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OneTeam OneDream
08-06-2005, 06:10 AM
I'm running at about a 25% success rate (asking for partials or full ms) and I'm getting kind of frustrated. Maybe its my query. Can someone possibly take a look and see what you think?

Thanks

__________________________________________________ _________________


Dear Sir or Madam; (I put the specific name when I have it)

Have you ever been part of a team so strong that you carried the memories of that group of people with you for the rest of your life? Did your team do something so extraordinary that, years later it is still talked about? My manuscript One Team One Dream describes that scenario. It is a fact based account of the 1997 William Byrd High School Virginia state championship baseball team, and the achievements, setbacks, downfalls, and ultimately victory. This is the story the way I saw it from the pitcher’s mound, as one of the most sought after pitchers in the state of Virginia.

The market for this book would begin with the people that shared this experience in the Roanoke Valley, including players, students, coaches, parents, and fans. It has garnered some attention from the local media including the Roanoke Times newspaper, the Vinton Messenger newspaper, and the local NBC affiliate WSLS News Channel 10. The story would also reach anyone who has ever been a part of a team or has ever been inspired by teamwork, and exactly how far teammates can take each other regardless of the obstacles. My dedication to my team, as well as my accomplishments on the field, and name recognition in the local community based on these events qualify me to tell this story as it should be told, no punches pulled, no stones left unturned. It will be the first book covering this specific team, so it will certainly peak the interest of everyone in the area.

My manuscript is completed, and is roughly seventy-thousand words, and 280 typescript pages. I am requesting permission to send you a full proposal complete with synopsis, sample chapters, a summary of photographs and the introduction which sets the stage for the entire book.

Thank you for your time, and I hope to hear from you soon.



Sincerely,


Name
Address
Phone #
Email
Blood Type (Just kidding)




Thanks a bunch!

mommie4a
08-06-2005, 07:00 AM
First, congrats on the book and the query. Sounds interesting!

Second, on the query - do you know that most times nonfictions books aren't submitted to agents or publishers as a complete manuscript, but instead as a proposal, usually with just a one to three sample chapters? There are some threads in here about how to do that and resources to use to put those proposals together.

Third, on the query itself, the writing etc. - I'd love to see you tighten it up and punch it up. I think the content overall is there and decent and succinct. But the language - it could be smoother, more active, more assertive and confident.

It's 11pm here so I've gotta turn in (sorry!) but you should definitely search in the threads for the nonfiction book proposal threads that mention the three or four main books on how to put together a nonfiction book proposal.

Good luck!

OneTeam OneDream
08-06-2005, 08:45 AM
First, congrats on the book and the query. Sounds interesting!

Second, on the query - do you know that most times nonfictions books aren't submitted to agents or publishers as a complete manuscript, but instead as a proposal, usually with just a one to three sample chapters? There are some threads in here about how to do that and resources to use to put those proposals together.



Good luck!

Thanks for the kind words.

I am aware of Sample Chapters, and in the query you will see that in my definition of proposal I say sample chapters.


When you get more time, could you possibly give me a little more about what you mean in "tightening it up"?

I really appreciate your response.

veronie
08-06-2005, 09:00 AM
Hi. I liked it as well. I gave it a look and saw a few grammar issues, so I thought I'd offer them up so publishers will have fewer reasons to reject it.

Please, take no offense. It was actually a fun exercise for me (I'm a grammar nerd). Overall, the query is great, so don't be misled by me being picky. And, a 25 percent success rate is awesome.

Put a comma after "years later" in the first graph. You are using the phrase in a non-restrictive way.

Hyphenate "fact based" in the first graph (fact-based). It is a compound modifier that screams for hyphenation.

I would say "ultimate victory" insteat of "ultimately victory" in the first graph.

Get rid of the comma after "pitcher's mound" in the first graph, and hyphenate "sought after" (sought-after) because it is acting as a compound modifier.

This is just me, but I'd put a comma after "media" in the second paragraph before your list of newspapers.

Get rid of "newspaper" after the newspaper names. (Roanoke Times, not Roanoke Times newspaper).

Put a comma after "affiliate" in the second graph.

Get rid of the "ever"s in the second graph. They strike me as redundant.

No comma after "teamwork" in second graph.

Get rid of "the" before "obstacles."

No comma after "field" in second graph.

Change comma to dash after "as it should be told" in second graph.

No comma after "completed" in third graph.

Change ", and" after "seventy-thousand words" to a dash in third graph.

