Dear [Agent Name], I am writing you because according to _______ you are a big fan of mystery suspense thriller genres featuring average characters in extraordinary circumstances. My 80,000-word novel,
When Bob and Debbie Stevens lose their idyllic jobs, Vague. Just tell us what they did. What's an idyllic job, anyway? And are they hiring? home, and savings, the only opportunity left to rebuild their lives is to open Murcat Manor. I thought they lost their home? Is this a different property? How could they afford it? It's one of the few bed and breakfasts in the region, set on twenty five rural acres in the rolling hills of southwestern Michigan. Legends of curses, ghosts, and nineteen deaths from two burned down houses once occupying the land do not diminish their dreams of raising a family while earning a living. Raising kids in the same house you're running a B&B? Now there's a setup for conflict.
I'm not sure about this as an opening paragraph. You've got some good ideas, and it's certainly not a setting or premise I've come across before, but there's very little sense of CHARACTER, and the inciting incident seems incredibly vague. I would recommend you start with a little more about who Bob and Debbie are before their lives fall apart and their story starts.
But Bob has unforeseen conflicts far beyond his ability to manage. A belligerent mother-in-law who co-signed the three million dollar loan on Murcat Manor wants him to relinquish his interest. Aha! Okay, this is good, see? Specific. Meaty. Something we can sink our teeth into. Thirteen psychotic killer cats, possessed by souls of disembodied daughters of witches hung at the Salem Witch Trials, are killing his guests. Wow! This is crazy, and a little bit ridiculous, but also pretty awesome. I love that it's so unique. Before long, two local detectives want to arrest him for the murders.
Okay ... so. Things are getting weird now, but it's kind of cool. It's hard sometimes to separate a query critique from a story/premise critique, but I'll try to keep myself divorced from focusing too much on the idea of this story.
You do have an interesting and clearly defined CONFLICT getting set up here, though, and that is certainly a requirement of any good query. There are some questions and confusions to work out, like why would disembodied daughters of Witches killed at Salem travel all the way to Michigan to do their haunting, and how exactly do little old cats kill anyone, but that's okay, because you've got the bones of a decent CONFLICT here, and that's the most important fundamental of a query letter.
Thirteen kittens, found in the burned out rubble from the previous farm house, had seemed like the perfect pets to keep their guests company. But the Stevens soon learn these are no ordinary cats, and the cycle of terror and murder begins again with each new wave of guests.
Yeah, so ... this is just weird. But I can't help but kind of like it. Your working title MURCAT MANOR, sounds really tongue-in-cheek, so I was initially thinking this would be some kind of campy/comedy horror or something, but it seems like you intend for it to be a mystery and thriller to be taken seriously. I would recommend you maybe consider a more serious title. Even MURDERCAT MANOR, as silly as that sounds, is a little better (only because the TV SHOW, MEERCAT MANOR, is one of the most adorable things on television).
Murcat Manor will appeal to readers of the mystery, thriller, suspense, and paranormal genres.
Murcat Manor will appeal to fans of Dean Koontz, Stephen King, and Jeffery Deaver.
I don't like either of these, to be honest. I mean they just come off sounding a little lazy. If you're going to compare your work to heavyweights of the industry like this, at least make sure it's clear you know what you're talking about. Compare your manuscript to a specific title, and make it obvious that you know your genre because the title is a logical comparison. Stephen King has several books that might work. CUJO, and PET SEMETARY, for example. I don't know Dean Koontz as well, but the man has written something like a hundred books, so surely there's one that fits.
I have a B.A. in information systems and an MBA in Global Management. Why is your bachelor's degree not capitalized but your master's is? Also, shouldn't an information systems degree, which is a subset of computer science, be a B.S., not a B.A? I'm not doubting you, but it looks weird. With a background in information systems, management, and finance, I can draw from my varied and complex experimental knowledge What is experimental knowledge? to write one of a kind thrillers. Merging science and the supernatural is my specialty.
I wouldn't worry too much about this paragraph because honestly, you should cut it all. If you were querying a manuscript that had hacking or international corporate espionage in it, this stuff might be more relevant, but it's not important to why you are the best writer to tell this story.
I have previously written and published
I write a blog where my focus is science, science fiction, writing, and promoting. Link to your blog. I have also taught at online schools and symposiums. What are the names of them? Link to evidence.
Thank you in advance for your consideration and I look forward to hearing from you soon. I have included the first ten pages. The entire manuscript is available upon request.
Okay, so in summary I think you're off to a good start here. Your middle is pretty strong, and although the beginning and the end need work, they're not a complete mess or anything.
I would recommend you open with a paragraph that introduces a strong sense of CHARACTER first, so that we can care about Bob and root for him in his struggles, before you get to anything about hook, inciting incident, or the subsequent CONFLICT.
Finally, some sense of a sadistic CHOICE would help entice the reader to want to move on to your sample pages. I mean, it's probably easy to infer that the Stevens could decide to try to kill the cats, or sell the B&B, or any number of other options, but if you clarify for us a sense of what they actually choose in the story, if would help this query end on a high note.
What do you all think? Anything I missed? Anything you would add?