Queries are the hardest challenge for a writer. Check out my post on what is a query and how to write one. Once again remember that the query shark’s site is a huge resource to learn how to hone the skill of querying. Only because this is a query, I made an exception and stretched to 300 words (the author asked for permission to do this).
Twenty five year old Azeriah is one of the few of a race called humans in all of the world of Harcinth. He is an amateur swordsman, but never finds the use for martial weaponry until he is thrust in with a hooded stranger’s travelling band of misfits. Azeriah finds himself caught up with a creature made of wind, a fox-man old and wise enough to be his ancestor, even a shapeshifter who can’t remember her true form or identity- just to name a few.
To his comrades, Azeriah is a good soldier who doesn’t know he is a good soldier. Azeriah finds strengths he never imagined as he gains the trust and attention of his new allies against enemies he had hoped never to encounter. Not without his flaws, a well-concealed addiction runs through his veins to kalemnimi- a crystalline structure that triggers intense reactive memories from the user’s past. Azeriah’s addiction is justified as a “release”, but also ends up helping him to search through clues in his own past to help his friends and allies.
Azeriah’s dilemma forces itself upon the reader through the hafrem, a race of conscious shadows that threaten the natural order of Harcinth. Can Azeriah and his company strike back against an extraplanar force of destruction without losing themselves in the process? Can Azeriah trust himself with an increased need for a substance whose side effects are starting to overpower the benefits of their use? Find out as this group of strangers become the Bloodstone.
My name is Ethan Samuel. Bloodstone is a 399 page, 100,000 plus word fantasy novel that follows Azeriah, Yu’Din, Esperre, I’mun, Romis, and Vox around the world of Harcinth.
- Cool world!
- Cool names!
- I love the idea of discussing addiction in a supernatural world
- Be as brief as possible, this is way too long. We know what humans are. We also know your name as it will be n the signature at the bottom of your query.
- Only tease the agent, don’t add useless details about the plot that become only confusing in such a short space. Your query has to be PERFECT: short, enticing, and well written
- Focus on your main character. You throw in some nine characters in 300 words. In most cases, just their name. Why should the agent care?
- The correct way to write ages is a twenty-five-year-old, which does not look pretty. You could have an agent who hates hyphens or a grammar freak. Avoid possible pet peeves. I reworded it, but do you really need the age? Maybe Young Azeriah will do?
- In American, the correct spelling is travelling (one L). If you are sending in the US beware of words that are spelled differently in UK and US (neighbor, color, etc…)
- I was very confused. Keep sentences simple and say only what you need. Put the conflict right at the beginning. I got lost in shifters and magic before I realized this was a story about addiction. Is it? State what makes your story special! If it’s addiction in a supernatural world that’s terrific, but make it clear right away!
- State right away why you chose that specific agent. Agents receive about 100 queries a day. Some don’t even click them open, they just glance at the preview window. Catch their eye!
- Be clear! A band of misfits? What do they do? Are they mercenaries? Why are they fighting? For their survival?
- Why would anyone hope to find enemies?
- Avoid questions
- 100,000 words plus is a huge red flag! This tells me (and the agent) that you have NOT finished your novel. No one likes a draft. Check out this post on word counts. It is mandatory that your work is finished, polished and ready to go. Number of words equates to printing cost. In your genre (fantasy) the word count is flexible, but I would keep 100,000 as the highest mark. Big books from first time authors are hard to sell
- Never state number of pages. This is a rookie mistake. Number of words tells them everything they need to know
- The biggest mistake you could make it to query your book too soon. Write it, read it and edit it several times. Send it to beta-readers and go to writers’ groups. Let it sit for two months, then start querying. If you query too soon you’ll burn through agents because of silly reasons like the 100,000 words plus. Take your time. It took you sweat and blood to write, give it your best chance, don’t rush it!
- The title of your novel is all caps, to make it easy to spot
- Why throwing in some characters names in at the end of your query? I don’t know who they are and I am confused about the main topic of the book
- State why you are specially qualified to write this book
MY OVERALL OPINION
Queries are the hardest thing ever, craft and hone, edit and shave, parse and brainstorm. Feel free to resubmit after you edit!
I trimmed quite a bit. This is now 169 words, almost half of what you had. As usual, keep whatever you like and ditch the rest. It’s your baby :)
Since you represent the Boogie Man and his dystopian novel dealing with PTSD, I think you will also enjoy my work.
At twenty-five, Azeriah is one of the few humans left in the world of Harcinth. Addicted to kalemnimi, a crystalline structure that triggers intense reactive memories from the user’s past, he finds his own place in a band of mercenary misfits, from shapeshifters to animal hybrids, who value his swordsman skills much more then he does.
When the gang becomes involved in a war against the hafrem, a race of conscious shadows that threaten the natural order of Harcinth, Azeriah’s insights into the past become a secret weapon against the enemy. To help his friends Azeriah will have to exorcise his own demons and manage not to lose himself to the dark side of kalemnimi in the process.
BLOODSTONE is a 105,000 word fantasy novel focusing on friendship and addiction. I am a Nobel laureate for literature who has struggled with drug addiction for many years.
Thank you for your time. Sincerely,
(real) First and Last name
I hope this helped ^_^
Wanna have feedback on your own work?
1-E-mail me at gaia.b.amman at gmail.com and write as your object “200 words blog”. Then paste in the e-mail the first 200 words of your work. Send it anytime, I will post my edit when I can :) Why only two hundred words? You need to engage your reader within 100!
2-Specify the length of the entire work (either because you have it or an estimate will do, for example you could say this will be a novel or flash fiction)
3-I will share my opinion and editing of your work on the blog. This type of post will be titled “My edit”. I will leave comments open so we can start a conversation :)
4-As a rule, I will leave your work anonymous so you don’t feel on the spot, but if you are brave let me know and I’ll leave your name on it
5-No poetry! I’m in no way qualified to criticize it. I can only enjoy it :)
6-I will ignore messages that don’t comply. Please be nice to me and everyone else :)