Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Assisted Rejection

Back from my vacation working on dad's house. I think I'll post another query:

May 11th, 2009


I am writing to you seeking representation for my young-adult fantasy-adventure/commercial-fiction crossover novel which has the working title, Warrior-Monks, and is complete at approximately 475,000 words. The sequel, which is untitled, currently exists only in outline form. I am including a synopsis as well as the introduction/prologue chapter of the book because that is what The REDACTED Agency website asks for.

Ugh. I can't believe I called it a "young-adult fantasy-adventure/commercial-fiction crossover novel". Even if such a thing existed (it doesn't) there would have to be a better way to put it. Preferably just let the hook and plot described in the query grab the agent, then she can figure out the genre bending premise for herself.

I am writing to you because you are recommended by the website Predators and Editors and because I've read your blog post on REDACTED from March 2nd detailing what you are looking for and I feel that Warrior Monks is an ideal fit. I am very happy for Stephanie Meyer and I wish her continued success but when I tried to read Twilight after my daughter finished it I was only able to get about three fourths of the way through the first volume. I suppose it just was not written for me. Warrior-Monks is a fantasy novel in that it incorporates a bit of magic and a lot of mysticism but it is definitely not cliche. The protagonist is a troubled young man who is humble and lonely and is honestly based on my own awkward days as a teenager in many ways. There are no vampires, werewolves or wizards in Warrior Monks, but there are some mysterious old Asian Gurus who teach the characters some incredibly unique things and put a new twist on the idea of young-adult fantasy. Most of the book takes place in the Idaho Panhandle, but there are urban sections and the sequel will be including much more of this kind of thing. I have lived in Seattle, Minneapolis, Boston, and Atlanta and I have a love for the concrete jungle and the teeming culture that is cities.

Wow. I'm not sure why I thought this was a good idea at the time. Well the agent's blog did say how much she disliked Twilight, so I guess I was trying to go with that, and what I wrote is true, but don't ever compare your work to a published author's by disparaging their work like this, even if you do it nicely. It makes you look like an idiot and an egomaniac at the same time.

The second party of the paragraph is okay but the hook is weak. I should have started the query here.

I love Eastern Cultures and the many art forms they incorporate such as – Martial Arts, Calligraphy, Japanese Swords, and the Tea Ceremony as well as all the traditions and high level of art that go into them. I also love Magic and Fantasy and Eastern Religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, and Taoism. Warrior-Monks incorporates all of these themes in a fantastic way which has never been done in young adult fantasy to my knowledge.

This is okay, and as you have seen I used it a lot. However, it is completely unnecessary. Hook the agent on the story, plot, and character(s) and why they should care.

I have never been published but I am confident that many authors like Christopher Paolini and Brunonia Barry have proved that you do not have to be a highly experienced or best-selling author to write an incredibly entertaining book. I also do have some personal qualifications to write this story. For example my own mother died when I was eleven years old and I was then sent to live with a cruel aunt and uncle and eventually did end up at a reform school in Northern Idaho which although strange, was not nearly as fascinating as the place in which my characters find themselves within this book.

I think I did this because the agent asked for why you would be qualified to write the story. I'm not sure if that is true but if so I imagine she probably handles non-fiction as well and was referring to that. This kind of drivel is never necessary when seeking representation for fiction.

Please feel free to reply to this email, or to call me on my mobile phone at any time at 206-555-1212, or even to write to me at home at:


Thank you for your consideration of this proposal. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Matthew M. Rush



Her reply:

Dear Matthew,

Thank you for submitting your query to The REDACTED Agency. While your proposal shows merit, I'm afraid it's not right for us. As I'm sure you know, this is a very subjective business, and no doubt another agent will feel differently. Best of luck in your writing career.

Best wishes,

Clearly form rejection. However, I did like and appreciate the honesty of admitting it was the assistant who replied, we can also assume it was the assistant who read and therefore rejected the query. I can say with confidence that they probably sent the form rejection after reading the clunky genre and the word count. Hell with that awkward genre description they may not have even needed the word count to form reject.

In hindsight it does make me feel a little better that she probably never read the chapter.


JE said...

Can I say that your query has improved significantly since you first started? I really like the one you started on Bransforums.

P.S. I gave you an award on my blog yesterday. A fun one too ;-)

Matthew MacNish said...

Ooh, thanks Justine, I'll go check it out.

About the queries, thanks again. I've started the blog with all of the worst from way back when, sort of to get them out of the way, but thanks for noticing that the new one is much better. Soon enough I'll put up some of the ones that earned requests.