View Full Version : the new guy's query...

12-09-2005, 03:59 AM
Hey all...First time here. Great site, great posts so far. I thought I'd post my current query here to get some new feedback. I've done this on another site and had some fantastic suggestions...I had crappy response to earlier, crummy versions, and with the help I've received I think it's pretty tight. Any comments would be appreciated. Thanks...

Dear Agent,

Willie was a prodigy, a thirteen-year-old guitar-playing virtuoso. At seventeen, he sang his sexy blue-eyed soul in packed clubs throughout New York City, well on his way to a sweet life of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll stardom.

In AMERICAN JUNKIE, middle-aged Willie Gold is now a less-than-prodigious carpenter, remodeling palatial homes in what he calls suburban blue-collar purgatory. Chronically depressed and panic-stricken, he struggles to save his fragile family and his faltering business—although deep down he could give a damn about construction. He has more important things to worry about than finishing some spoiled Scarsdale soccer-mom's kitchen cabinets or that addition over in Greenwich.

Willie suspects that his wife is sleeping with her boss. His two childhood friends, reformed hoodlum Bobby Mancini and Mike the Bike, a recovering addict and born-again Christian, can never manage to show up to work on time, no matter how much Willie overpays them. With four sons who can't get enough of him, Willie feels drawn and quartered in every other direction but his own.

A raging, closet junkie, twenty years into an opiate-induced melancholy haze, the rock-star in him still harbors vivid and preoccupying dreams of playing Madison Square Garden, dreams that simply won't die. But in his heart Willie knows that his greatest challenge lies ahead, as he fights a desperate battle to save himself from the insidious addiction that is trying to kill him.

If you're looking for a fresh, irreverent voice, AMERICAN JUNKIE, complete at 105k words, paints a surprising picture of heroin addiction in the 21st century. I will promptly send a partial, or the full manuscript on request.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Mitch Barr

12-09-2005, 06:06 AM
Have I read this somewhere before? Are you asking for a critique by fellow writers or soliciting an agent?


P.S. You'd probably get a better response to the query if you visit here (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=84) which is the location for queries people wish to have criqitued.

12-09-2005, 09:09 AM
thanks jonny...it says I need a password, but doesn't recognize my account password...am I missing something?

12-09-2005, 11:45 AM
thanks jonny...it says I need a password, but doesn't recognize my account password...am I missing something?

The password for the Share Your Work area is "vista". It's password protected so that our work there isn't coughed up by search engines.

12-09-2005, 02:07 PM
Have I read this somewhere before?

I think I've read it over at writers.net.

12-09-2005, 07:05 PM
thanks...gotcha...yep, WN...been there, and such.

12-10-2005, 06:17 AM
Based on my experience, you've got too much plot in your query. Agents like you to get to the point and just want to know the general idea of your book, but in a fantastic and catching way. This would be a GREAT partial synopsis, but it's too plot heavy for a query letter.
I fooled around with several different varieties of queries based on books I studied about how to write one, and the one I got the most response to was the one I wrote after I let go of my need to get all my best lines in the query and got right to business. Here's the approach that worked for me:

1. An opening paragraph with the title of the book, its word count, and a brief plot summary in a few lines or less.
2. In paragraph two focus on what makes you think this book will sell. By this I don't mean toot your own horn or write a list. What worked for me was comparing myself to authors I thought I write like and who are best sellers.
3. Talk a little bit about yourself in paragraph three. What credentials do you have as a writer? Have you been published? Et cetera.
4. Thank them for their time. It’s valuable, and you want them to know you appreciate it.

I hope that helps!