Instead of saying "I am requesting permission to send you," say "Can I send you ..." in third graph. It's less formal; more warm.

Put a comma after "photographs" in "a summary of photographs and the introduction" in the third graph. Technically, you can choose to use the serial comma (the comma before and in a listed series) or not, but be consistent. You used the serial comma earlier.

Put a comma after "introduction," or use "that" instead of "which." The word "which" is only used with non-restrictive clauses and needs a comma.

OneTeam OneDream
08-06-2005, 09:04 AM
Hi. I liked it as well. I gave it a look and saw a few grammar issues, so I thought I'd offer them up so publishers will have fewer reasons to reject it.

Please, take no offense. It was actually a fun exercise for me (I'm a grammar nerd). Overall, the query is great, so don't be misled by me being picky. And, a 25 percent success rate is awesome.

Put a comma after "years later" in the first graph. You are using the phrase in a non-restrictive way.

Hyphenate "fact based" in the first graph (fact-based). It is a compound modifier that screams for hyphenation.

I would say "ultimate victory" insteat of "ultimately victory" in the first graph.

Get rid of the comma after "pitcher's mound" in the first graph, and hyphenate "sought after" (sought-after) because it is acting as a compound modifier.

This is just me, but I'd put a comma after "media" in the second paragraph before your list of newspapers.

Get rid of "newspaper" after the newspaper names. (Roanoke Times, not Roanoke Times newspaper).

Put a comma after "affiliate" in the second graph.

Get rid of the "ever"s in the second graph. They strike me as redundant.

No comma after "teamwork" in second graph.

Get rid of "the" before "obstacles."

No comma after "field" in second graph.

Change comma to dash after "as it should be told" in second graph.

No comma after "completed" in third graph.

Change ", and" after "seventy-thousand words" to a dash in third graph.

Instead of saying "I am requesting permission to send you," say "Can I send you ..." in third graph. It's less formal; more warm.

Put a comma after "photographs" in "a summary of photographs and the introduction" in the third graph. Technically, you can choose to use the serial comma (the comma before and in a listed series) or not, but be consistent. You used the serial comma earlier.

Put a comma after "introduction," or use "that" instead of "which." The word "which" is only used with non-restrictive clauses and needs a comma.


:Jaw: Maybe I need to go back to English Class. Ha, Ha! Seriously though, I really appreciate that!

veronie
08-06-2005, 09:22 AM
Your first hit is free. You'll have to pay street price from now on. :ROFL:

OneTeam OneDream
08-06-2005, 09:23 AM
Your first hit is free. You'll have to pay street price from now on. :ROFL:


Remember, in the words of many great (published) authors "Money flows toward the author, not away!" Awwww shucks, Uncle Jim would be proud.

Optimus
08-06-2005, 12:24 PM
Well, you start off okay but then it kinda fizzles out. It needs to be tighter, more direct, and more confident. Confidence (but not cockiness) will sell you to the agent. The letter is your once chance to grab his/her attention. It should be short (no longer than one page...that doesn't count attachments), compelling, and confident. Get in, tell them your story, get out. Bing, Bang, Boom.

The overall impact of the letter should leave the agent saying, "Damn, I gotta read that!"

Your letter's not there yet, but you're off to a decent start.



Dear Sir or Madam; (I put the specific name when I have it)

Have you ever been part of a team so strong that you carried the memories of that group of people with you for the rest of your life? (I like what you're doing here, starting off with your hook, but I don't like the sentence. It's too late for my brain to come up with a suggestion, but this first sentence needs to be "hookier."Did your team do something so extraordinary that, years later it is still talked about? (This sentence is almost redundant to the first. Maybe try to include this information in a new, tighter first sentence. One sentence as your opening hook. That's it. Also, you want your hook to stand out - for greater impact - so start a new paragraph with the next sentence).

My manuscript One Team One Dream describes that scenario. It is a fact based account of the 1997 William Byrd High School Virginia state championship baseball team, and the achievements, setbacks, downfalls, and ultimately victory. again, not a big fan of this sentence. It's not tight enough and just doesn't scream "read me." How about something more like... My latest manuscript, ONE TEAM, ONE DREAM, captures the magic of the underdog 1997 William Byrd High School baseball team's inspirational rise from district rock-bottom to the heights of success as state champions. Told through the eyes of one of the most sought-after pitchers in the region, this story...blah blah blah. This paragraph is the appetizer.

