Alix Luvbochic’s back from Afghanistan and she's traded in Marine ops work for Hollywood security. There’s good money in foiling paparazzi.
This is a great opening line that has me eager to read more.
Her big break comes from Sunny, engaged to an A-lister. The more wedding prep Alix does, however, the more she worries. Turns out the groom likes to sit in an egg-chair dangling off a cliff. Its hook is rigged to occasionally detach. His first wife sat there ‘til she dropped.
And then it goes splat. Almost an entire 180 from "yes I want to read this" to WTF?
First: "wedding prep" sounds like what a wedding planner does. And I don't associate wedding planners with Marine ops (although....there's an idea!)
And then "likes to sit in an egg-chair dangling off a cliff." I had to look up egg-chair, but it turns out I've seen plenty of them, just not hanging off cliffs. And the visual just doesn't make sense. I'm confused now. That's a very very bad thing in a query letter.
And the logic of the problem of the groom sitting in a device that killed his first wife eludes me totally.
My interest in reading on has dropped from 100% to zero.
Unfortunately, Sunny doesn’t find a taste for Russian roulette, furniture edition, reason enough to cancel. She can’t be in it for the money, Alix thinks. The pre-nup’s so tight Sunny’d get more down on the corner with a cup.
Russian roulette, furniture edition is utterly hilarious. And that's the problem. You've got what looks like a terrific premise and some really great lines, but there's the confusing stuff. I look at that and think "I'm going to be editing a lot if I take this on." That's not a good thing.
Sunny’s found another angle, though. Wedding pics are worth a bundle to the tabloids and Sunny’s cut a deal. Her pap gets the shots, then she speed-dials for divorce.
So, she's marrying the guy for the wedding pictures, even though he appears to be have homicidal furniture? That's pretty cold...I love it.
That’s enough for Alix. It’s a tough decision--the money’s great--but she signed on to screw the paparazzi, not to sneak them in. Besides, it’s cruel to the groom, however weird he is.
And I like this too.
Then she finds out why Sunny needs the money. Now she feels terrible. And the groom’s not taking humiliation well. Forget the paparazzi--it’ll take all her training to stop the second bride from ending up as splattered as the first.
Ok, I surrender. You've got me. In the preceding paragraph my sympathies weren't with Sunny; now they are. I like that. It's enticing. It makes me want to read more. That's the sole goal of a query: entice me to read the book.
The Bride Bit Back is suspense, complete at 82K. My stories have appeared in (redacted), (redacted), (redacted), and the (redacted), anthology.
I'd read pages, and if they were really really good, I'd read the full.
This query isn't perfect. In fact, it's got some serious problems, BUT it's enticing. That's all a query letter really has to be. Get that part right and you can screw up on almost every other thing and still get your pages read.
But, and here's the problem, almost every agent I know is trying to do less editing rather than more.
Investing edit time in a ms is a good decision IF you know you're going to get serious money for it. Right now serious money is in commercial thrillers, hot YA urban fantasy and big-ass non-fiction.
For a book like this, editing isn't the difference between $5K and $50K; it's the difference between unsold and $12.5K . The commission on $12.5K is $1,875 paid out over the course of probably six months.
It doesn't make much sense to spend a lot of time editing for that kind of money particularly if I know, as I do, that I can probably find something ELSE to sell for $12.5K that doesn't require the editing.
The less time I need to invest in something before it's publishable, the better.
So, fix that second paragraph, make sure you have a ms that's as polished as you can, and you're off to the races.