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Author: Subject: All I get is form rejections - please help
Ken
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[*] posted on 11/24/2010 at 10:36 AM
All I get is form rejections - please help


I've been sending out my query package without any success. Guess it is time to come back and ask for some more help with my query. Below is my latest updated version. In this version, I've attempted to first introduce my main character and then provide my hook. Please tell me what you think.

Dear Ms.

Colleagues of archaeologist Nora Mathews consider her an adventuress, lacking the necessary discipline of the profession, but she thrives on fieldwork and the exhilaration of discovery. Her renowned grandfather kindled her enthusiasm for the field when she was in her early teens. After nearly twenty years of excavating all over the world, she has suffered two failed digs. She feels compelled to discover something soon or face the dreaded alternative of returning to the classroom.

Nora has no idea she’s digging into danger when she attempts to unearth a shipwreck claimed by the ancient Carthaginian Cult of Tanit. Impossible as it sounds, priceless scrolls rescued from the Library at Alexandria, as it burned in 48 BC, may exist in the shipwreck buried in what was once the seaport of Ephesus. The Cult believes the scrolls belong to them. They’ll let Nora do all the work, but will use any tactics, even murder, to take them back.

Nora’s resolve weakens with the discovery of her colleague’s body. The only clue to the murder is the sign of the cult drawn in blood. Believing this is proof the scrolls exist, Nora cautiously continues the work. When an assault almost causes the death of another team member, Nora enlists the aid of her boyfriend Bill Johnson, an ex-CIA agent, to deflect the cult’s escalating attacks. Abandoning the dig now could kill what’s left of her tattered career but continuing the effort may hold an even bigger price: her life.

My enthusiasm for archaeology has led me to excavations in Egypt, Israel, Greece, Italy, Spain, France, Turkey, and especially at Ephesus and Carthage, providing valuable background for THE CARTHAGE CONNECTION, an 83,000-word action adventure.

In accordance with your submission requirements, I have included my synopsis and the first chapter.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,




Ken,
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Nancy G.
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[*] posted on 11/24/2010 at 11:40 AM


Ken, that IS your synopsis. Most guides to query letters say one short paragraph 'I am submitting to you because you -------' represent Mr. x whose novels attract readers of ------, any explaination of why you chose to submit to that particular agent. Second short paragraph with a one or two sentence 'hook', a blurb like you would find on the back of the book. Third paragraph about you, anything you've published, relevant organizations (RWA, etc) your job if it relates to the subject of the book, etc.
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Michy
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[*] posted on 11/24/2010 at 11:53 AM


Ken, I'll be back with something later today - I'm in the middle of editing a book for pub today - but I'll get to this. I actually have the perfect idea in my head for it.

Mostly, though, you're query is all wrong - it doesn't grab me, doesn't have the necessary info, and gives information we don't need to know.

I'll work with you on it later today.

IN the meantime, how many agents have you queried?




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Michy
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Do just once what others say you can't do, and you will never pay attention to their limitations again." James R. Cook

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Ken
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[*] posted on 11/24/2010 at 01:11 PM


I am looking forward to reading your suggestions. I have a feeling you are going to tell me to dump the first paragraph - which is fine with me. In fact, I've already removed it and made a number of additional modification, below.

Actually this is the second story in a series I am working on. The first is finished and I have gotten a request on it for a full. After 7 weeks it was rejected. For this story I have sent and been rejected by about 60 agents.

----------------

Dear Ms.

Archaeologist Nora Mathews has no idea she’s digging into danger when she attempts to unearth a shipwreck she learns is claimed by the ancient Carthaginian Cult of Tanit. Priceless scrolls rescued from the Library at Alexandria, as it burned in 48 BC, may exist in the shipwreck buried in what was once the seaport of Ephesus. The Cult believes the scrolls belong to them. They’ll let Nora do all the work, but will use any tactics, even murder, to take them back.

Nora’s resolve to unearth the treasure is nearly destroyed with the discovery of her colleague’s body. The only clue to the murder is the sign of the cult drawn in the dead man’s blood. Believing this is proof the scrolls exist, Nora apprehensively continues the work. When an assault by a knife wielding cult member almost causes the death of another team member, Nora enlists the aid of her boyfriend Bill Johnson, an ex-CIA agent, to deflect the cult’s escalating attacks. Abandoning the dig now could kill what’s left of her tattered career but continuing the effort may hold an even bigger price: her life.