The market for this book would begin with the people that shared this experience in the Roanoke Valley, including players, students, coaches, parents, and fans. It has garnered some attention from the local media including the Roanoke Times newspaper, the Vinton Messenger newspaper, and the local NBC affiliate WSLS News Channel 10. The story would also reach anyone who has ever been a part of a team or has ever been inspired by teamwork, and exactly how far teammates can take each other regardless of the obstacles. My dedication to my team, as well as my accomplishments on the field, and name recognition in the local community based on these events qualify me to tell this story as it should be told, no punches pulled, no stones left unturned. It will be the first book covering this specific team, so it will certainly peak the interest of everyone in the area. (delete this entire paragraph. Not only is it unnecessary and detracts from your story, but it pretty much gives the impression that this book has the potential to sell less than 100 copies. It deflates all the air from your balloon.

Trust me, the agent will have a much better grasp of whom this story will or won't appeal to and how marketable it is. It's not your job to tell them the sales demographics. Your job is to sell them on the story, not the potential profit. This paragraph is the main course, so the entire paragraph should be no more than 4 lines telling the gist of the story in the tightest, yet most compelling, manner possible.).

ONE TEAM, ONE DREAM is a seventy-thousand word, 280 typescript page manuscript. I truly believe that this story is the best, most compelling thing I have ever written. I am currently seeking top-notch representation to see my manuscript through to publication. In this spirit, I would love to provide you with a copy for consideration.



Sincerely,


Name
Address
Phone #
Email

mommie4a
08-06-2005, 06:46 PM
About the paragraph Optimus says to remove:

You do need to sell the agent or publisher on you - why are you the best person to tell the story. So you need to sell yourself in regard to that fact. You also may want to have a line that references the popularity of such stories (I think of Pat Conroy's baseball story out last year) and how yours fits with that trend. Specific market info will be required in your proposal.

Remember that the purpose of the nonficiton book QUERY is to get the agent or publisher to request your nonfiction book PROPOSAL which will have the specifics and run from 20-50 pages, including sample chapters. You are trying to get your idea separated from unsolicited manuscripts and proposals by querying with a one page sell of your idea and why you're the one to author it.

Good luck.

OneTeam OneDream
08-06-2005, 07:03 PM
About the paragraph Optimus says to remove:

You do need to sell the agent or publisher on you - why are you the best person to tell the story. So you need to sell yourself in regard to that fact. You also may want to have a line that references the popularity of such stories (I think of Pat Conroy's baseball story out last year) and how yours fits with that trend. Specific market info will be required in your proposal.

Remember that the purpose of the nonficiton book QUERY is to get the agent or publisher to request your nonfiction book PROPOSAL which will have the specifics and run from 20-50 pages, including sample chapters. You are trying to get your idea separated from unsolicited manuscripts and proposals by querying with a one page sell of your idea and why you're the one to author it.

Good luck.


I Know I can't mention this in this context, but alot of my beta readers have compared it to Friday Night Lights, except for in baseball form. (Plus, we won, they lost...haha) I have that mentioned in my cover letter that goes out with proposals, but I wasn't really sure how to add that into my query.

Julie Worth
08-06-2005, 07:06 PM
A “25% success rate (asking for partials or full ms)” is actually very good.

mommie4a
08-06-2005, 07:08 PM
I Know I can't mention this in this context, but alot of my beta readers have compared it to Friday Night Lights, except for in baseball form. (Plus, we won, they lost...haha) I have that mentioned in my cover letter that goes out with proposals, but I wasn't really sure how to add that into my query.

I haven't checked to see if it's available, but the Buzz spoke at the ASJA conference in NYC in April '05. He was excellent. Hoosiers is movie that comes to mind. I'm sure there are a ton of examples. Really - hit the library or try inside the book feature at Amazon and check out some more sample queries to see how they throw in that info.

OneTeam OneDream
08-06-2005, 07:09 PM
A “25% success rate (asking for partials or full ms)” is actually very good.


Really?

I saw that one of the guys running around here said that if you aren't getting 80%, then there is something wrong with your query.

OneTeam OneDream
08-06-2005, 07:11 PM
I haven't checked to see if it's available, but the Buzz spoke at the ASJA conference in NYC in April '05. He was excellent. Hoosiers is movie that comes to mind. I'm sure there are a ton of examples. Really - hit the library or try inside the book feature at Amazon and check out some more sample queries to see how they throw in that info.



