Posted in Romance on March 14th, 2006 by Cynthia Eden
Yesterday’s post on Romancingtheblog was about synopsis how-to. There were several helpful links on synopsis writing, and a good discussion ensued.
However, in my nice, humble little opinion, I think that–in terms of catching an editor’s attention–you need a really strong query–and then you need to follow that query up with a powerful synopsis.
So…I’m going to talk about queries today. I really like writing queries–I have a simple formula that I use and my formula has worked pretty well for me so far. Here are my query steps:
- Begin with a nice greeting (Dear whoever).
- Go into the story hook. At this point, I usually insert about 2-3 paragraphs of strong, descriptive story material–kind of like what you’d see on the back cover jacket of a book.
- It’s the wind-up! I write a one paragraph summary stating the technical facts of the manuscript. For example: Shane and Mckenna’s (ficitional characters) story is told in my 90,000 word manuscript, Stolen Hearts. Stolen Hearts is a fast-paced paranormal tale of love, adventure, and danger. It is targeted for the Sega Genesis line (yeah, um, here you’d fill in whatever line you’re targeting).
- All about me! In this paragraph, I summarize my writing credentials–you know, publishing credits, membership affiliations, etc. I don’t put in personal info here–I try to be as professional as possible.
- Thank you very much! I end with a nice thank you–I mean, come on, the editor has just gone through all the trouble of reading my query. She deserves a thank you–even is she thought my query sucked.
So, that’s it. My Five Simple Steps for a Query. And, just so you can see my query steps in action, here’s the actual query I sent to my Red Sage editor for Bite of the Wolf:
(Note: I’m just writing Dear Editor for my greeting b/c I want to protect my editor’s privacy–but if this letter were really going to someone, I’d darn well have the actual editor’s name in place. Editors like to know you’ve researched the publishing house enough to know their names.)
Werewolves mate for life. And Gareth Morlet, alpha werewolf and leader of the strongest pack in the world, has finally found his mate. Gareth will not let anything stop him from claiming his woman–not the rogue wolf who is on her trial and certainly not his mate’s own fear.
Trinity Martin is a modern woman. She doesn’t believe in superstitions, magic, and certainly not werewolves! Or at least, she didn’t believe in them…until a werewolf abducted her. Now, the gorgeous wolf known as Gareth has told her that she’s his mate. And she doesn’t know if she should be terrified by that news…or thrilled.
With every moment that she spends with Gareth, Trinity’s self-control weakens. Her hunger for him soon knows no bounds. And as their passion grows, the evil stalking them grows closer and closer. Trinity knows that if she and Gareth are to defeat the monster hunting them, then she will have to accept the Bite of the Wolf.
Trinity and Gareth’s story is told in my novella, Bite of the Wolf. Bite of the Wolf is a sensuous paranormal story. It contains approximately 23,000 words.
Recently, I sold my novella, Never Enough, to your company. Also, I have sold two paranormal romances to ImaJinn Books. My first paranormal romance, The Vampire’s Kiss, is available now. (It was the 1st place winner in the 2003 San Francisco Heart to Heart competition.) The Vampire’s Kiss has received many great reviews, including a 5 star review from Coffee Time Romance, a 5 star review from eCataRomance, and a 5 star review from www.gottawritenetwork.com. I am a current member of the Romance Writers of America, and I belong to the RWA special interest chapter–Futuristic, Fantasy, and Paranormal Romance Writers of America. Additionally, I have joined RWA’s Published Authors Network.
I have included a partial manuscript with this query. If you would like to view the complete manuscript for Bite of the Wolf, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you very much for your time and consideration.