Monday, December 09, 2019

Feedback Request

The author of the book most recently featured here would like feedback on the following version of the query:

Dear Evil Editor,

I hope this message finds you well. I am writing to pitch my completed LGBT contemporary romance "The Glorious Prince".

Malek, Iraqi-American beefcake and flirtation failure extraordinaire, finds in his university gym locker yet another note from his secret admirer. This time there's a number. After watching his crush, Priscilla, make out with his best friend, Malek storms out of a party and drunk-texts the admirer to meet up.. Fred, struggling painter and smitten submissive, can barely keep himself from running [all but runs] to meet Malek, but arrives to find his fists clenched. Malek pushes Fred away—into the street and a pair of headlights.

In his hospital bed, Fred realizes his chance. Aided by some astonished lawyers, Fred forces Malek to choose between prison and a year of “reconciliation” visits. Prison would ruin his immigrant parents’ hopes in America, so guilt-ridden Malek chooses the visits. On the first visit, Malek is shocked when Fred bends spine, neck, and knees, confessing the urge to be his submissive. Fred knows that Malek will enjoy domination if given a little push, like having his shoes shined, feet massaged, or his shisha pipes prepared. To help Malek see how adored he is, Fred paints him as the epic ruler of fictional worlds, and these paintings come to life in a way his previous works never have.

Though confused and hesitant at first, Malek is flattered by the paintings and enjoys Fred’s service. As he explores his knack for domination, his confidence blossoms. But fearing stigma, Malek orders Fred to trash the paintings. Instead, Fred sells them to pay rent, still fighting with a homophobic father who says he’ll never make it in the art world. Not only do the paintings sell, there is demand for more and talks of a big gallery [showing]. While Malek must confront his new feelings toward Fred, Fred must decide between honoring the trust of his beloved prince, or the breakthrough of his career.

The novel has three POV's, has series potential, and is set in modern Washington, D.C.

I am a Lebanese gay man pursuing doctoral studies in Japan, by day. By night I dominate Japanese men. These and my fantasies about servicing straight men informed the POVs of Malek and Fred. I have been published by The Gay and Lesbian Review,, Every Day Fiction, haunted Waters Press (contest winner), Good Works Review, and others.

Thank you in advance for your time and kind consideration.


If you delete the red stuff you'll have a more concise and perhaps better query.

Your last comment in the previous iteration of the query seemed to say you would abandon the car/hospital/contract for my suggestion that Fred simply hire the impoverished Malek as a model. Apparently that didn't work for you?


Intesar Toufic said...

Thank you EE for your feedback. If I could ask a few questions please:

1- I thought the it's important to include how my personal life impacts the novel. Is that not the case?

2- Regarding the hospital/contract thread, I'm afraid if I use Malek as a model from the start, it risks turning Fred into an unprofessional predator and if Malek gets uncomfortable can just leave. A contract and guilt would be more binding. Please correct me if I'm wrong or if this trope hurts my prospects.

3-So the bad dad is unnecessary here? Wouldn't it add dimension to the query?

4- Do you think it's better overall than before?

Thank you

Evil Editor said...

1. If you're sending this to an agent who handles only LGBT fiction, perhaps "By night I dominate Japanese men. This and my fantasies about servicing straight men informed the POVs of Malek and Fred." wouldn't sound so much like TMI. I think your credits are enough to get across the point that you know your way around the subject matter.

2/3. The contract seemed to bother other commenters a lot. I think Fred will be seen as an unprofessional predator by readers either way., but might not seen that way by Malek without the contract. Maybe a modeling contract rather than a contract for reconciliation visits would be better? Malek can't just leave if he being paid an exorbitant amount, and is desperate for money. (though if Fred can afford to pay a lot, he wouldn't need to sell paintings to pay his rent. Maybe instead of saying he's selling them to pay rent, say he sells them to prove to his homophobic father that he can make it as an artist. That gets in the bad dad more smoothly than "still fighting with".

4. Yes I think it's an improvement.

As always, you should listen to suggestions that make sense to you, and ignore those that don't.

Wilkins MacQueen said...

Writer, do what Evil says.

Frankly I find this too long and too many messages. Love that you've been published, but to the point this was not for me, because I want a clear query. I don't care about the subject. Which is very interesting - I think you can present it better which might help you get an agent and sell it.

For me, I think you can tighten it, make it more dynamic and I loved the phrase "I service Japanese men".

The inside knowledge is great, did you do it service in the way you presented it?

It kind of felt like you were pushing characters around in the query instead of showing us what real emotion and real reaction is in this community.

Actually it seemed to be a bit more summary than query.

I also live in Asia (Cdn), I'd keep the writer's pov out of the query - it is all about the story.

Good luck with this, pretty hard to wrap your arms around.

I do suggest you take another run at it. 3 pov's - fine with me but frankly I care about the one main character I can connect with.

I felt left out. This is a hard thing - it isn't about you or the two lesser povs. It is about the main mc, the other two are supporting actors/staff in your story.

I see promise here if you can reconfigure the query.

Interesting reading but felt like too much I didn't care about and not enough of what I did.

Look forward to a facelift.