Gotcha! Thanks! Hoosiers is another example thrown in my cover letter.

Julie Worth
08-06-2005, 07:16 PM
Really?

I saw that one of the guys running around here said that if you aren't getting 80%, then there is something wrong with your query.

Who was that? Nicolas Sparks wrote a dynamite query letter and got just under 50%. That’s about the best you can expect, I think, since at least half the agents will pass for reasons totally separate from the work you’re pitching. (Of course, maybe non-fiction is different.)



See

http://www.nicholassparks.com/WritersCorner/Agent.html (http://www.nicholassparks.com/WritersCorner/Agent.html)

and

http://www.nicholassparks.com/WritersCorner/Query.html (http://www.nicholassparks.com/WritersCorner/Query.html)

and especially

http://www.zackcompany.com/perfectpitch.pdf (http://www.zackcompany.com/perfectpitch.pdf)

OneTeam OneDream
08-06-2005, 07:52 PM
Who was that? Nicolas Sparks wrote a dynamite query letter and got just under 50%. That’s about the best you can expect, I think, since at least half the agents will pass for reasons totally separate from the work you’re pitching. (Of course, maybe non-fiction is different.)



See

http://www.nicholassparks.com/WritersCorner/Agent.html (http://www.nicholassparks.com/WritersCorner/Agent.html)

and

http://www.nicholassparks.com/WritersCorner/Query.html (http://www.nicholassparks.com/WritersCorner/Query.html)

and especially

http://www.zackcompany.com/perfectpitch.pdf (http://www.zackcompany.com/perfectpitch.pdf)






If you send a letter asking if you can send sample chapters, the agent is going to think you're dense. There are better ways of finding out whether or not an agent will look at sample chapters.

I've seen that 12% before, and I think it's ridiculous. Proper, well-written query letters when you've done your research should result in at least an 80% request rate. I'd say that 12% is what people get with standard, average query letters that are shotgunned.


This was written by Jamesritchie in this thread: http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16920&highlight=query+percentage

OneTeam OneDream
08-06-2005, 08:09 PM
How about something like this:


With over 275,000 high school baseball players, and over 13,000 coaches in America, this story will certianly relate to a great deal of people.

Julie Worth
08-06-2005, 08:11 PM
If you send a letter asking if you can send sample chapters, the agent is going to think you're dense. There are better ways of finding out whether or not an agent will look at sample chapters.

I've seen that 12% before, and I think it's ridiculous. Proper, well-written query letters when you've done your research should result in at least an 80% request rate. I'd say that 12% is what people get with standard, average query letters that are shotgunned.


This was written by Jamesritchie in this thread: http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16920&highlight=query+percentage



Elsewhere he says that you should never send just the query, but should always enclose three chapters (after researching the agent). So, if he’s not sending out just a query, where is he getting the 80%?

Making it up, most probably.

On his blog, he doesn't mention having an agent. His advice is "...submit, submit, submit, and don’t stop submitting until someone buys your work."

OneTeam OneDream
08-06-2005, 08:33 PM
Elsewhere he says that you should never send just the query, but should always enclose three chapters (after researching the agent). So, if he’s not sending out just a query, where is he getting the 80%?

Making it up, most probably.

On his blog, he doesn't mention having an agent. His advice is "...submit, submit, submit, and don’t stop submitting until someone buys your work."


Yeah I kinda gathered that too. Thanks though.

mommie4a
08-06-2005, 09:02 PM
How about something like this:


With over 275,000 high school baseball players, and over 13,000 coaches in America, this story will certianly relate to a great deal of people.

I like that but I don't like the words "certainly" or "great deal" - I'm not a fan of adverbs and vague references to numbers. Instead, you could say...this story will resonate with young and old alike, or something that more specifically indicates that depth and breadth of the market (like...are more people exposed to baseball than any other sport or more interested in it than any other sport etc).

OneTeam OneDream
08-06-2005, 09:04 PM
I like that but I don't like the words "certainly" or "great deal" - I'm not a fan of adverbs and vague references to numbers. Instead, you could say...this story will resonate with young and old alike, or something that more specifically indicates that depth and breadth of the market (like...are more people exposed to baseball than any other sport or more interested in it than any other sport etc).


Thanks again. Back to the drawing board!

eldragon
08-06-2005, 09:32 PM
Is the book geared toward young readers or adults?


No offense, but how many adults read about High School sports teams?

