Monday, March 13, 2017

Feedback Request

The author of the book featured in Face-Lift 1344 would like your feedback on this new attempt at a query:


Dear Agent,

Fred smiled [smiles] in his hospital bed after being assaulted by his straight crush, because now he has Malek right where he wants him. Manipulative and obsessed, Fred knows that Malek has the potential to be the dominant of his wildest dreams. Already godly with his muscle-bound physique and basso voice, he just needs a little direction until he can [in how to] direct Fred. After Fred’s lawyers coerce Malek into signing a contract instead of going to jail, Malek has to meet Fred twice a month for some “possibly sexual” favors.

Malek is heavy with guilt after drunkenly assaulting Fred, but he is also dreading meeting with him. What if Fred makes him like, kiss and stuff? Foreseeing this apprehension, Fred slowly shows Malek the perks of having a “harmless bitch”, like massaging his feet [frequent foot massages and backrubs] and maintaining his shisha pipe. A painter, he also draws Malek in vivid scenes of dominion and power. Far from innocent, Fred hopes that Malek will become comfortable enough for things to get more sexual.

For Malek, there’s no way he’s letting a fag keep him on edge, and he realizes that he can [begins to] enjoy Fred’s servitude. His improving domination also improves his self-confidence, but he fears embarrassment if anyone discovers their arrangement. Thus he makes Fred promise to keep the paintings a secret. Fred breaks this promise when he sells them to pay rent. The growing interest in these paintings might just be what Fred needs to become a famous artist instead of working at the gallery of his abusive father.

But Fred’s two dreams are on a collision course: Malek gets an epiphany and benevolently becomes more sexual with Fred right before a gallery is about to exhibit his works to career-changing clients. Thus Fred faces the decision of his life: His career or his Prince? [Sounds like he's having his cake and eating it too. Spell out why this is an either/or choice (presumably because the gallery exhibit will reveal the embarrassing paintings to the public and/or because it will reveal that Fred broke his promise and can never be trusted.] [Does Fred consider just changing Malek's facial features in the paintings before trying to sell them?] 

Given that you are looking for LGBT Romance and/or erotica, I believe you will find The Glorious Prince, complete at just under 85,000 words, of interest. It is the first in a planned series, but can stand alone. It is set in modern Washington, D.C., and couples the fun narrative voice of White Teeth by Zadie Smith, with the first-person voice in novels such as 50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James. There has also yet to be a popular straight-gay romantic/erotic novel, and I believe my book would appeal to the growing New Adult audience. I have already started promoting the book through an eponymous Instagram account.

After years of unreciprocated crushes on straight men, and a recent delve into the world of domination, I have utilized my first-hand insight in writing out my characters’ experiences. I am a Lebanese scholar studying in Japan after having worked with refugees, and have previously resided in the US capital [where my story is set]. I wrote this novel to answer the question: What are my straight crushes so damn afraid of?

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Notes

It's an improvement. As it's still too long, I've suggested removing what you don't need, namely vague comparisons to other books, telling the agent things she should already know better than you do about whether your book will sell, and your life story, which might interest her after she becomes your agent.


4 comments:

Anonymous said...

This story captured my attention, because it's clear you've thought the characters through, and they're well-developed. I no longer want to push Malek under a mailtrucke. He's actually more interesting as a character to me than the protag, which I guess is okay given that this is "Fifty Shades of Gay" and the protag is basically a (naughty, scheming) stand-in for the reader. Malek is supposed to be the one who captures the reader's imagination, in a story like this. One detail I found really fascinating (and timely) from the last synopsis, which seems to have disappeared from this version, was his Iraqi refugee family.

You talk about Malek fearing embarrassment if anyone finds out about their arrangement, but isn't it stronger than that? He's afraid of feeling shame. And shame is a much stronger driving force than just embarrassment.

I agree with EE that the stakes are too low for Fred. What's the worst thing that could happen to him at this point? Malek being publicly uncovered as not quite straight, and hating Fred as a consequence? Malek disappearing forever from him life, without a trace? Malek vowing to destroy him? Up the stakes. Whatever choice he makes, Fred will be destroyed, professionally or psychologically or physically. So make him suffer the consequences of that choice in your story, and hint at them here.

Also, I hate the name Fred, but that's subjective. It's just doesn't sound modern to me.

Tofy Lennox said...

I am so, so thankful for your time and effort, Evil Editor.
Thank you also to the commenters. Everything you've spewed is sweeter than honey.
Fiendish Faggot, signing out.
*Cape swish*

AA said...

"After Fred’s lawyers coerce Malek into signing a contract instead of going to jail Malek has to meet Fred twice a month for some 'possibly sexual' favors." This kind of contract is simply not legal. No lawyer could ever request that the victim of an assault meet with his assaulter. And Malek's lawyer would never allow him to agree to it. The contract doesn't hold up in any legal sense and no lawyer would draw up such a bizarre contract.

"What if Fred makes him like, kiss and stuff?" Can anyone MAKE him do this? He's supposedly muscle-bound, certainly he can fend off the advances.

"The growing interest in these paintings might just be what Fred needs to become a famous artist instead of working at the gallery of his abusive father." Is this supposed to make me feel sympathetic toward Fred? I don't. He's an asshole.

"His career or his Prince?" Sounds like he already made this choice when he sold the paintings. He didn't care about Malek's feelings or the possible negative outcome for Malek.

"There has also yet to be a popular straight-gay romantic/erotic novel, and I believe my book would appeal to the growing New Adult audience." There are more than you think, actually. Look up "straight to gay" on Amazon and you'll see them with their 4 to 5 star reviews.

What your book does need is to be well written. "I wrote this novel to answer the question: What are my straight crushes so damn afraid of?"

They're probably afraid of a lot of things. A horny gay stalker, for one.

This doesn't come across as romantic or erotic. It comes across as skeevy.
Try reading books by Authors Lucy Lennox and Harper Logan. They feature gay characters that care about one another enough not to want to ruin their lives. Without that, you have a creepy manipulative character who doesn't care if his crush is rejected by his entire family or culture. And that's not romantic.


Anonymous said...

I've already commented a couple times on this synopsis, but the last comment here by AA was really good and made me think. Now Malek is more sympathetic, and the main character is an ass. As written, I kind of see this as a "exploitation" novel: The gay main character is the jerk, and he's the one who has all the power. What (little) I know about gay culture leads me to believe that there would be a market for this. But would there be more market for an MC who's a little more sympathetic? Definitely there'd be more cross-over potential. More to the point, which novel do you as author want to write and sell?

If this is indeed more of an exploitation-genre novel than a traditional love story, the illegality of the contract is beside the point, since you're going more for effect than for realism. I think in either case you can probably be creative and write around it.