My amateur interest in archaeology has led me to excavations in Egypt, Israel, Greece, Italy, Spain, France, Turkey, and especially at Ephesus and Carthage, providing valuable background for THE CARTHAGE CONNECTION, an 83,000-word action adventure.

In accordance with your submission requirements, I have included my synopsis and the first chapter.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,


[Edited on 11/24/2010 by Ken]




Ken,
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Michy
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[*] posted on 11/24/2010 at 01:40 PM


(nodding) that was my very first suggestion, so you already knew in your gut it didn't belong there!

I'll be back - still buzzing on this editing, but I won't forget ya.

In the meantime, you want me to move this behind the password?

I'll move it to the critique forum, and the password to get in there is: password




Love and stuff,
Michy
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Do just once what others say you can't do, and you will never pay attention to their limitations again." James R. Cook

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[*] posted on 11/24/2010 at 07:47 PM


just in case you are wondering why Michy asked if you want to move it- that way it won't show up in searches, whereas if you leave the post here it will come up if someone googles it.

You said this is the second in a series. Does it stand alone? If the first is never published, would it matter? I'm asking because you shouldn't query a second book of the series- it should be the first. Unless it is it's own complete book- but then you shouldn't say it is a second in a series.

Did the agent give you any good feedback you can use for the first book?

Your latest version is already worlds better than the original.




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Michy
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[*] posted on 11/25/2010 at 04:22 AM


Waiting to hear from you about moving it before I respond - I don't want to move it and then you not be able to find it!



Love and stuff,
Michy
~~Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations~~


Do just once what others say you can't do, and you will never pay attention to their limitations again." James R. Cook

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Ken
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[*] posted on 11/25/2010 at 09:29 AM


Quote: Originally posted by itzrissa2u  
just in case you are wondering why Michy asked if you want to move it- that way it won't show up in searches, whereas if you leave the post here it will come up if someone googles it.

You said this is the second in a series. Does it stand alone? If the first is never published, would it matter? I'm asking because you shouldn't query a second book of the series- it should be the first. Unless it is it's own complete book- but then you shouldn't say it is a second in a series.

Did the agent give you any good feedback you can use for the first book?

Your latest version is already worlds better than the original.


Although I feel both stories (and a future one I am currently researching) can stand alone with no problem, I think they can be considered a series since the main characters are the same and the plot is similar in that it is based on an archaeological discovery.

With regard to the history of my one request for a full -

On 07/20, I sent a query on my first story to an agent with my synopsis. On 08/24 I received a request for the first 40 pages. On 09/13, I received a request for the complete manuscript. On 11/16, I received a rejection with no real explaination. In part the rejection said "Though intrigued by some aspects of your manuscript, we were not sufficiently enthusiastic to consider representation. I’m afraid XXX’s overcrowded development schedule does not allow us to offer you more editorial commentary at this time."

I hope I can believe that the rejection is based more on the content of my story than a rejection of my writing capability, although the lack of a more detailed explanation leaves this question unanswered.

[Edited on 11/25/2010 by Ken]




Ken,
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Ken
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[*] posted on 11/25/2010 at 09:31 AM


Quote: Originally posted by Michy  
Waiting to hear from you about moving it before I respond - I don't want to move it and then you not be able to find it!


Sorry I did not get back to you sooner.

Yes, please move my thread.

Please tell me exactly where to look.


By the way - I have been going over my query and decided to make some major modifications. Please let me know what you think.

Dear Ms.

Archaeologist Nora Mathews finds the possibility of recovering the greatest secrets of the ancient world too fantastic to ignore. She believes scrolls, rescued from the library at Alexandria as it burned in 48 BC, are buried in a shipwreck. At the risk of being branded a treasure hunter, Nora is determined to unearth what may be the find of a lifetime. She and her team quickly set about excavating the boat in the ancient seaport of Ephesus. They have no idea they’re being observed by a mysterious cult that believes the priceless scrolls rightfully belong to them.

When the cult learns Nora is about to drag the treasure from the wreck they begin a campaign to retrieve the scrolls. Break-ins, blackmail, abductions, car chases, even murder are not enough to scare off the passionate archaeologist. What began as an exciting excavation has become an almost manic quest for the lost knowledge of the ancient world. However, Nora is running out of time and courage, and forces herself to face the alternatives. After two unsuccessful digs, her reputation cannot stand another failure. She must decide whether to risk her life to continue the undertaking or give up the career-making discovery.

THE CARTHAGE CONNECTION is a thriller complete at 87,000 words.

In accordance with your submission requirements, I have included my synopsis below.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

[Edited on 12/15/2010 by Ken]




Ken,
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