It might be a big sell to High School or junior high students - if its at an easy to read level.


I think of it like High School football and basketball........even college ......just doesn't draw the attention that professional does.

So - is it geared towards tween readers?

OneTeam OneDream
08-06-2005, 09:46 PM
[Is the book geared toward young readers or adults?
Both


No offense, but how many adults read about High School sports teams?

Quite a few. Friday Night Lights, Hoosiers etc.






I think of it like High School football and basketball........even college ......just doesn't draw the attention that professional does.

College football is huge, and College basketball draws much more attention than pro these days.

So - is it geared towards tween readers?

It is geared towards anyone, young and old, who was ever a part of a team, and wants to be inspired.

eldragon
08-06-2005, 09:53 PM
College football is huge, and College basketball draws much more attention than pro these days.

Good. I guess things have changed. When I worked in a Vegas casino, near the sports book .......college sports were dead, but pro were crazy.

The book sounds interesting. I'd read it.

OneTeam OneDream
08-06-2005, 09:58 PM
Good. I guess things have changed. When I worked in a Vegas casino, near the sports book .......college sports were dead, but pro were crazy.

The book sounds interesting. I'd read it.


Thank you!

(Where can I send my proposal....you are an editor right?...hehe)

OneTeam OneDream
08-06-2005, 11:37 PM
[QUOTE=Optimus]Well, you start off okay but then it kinda fizzles out. It needs to be tighter, more direct, and more confident. Confidence (but not cockiness) will sell you to the agent. The letter is your once chance to grab his/her attention. It should be short (no longer than one page...that doesn't count attachments), compelling, and confident. Get in, tell them your story, get out. Bing, Bang, Boom.

The overall impact of the letter should leave the agent saying, "Damn, I gotta read that!"

Your letter's not there yet, but you're off to a decent start.



Dear Sir or Madam; (I put the specific name when I have it)

Have you ever been part of a team so strong that you carried the memories of that group of people with you for the rest of your life? (I like what you're doing here, starting off with your hook, but I don't like the sentence. It's too late for my brain to come up with a suggestion, but this first sentence needs to be "hookier."Did your team do something so extraordinary that, years later it is still talked about? (This sentence is almost redundant to the first. Maybe try to include this information in a new, tighter first sentence. One sentence as your opening hook. That's it. Also, you want your hook to stand out - for greater impact - so start a new paragraph with the next sentence).

My manuscript One Team One Dream describes that scenario. It is a fact based account of the 1997 William Byrd High School Virginia state championship baseball team, and the achievements, setbacks, downfalls, and ultimately victory. again, not a big fan of this sentence. It's not tight enough and just doesn't scream "read me." How about something more like... My latest manuscript, ONE TEAM, ONE DREAM, captures the magic of the underdog 1997 William Byrd High School baseball team's inspirational rise from district rock-bottom to the heights of success as state champions. Told through the eyes of one of the most sought-after pitchers in the region, this story...blah blah blah. This paragraph is the appetizer. [QUOTE=Optimus]

Unfortunately this won't work. We weren't an underdog, or district rock bottom, we were, consistently, one of the best teams in the state, we just finally made it over the hump that year.

I do appreciate the advice though.

PattiTheWicked
08-06-2005, 11:59 PM
Good. I guess things have changed. When I worked in a Vegas casino, near the sports book .......college sports were dead, but pro were crazy.



I live in the Midwest, and football -- both college level and high school -- is a religion here. My entire city comes to a screeching halt on Saturday afternoons from September through November, and for twelve weeks straight anything you plan better not interfere with a game.

Go Bucks!

OneTeam OneDream
08-07-2005, 12:16 AM
I live in the Midwest, and football -- both college level and high school -- is a religion here. My entire city comes to a screeching halt on Saturday afternoons from September through November, and for twelve weeks straight anything you plan better not interfere with a game.

Go Bucks!


That's the way baseball is in Virginia these days.

eldragon
08-07-2005, 01:15 AM
Basketball was religion in the small Kansas town I grew up in. Our HS team was always on top. The games - at home and away - were tense, and standing room only!

Optimus
08-07-2005, 01:24 AM
[QUOTE=Optimus]Well, you start off okay but then it kinda fizzles out. It needs to be tighter, more direct, and more confident. Confidence (but not cockiness) will sell you to the agent. The letter is your once chance to grab his/her attention. It should be short (no longer than one page...that doesn't count attachments), compelling, and confident. Get in, tell them your story, get out. Bing, Bang, Boom.

