Saturday, March 14, 2009

You Pimped My Query (And the Sparks are Flying!)

Well, the sparks are definitely flying! I can't tell you how much I appreciate the truly brilliant and insightful feedback I received from the amazing writers out there, and how valuable this exercise has been for me. For any of you who are close to sending out queries, I highly recommend it. (Also, read through the comments - there's some invaluable advice there.)

Please read the query in my last post FIRST and THEN compare it to this one. I can't wait to hear your comments on this new and (hopefully!) improved version (BTW:The word count went from 396 to 317 - a 79 word reduction). AND DON'T FORGET - IT'S NOT TOO LATE TO GIVE ME YOUR TWO CENTS!! :

Dear Future Perfect Agent:

“Thanks for the compliment. I’ve never had a woman hit on me before,” winks Jenny Sampson in SPARKS FLY SOMETIMES: CONFESSIONS OF A ROCK PRINCESS. At 83,000 words, this women’s fiction/humor novel is written in a voice similar to that of Chelsea Handler and Jill Conner Browne.

Jenny’s wild rock and roll adventures catapult her and her husband, Nate to the top of the local Denver music scene. However, setbacks and disappointments strike a dissonant chord and keep Jenny and Nate from breaking onto the national stage. The desire for financial security wins out over artistic uncertainty, and Jenny and Nate take a wide turn from music to medicine. As the ever-supportive wife, Jenny incorporates her “BJ’s for A’s” program, offering sexual favors to Nate for every ‘A’ he receives. He graduates from college and medical school touting big honors and an even bigger… smile.

As Nate morphs from a long-haired Catholic musician into a short-haired Jewish doctor, Jenny gets her Cinderella on and trades her rock star tiara for a domestic goddess crown. But all is not sparkling in suburbia. Marital mayhem ensues in the form of a beautiful assistant DA interested in a threesome, a wealthy heiress with eyes for Nate, and a handsome British rock club owner who falls hard for Jenny. These spicy temptations, along with her reignited craving for fame, put Jenny's marriage and second shot at stardom at risk of complete combustion.

My life as a professional singer/songwriter/musician, doctor’s wife and mother of two is the inspiration behind this novel. I write articles about songwriting as the Philadelphia Songwriter Examiner on Examiner.com. My music has been featured on TV, radio, and on Broadjam.com's Top 10 lists internationally.

I will be happy to send you a partial submission or the full manuscript for SPARKS FLY SOMETIMES: CONFESSIONS OF A ROCK PRINCESS upon request.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Debra Schubert
(Contact Info)

And, by the way, CONGRATS TO JENNI JAMES who won the kitty picture-holding trio! (You might want to hop on over and congratulate her on this extraordinary feat.) My husband, Chuck, found a site called "Random.org" and let it do the work for him. The kitties will have a new home in England with Jenni and her gaggle of children (six? seriously?).

29 comments:

Angie Ledbetter said...

When I get home tomorrow from my shift at Mom's and after my writers group meeting, I'm gonna go over your revised query and email it back to ya, Shube. {BTW, that's my new nickname for you. It's either a personal tic or a southern thang, but either way, can't be helped. LOL}

DebraLSchubert said...

Angie, Shube is fine. I've been called worse, believe me. ;-) I'll be looking forward to your ever-astute critique. Should I put my boxing gloves back on?

valbrussell said...

Debra darling, That is magnificent! What can I say? You my dear, possess all the chops needed to acquire an agent. A big ole huggly to you. :)

Joanne said...

You've put a lot of thought into this, it has a lot of energy and looks great! Wishing you many interested agents requesting the manuscript.

DebraLSchubert said...

Val, I took your advice on the first sentence (provocative) thing. Do you think it works? Is it provocative enough? Thanks again for your great advice!

Joanne, Thanks. What an exercise in patience, persistence, and humility! It will be interesting to see if I get a bump in agent interest...

Rebecca Anne said...

Ok, I went down and read the first query and then read this one. I think you tighted it up into a clear and consise picture of what you're wrote. I'm no agent, but I'm ready to read it~~
Well done,
Rebecca

DebraLSchubert said...

Rebecca, Thank you SO much!!! If only we writers could be agents. We'd all have million-dollar, multi-book deals!! (Seriously!)

valbrussell said...

It's a fantastic opening line. It grabs your attention and makes the reader curious to see what this is all about. This query is succinct with a little punch added and I see your natural humour peeking from behind the words. Simply display your innate gusto and they won't be able to resist your novel. I guarandamntee it.

DebraLSchubert said...

Val, Yippee!!! Instead of being my Secret Santa could you be my Secret Agent? I need someone as enthusiastic and supportive as you in my corner!!!;-)

Fragrant Liar said...

That second query is much better than the first. It doesn't ramble, and gets to the point, which is the whole point with agent queries. Best of luck to you.

kimmirich said...

Ok, I guess I have to be the odd guy out. My 2 cents. :D

On opening dialogue: you should kill that—it has nothing to do with the main part of the query. I feel it comes off as too cute and I already get your voice clearly. A good thing! : )

You need to pick a genre and leave out about Chelsea Handler, I strongly feel. As this would probably frustrate agents. And they simply don't care ... make sense? Just go immediatedly for the hook, grab and hold the agent.

