn't give any of the true story away in the event a company tries stealing something i've worked so hard on.
Tomorrow: Great Query Letters, Part 2