The overall impact of the letter should leave the agent saying, "Damn, I gotta read that!"

Your letter's not there yet, but you're off to a decent start.



Dear Sir or Madam; (I put the specific name when I have it)

Have you ever been part of a team so strong that you carried the memories of that group of people with you for the rest of your life? (I like what you're doing here, starting off with your hook, but I don't like the sentence. It's too late for my brain to come up with a suggestion, but this first sentence needs to be "hookier."Did your team do something so extraordinary that, years later it is still talked about? (This sentence is almost redundant to the first. Maybe try to include this information in a new, tighter first sentence. One sentence as your opening hook. That's it. Also, you want your hook to stand out - for greater impact - so start a new paragraph with the next sentence).

My manuscript One Team One Dream describes that scenario. It is a fact based account of the 1997 William Byrd High School Virginia state championship baseball team, and the achievements, setbacks, downfalls, and ultimately victory. again, not a big fan of this sentence. It's not tight enough and just doesn't scream "read me." How about something more like... My latest manuscript, ONE TEAM, ONE DREAM, captures the magic of the underdog 1997 William Byrd High School baseball team's inspirational rise from district rock-bottom to the heights of success as state champions. Told through the eyes of one of the most sought-after pitchers in the region, this story...blah blah blah. This paragraph is the appetizer. [QUOTE=Optimus]

Unfortunately this won't work. We weren't an underdog, or district rock bottom, we were, consistently, one of the best teams in the state, we just finally made it over the hump that year.

I do appreciate the advice though.

I was just making that up for example's sake, not to tell you that you should use that word-for-word.

And, about the paragraph I said to delete, I guess non-fic queries are much different than others, so that's just my ignorance of the format showing. However, if you look at how Sparks includes that info in his query, you'll see a much tighter and more effective way to do it.

And, veronie missed something:

Your story should "pique" interest (arouse it), not "peak" it (dwindle it down).

:)

Lauri B
08-07-2005, 03:10 AM
Thank you!

(Where can I send my proposal....you are an editor right?...hehe)
Hi One Team, One Dream,
I read your pitch and I think that you're going to need to make it sound less regionally appealing to get a mainstream publisher to bite. I wonder if that's what has been tripping you up. Your query letter makes me think, "oops, regional appeal only" and if I were to receive this, I wouldn't be able to get beyond that. If your manuscript is like Friday Night Lights, which was a terrific commentary on how sports can become a substitute success for a community that hadn't seen success in a long time, then you need to make that clear in your query. Your pitch should not be how you all carried hte memories of a great year of high school ball with you forever, but rather how the team managed to transform a town and community and region from one thing to another. That's what was so fascinating and appealing about Friday Night Lights--how Buzz Bissinger managed to take a region's obsession with football and explode it out into a comment about the entire United States.
Anyway, that's my take on your query--as soon as I read the specifics of it, that it's about a baseball team's season in a town in central Virginia and how it was a great season (my quick interpretation of your query), it immediately limited to whom I'd be able to sell the book.

triceretops
08-07-2005, 03:34 AM
Yes, do not limit yourself with this "book has regional or local appeal." Sets up a warning flag for a small market. Include the fact that this title ALSO carries a strong national interest encompassing all sports related competition. You might give a few blow-by-blow descriptions that demonstrate some of the highlights of the game. Any records or scores surpassed in this event? What makes this baseball competion different or special from any other?

Tri

OneTeam OneDream
08-07-2005, 11:11 AM
Hi One Team, One Dream,
I read your pitch and I think that you're going to need to make it sound less regionally appealing to get a mainstream publisher to bite. I wonder if that's what has been tripping you up. Your query letter makes me think, "oops, regional appeal only" and if I were to receive this, I wouldn't be able to get beyond that. If your manuscript is like Friday Night Lights, which was a terrific commentary on how sports can become a substitute success for a community that hadn't seen success in a long time, then you need to make that clear in your query. Your pitch should not be how you all carried hte memories of a great year of high school ball with you forever, but rather how the team managed to transform a town and community and region from one thing to another. That's what was so fascinating and appealing about Friday Night Lights--how Buzz Bissinger managed to take a region's obsession with football and explode it out into a comment about the entire United States.
Anyway, that's my take on your query--as soon as I read the specifics of it, that it's about a baseball team's season in a town in central Virginia and how it was a great season (my quick interpretation of your query), it immediately limited to whom I'd be able to sell the book.


