Dear Query Shark,
Frederika Frosch, a transfer student from Austria, likes Lee Min Ho. She recently found out that he’s interested in her too.
She likes him, he likes her....so what?
It really helps if there's some inkling of tension, or what's at stake, here in the first paragraph. Set up is great but you have to show the bowling ball heading toward the pins, not just the pins at the end of the bowling alley.
It was three years ago that Freddy first met the transfer student from South Korea. Almost immediately, she managed to leave a lasting impression by soaking his designer shirt in a pool of hot coffee. Needless to say, he wasn’t too happy about it and resorted to ignoring her for the rest of their time at Riverden.
More of the same. She likes him, he likes her, they had a rocky start...so what.
At this point I'm impatient to see stakes.
But there he was, speaking to her, on the first day of the last year of their high school career. Having transformed from thin air into someone Min Ho is apparently interested in, Freddy doesn’t quite trust the new wind that travels through the halls of Riverden. Because in Riverden, California’s International school for the rich and the gifted, you stuck to your own kind. You didn’t intermingle.
Ok. Here's a hint of tension: no intermingling. Except we already know they are going to do that cause without it you don't have a book. What you need here is what bad thing is going to happen if they do intermingle. What worse thing is going to happen if they don't?
When Freddy finds out that Min Ho really likes her, the two of them get closer. Though before they have a chance to start dating, Min Ho’s entire female Asian fan club and its leader, Yoon Joo, start marching against Freddy in every way possible.
"marching against" is a very unusual way to describe what we'd call Mean Girls stuff. It's not unusual in a good way. It's unusual in that it makes me think they're leading protest marches...and that's nonsensical.
Metaphors, similes, comparisons, descriptions need to illuminate the story: make us see behaviour in a new way. This doesn't This is confusing. Confusing is not good.
From abusing her verbally, to making Freddy crash Bernadette, her beloved motorcycle, they have seemingly declared war against her. They even go so far as to involve the rest of Riverden. The school starts to show Freddy that just maybe, in contrast to what she believed at first, people aren’t that tolerable after all. Though Freddy and Min Ho don’t want to listen.
Still no plot. And you don't mean tolerable. You mean tolerant. (At least I think so although my assistant would say people aren't tolerable at all.)
Min Ho is, furthermore, part of the rich in Riverden and priceless to his parents who run several companies back in Seoul. Yoon Joo’s final move is to get the parents involved and Min Ho, shortly afterwards, disappears.
Aha! Here's the first hint of what's at stake. You've spent so long on set up though that I've probably stopped reading the query by now.
Freddy cannot figure out what happened. How can a teenager alone fight against the injustice of a world in which she feels like she doesn’t belong in in the first place, and that wants her to back off from being together with the one person she truly loves?
That second sentence is where I stop reading and send you a form rejection.
While de-puzzling the mystery to Min Ho’s disappearance, Freddy starts to use her talent as a writer and writes a book. The story of a girl and a boy that couldn’t be together.
de-puzzling? Again, that is not a word choice that illuminates anything.
DON’T LOVE is complete at 65,000 words. It is a young adult romance and the first in a potential series of three. I was born in Vienna, Austria, am currently working on finishing my BA in International Studies and Marketing, own an online boutique and eat ice cream for breakfast.
Put your contact info (and a blog is contact info) under your name.
I am guessing that English is one of your languages, and probably not the first. Your command of it is admirable but it's also not publishable yet.
Your time and consideration are greatly appreciated.
You're not ready to query yet if your book is like this query letter. Spend some time with beta readers.
Getting a lot of form rejections won't help you. Invest your time by joining a critique group. It can be of inestimable value to you if only to identify things like "depuzzle" "pool of coffee" "marching against" and the difference between stick and stuck.
Dear Query Shark,
Freddy, short for Frederika, Frog from Vienna, Austria likes Lee Min Ho from Seoul, South Korea. She recently found out that he likes her too. Surprisingly. Because she isn't one of them. She isn't Asian, but Caucasian.
Her name is really Freddy Frog? Really? This makes me wonder if it's an animal fable.
Though as soon as Freddy finds out that he likes her and the two of them have the chance to get closer, Yoon Joo (also from South Korea), together with her puppets of brainless Asian barbie dolls, set out to break them apart. Bono, Freddy's bestest of friends, is thrown into the pool of toxic hearts and tempers when it turns out that he sort of likes Freddy himself.
Riverden is the place of the crime for passion. The most popular high school in Orange County, California. Made especially for the rich and the gifted.
If all the action is taking place in the OC why are you mentioning Austria and South Korea?
Although Freddy's still only a teenager she knows what she is and what she is not. She isn't one of the rich kids like Lee Min Ho, but one of the gifted ones. She's also not a person that gives up easily, least of all the boy she has grown to love. A writer is what she is. And this is her story. The story of a girl and a boy.
I'm with you right up to here. The rhythm is a little bumpy and there are too many characters, but I'm not looking for flaws in a query letter. I'm looking for a good story. Right up to now, I'm with you.
But, dear agent, you see this isn't your average love story. This story has a purpose unlike any other and that's why Freddy needs you to publish this book. She needs you to publish it, because this will be the only way she'll find him again. Reach out to him. Her impossible love. Through this book. Through words that are so powerful that they will spread across nations and ignite generations.
Through telling their story Freddy can show him that she still loves him. The guy she has recently lost. The guy named Lee Min Ho. Min Ho from South Korea.
And right here you go splat. And not just sort of. BIG FAT SPLAT.
For starters, I don't publish books. That's the publisher.
For seconders, what the hell does this even mean?
This is like breaking the fourth wall in theatre and talking to the audience. Don't do it. Just tell me what the book is about. Don't plead with me. Yuckola.
You have the set up but no plot. The plot is NOT publish this book.
For thirders: this isn't your average love story is telling me not showing me what the book is about.
DON'T LOVE or THE ART OF KILLING YOUR BABY is complete at 65,000 words. It is a young adult romance and the first in a potential series of three. I was born in Vienna, Austria, am currently working on finishing my BA in International Studies and Marketing, own an online boutique and eat ice cream for breakfast. For more information check out my blog (blog info)
This is the worst title of all time. That is not the category you want to be in let alone win.
Yes publishers change titles so you don't need to obsess over getting it exactly right but you want one that doesn't make me actively wonder if you have lost your grip on reality.
Your time and consideration are greatly appreciated.
This is a classic example of veering right off the rails, over the cliff, under the water, and out to sea.
This is a form rejection with the title now heading the list of examples of what not to do.