You could start with para 2, thus: Jenny traded her rock star tiara for a domestic goddess crown when her husband Nate got his MD.

Your bio para is great—everything in it is street cred for the book.

But you still need to shorten --tighten this query up: Jenny does A, then B happens. She does C to fix it, but screws things up more. If she doesn’t do D, then ZOMG!

Have you looked at some of the queries over at Janet Reid's query shark?

DebraLSchubert said...

FL, Thanks - I hope that's the response I get. We'll see. I'm all about whatever works, so if I need to tweak again I will.

DebraLSchubert said...

Kimmi, I greatly appreciate your courage to go against the grain! I've never heard of opening with dialogue before, but I thought it sounded interesting and I thought I'd give it a whirl. I'll see if I get any bites with it. I do read Query Shark regularly as well as every other agent blog I can find that discusses queries. Of course, they've all got their own take on it, which keeps things interesting for those of us trying to figure out the "right" way. As far as mentioning similar writers, some agents specifically ask for this to be included in the query. If they don't, I'll take your advice and leave it out.

Are you saying I should forget the first paragraph and just go with the second? If so, do you think that's enough info?

In the end, you have to go with what feels right for you and trust your instincts. I'll take this query out for a spin and see if it can dance. I'm willing to change it up if it seems to have two left feet. I'll report back in a few weeks. Thanks so much for your astute comments!

ryan field said...

I love it all, and I love your energy.

Perseverance is the most important thing.

DebraLSchubert said...

Ryan, Thank you - that means a lot. Next time I'm in New Hope I'm taking you out for a drink! Perseverance... Hmmm, sounds familiar. Is that a perfume by Calvin Klein?

Chuck Schubert said...

Love it, love it!! But I think we need another contest (this time by MY rules). Love, Nate.

Anita said...

I like this much more than the first...great improvements!

I can't remember your novel being as heavily comical as Chelsea is, though...I don't mean your novel isn't funny, but I wonder if the Chelsea reference will throw agents, because she is SUCH a comedienne...unless the novel has changed a lot?

Anyway, I can't wait to hear what this gets you! Keep us posted!

DebraLSchubert said...

Chuck/Nate, If we played by your rules I'd be too tired to write.;-)

Anita, I'm glad you like #2 better. I'm not sure what you read (first three chaps?). I'm not claiming to be anywhere near the talent that Chelsea is (who I saw last week, btw!!!), but it is pretty funny... I just want to get the point across that it is definitely heavy on the humor side. I promise to keep you posted.

A Week In The Life of A Redhead said...

It's hard for me to say since I am not at this phase of my writing. I do wish you great success and will be eager to see the feedback you get with your queries. Good luck Debra.
Catherine

Debbie said...

I kinda like Shube. I think Angie is onto something there.

DebraLSchubert said...

Catherine (one of my favorite names in the whole world, btw), Thanks for finding me! See what you have to look forward to? You finish your masterpiece novel and then you have to reduce it to less than 300 words. Fun. It's really fun. OK, it's not really fun. But it's definitely a challenge. After a couple of glasses of wine it's fun, but then so's doing laundry.;-)

DebraLSchubert said...

Debbie, Where's your crit? Love, Shube

Lilly said...

I think its great. It leaves me wanting more. Joanne is right, it has a lot of energy. now I am wanting to read the book...put me on the waiting list will you?

I wondered about the opening too but I gues its how its presented so its clearly a quote from the book.

I agree, you have to go with what feels right to you. I am not sure how you could cut it down though, its great as it is. And as you say you can try it and easily change a few things if you need. I am smelling SUCCESS!!

DebraLSchubert said...

Lilly, Thanks! I hope you're right about the SUCCESS part. I'm going to try it a couple of different ways and see what happens. Thanks so much for stopping by and letting me know what you think. And, again, I'm praying for your friend...

giddymomof6 said...

Ooh! I LOVE The hook at the beginning. It's super fun and cute and draws you in immediately. And you're so right, you have to do what feels good for you, if you followed everyone's advice you wouldn't even have a query left! LOL!

That said LOL! Take or leave this:

The only sentence I stumbled over was this one..

Jenny’s wild rock and roll adventures catapult her and her husband, Nate to the top of the local Denver music scene.

Because of the repeat word HER so close together. It's a minor thing though... maybe change to

Her (or Instantly, or Their) wild rock and roll adventures catapult Jenny and her husband, Nate to the top of the local Denver music scene.

LOL! Just some ideas.. thanks for the kitties! I have a 10 year old who is DYING for them! DYING. She loves cats. Jenni

DebraLSchubert said...

Jenni, I'm with you - that sentence has always thrown me a bit, too. How about "Wild rock and roll adventures catapult Jenny and her husband, Nate to the top of the Denver music scene."??? (And yes, you can tell your 10-year old that the check, I mean cats, are in the mail!)

Kasie West said...

Great job. Your second is much tighter, but you still kept your spunky voice. Good job, and congrats to Jenni on winning.

DebraLSchubert said...

Kasie, Thanks so much - we'll see if I get any nibbles... BTW: I cracked up at the video Jenni posted of your "bloopers." HILARIOUS!! Yup, the kitty trio are on their way to England (lucky them!).

Big Plain V said...

I got here late, but I checked things out and have a couple observations. Mostly good.

I'll email you if you give me your address.

veen.ray@gmail.com

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