Note to self....scratch Nomad off of the list. I'm just kidding, I actually have an envelope with your name on it, but before I send it, I am going to make some of the changes you suggest to this query. Thank you for taking the time.

OneTeam OneDream
08-07-2005, 12:04 PM
Here is a first draft revision, tell me what you think. I really appreciate everyone who has helped me with this.

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Have you ever been part of a team so strong that you carried the memories of that group of people with you for the rest of your life?

My completed manuscript One Team One Dream captures such a scenario, with a fact based account of the 1997 William Byrd High School baseball Virginia state champions. More importantly, it tells a story that anyone who has ever felt a brotherhood or sisterhood with teammates can relate to. The magic that was captured by these twenty-two young men takes a break from today’s world of big money contracts, steroids, and scandal, and focuses on the things that matter, such as; the relationships between players and coaches, including the battle that the players went through to keep their coach from being fired. This story tells the true meaning of the most cherished thing in sports. Being a team.

Readers will relate to the highs and lows experienced by this team, including having the star pitcher and starting second baseman suspended at the beginning of the season by the school for alcohol violations, beating the odds by winning their sixth straight district championship, being behind by one run in the bottom of the seventh inning with two outs, only to have an unlikely player produce a homerun to tie the game in a moment that rivaled that of Kirk Gibson’s legendary World Series homerun, and ultimately the moment that transformed the small town of Vinton, Virginia forever, winning the state championship on their home field. For readers whose playing days are behind them, or for current players, there will be moments in One Team One Dream that hit home, and make them realize how special a bond with teammates can be.

My dedication to my team, as well as my accomplishments on the field, and name recognition in the local community based on these events qualify me to tell this story as it should be told, no punches pulled, no stones left unturned. Similar books that convey the “team” message are, Friday Night Lights and Hoosiers, however this will be the first book of this kind that is seen from a baseball point of view.

One Team One Dream is a seventy-thousand word, 270 typescript page manuscript. I am seeking representation to see my manuscript through publication, from someone feels as passionately about teamwork as I do. I would live to provide you with a copy for consideration.

Thank you for your time. I have enclosed a SASE and I look forward to hearing from you.

mommie4a
08-07-2005, 05:27 PM
Seems punchier but

-IMHO (just MHO), you need to lose the idea that you have the whole manuscript. For nonfiction, truly, truly, truly, you want to get the agent or publisher to want your book proposal. Unless you have an in with someone who is telling you otherwise and is in the publishing or agenting business for nonfiction, book proposals - not completed manuscripts - are what agents and pubs look at for nonfiction projects.

-I think you've embedded the most universal part of the story: how the road to winning the state championship transformed individuals (young and old, players and spectators), a school, a community, a region. And in doing so, changed the course of the life of everyone fortunate enough to be involved.

-also - just as devil's advocate: were there folks in the community who said the team stuff was obsessive or cruel or too much pressure? That contrast would be fascinating also.

Keep going. Some minor grammar and punctuation stuff you need to clean up but seems like you're going in the right direction - more specifics, less generalities. The goal in nonfiction is to get the reader to see what you see as you see it, and get the reader to care about it.

OneTeam OneDream
08-07-2005, 07:11 PM
Seems punchier but

-IMHO (just MHO), you need to lose the idea that you have the whole manuscript. For nonfiction, truly, truly, truly, you want to get the agent or publisher to want your book proposal. Unless you have an in with someone who is telling you otherwise and is in the publishing or agenting business for nonfiction, book proposals - not completed manuscripts - are what agents and pubs look at for nonfiction projects.

My first query asked for a proposal, but truthfully the reason I started leaning towards full in this one is because I've had 5 requests from either agents or pubs, and they've all been for full ms. (And at the time I was asking to send them partials)

-also - just as devil's advocate: were there folks in the community who said the team stuff was obsessive or cruel or too much pressure? That contrast would be fascinating also.

The contrast is in the story about the coach. The parents wanted to have him fired after the previous year. He was going to quit. I personally made him a promise of a state championship if he came back. (This was documented in 2 newspapers) For the first 3/4 of the season the parents were still trying to get him fired.

Keep going. Some minor grammar and punctuation stuff you need to clean up but seems like you're going in the right direction - more specifics, less generalities. The goal in nonfiction is to get the reader to see what you see as you see it, and get the reader to care about it.


Thanks again!.