1) I know Shark Rules state housekeeping goes at the end. And I know my first paragraph goes completely against that. But it seems to be exactly what this particular agent is asking for on their website. And I know they're looking for thrillers. Should I still follow Shark Rules?
2) A friend who directed an Oscar-nominated movie has suggested I query this agent. The movie was adapted from a book by an author who is repped by this agent. A lot of the agent's clients have had their books made into movies and apparently that's important to them. My friend is up for helping me adapt my novel into a screenplay. Does that carry any weight? Does anyone give a rat's behind?
Dear Query Shark:
(Movie director), screenwriter and director of (Oscar-nominated movie), suggested I query you since you represent (author whose book was made into the movie).
Never tell an agent what you think they'll like.
It's like saying "this is funny" before telling a joke.
Half the fun for us is the sense of discovery.
It's one thing to mention the connection you have to the agent in the first paragraph. Don't go overboard by putting all that other info there as well.
It was supposed to be a routine job for Jet Morgan and his ex-girlfriend Maggie. Recover a Mayan artifact that holds the key to a billion dollars in gold from a pyramid in Belize. Then smuggle it past the drug dealers into Panama. But then
If you put the name Nathaniel Lynch first, we don't know who he his.
If you let us know he's Jet's old boss FIRST, then, it has a connection to what we've read, and it makes sense. This is flow. It's making sure your reader doesn't stop and think "huh?"
I hate artifact-driven plots with a passion, but that's just me.
(I did manage to watch all the Indiana Jones movies without any trouble at all.)
Lynch stole Ultra Top Secret U.S. naval plans for Sea Blade, an unprecedented new class of submarine, and sold them to Taiwan. Now he needs Jet, once the CIA's top covert operative, to steal them back and stop the invasion. And to skip the 'being killed for treason' part, he'll need the artifact to personally finance the unsanctioned mission.
Well, this is actually a rather good use for an artifact.
The mere thought of killing Lopez calls to Jet like a needle to the vein calls to a trembling junkie. But pulling the trigger on that fix could backfire on him. Helping a traitor like Lynch is suicide.
It's very easy to throw too much into a query.
You only need to entice me read the pages, not tell me about all of the plot points in Act One.
Put the word count, and other housekeeping items here.
Start with the interesting stuff.
You don't need the creds for your blurbers. If I know them, I already know it. If I don't I google.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
You can break the rules all you want, but it helps to understand WHY they are rules first. Putting the housekeeping stuff at the end is a rule because it forces you to put the story first.
Thus, putting something ahead of the story is ok, but you know to keep it to a minimum; just the info that will boost your chances of the agent reading the query.
Early interest from someone about the screenplay is great, but you're querying an agent about selling a book. "Interest from Hollywood" doesn't help sell a book; we know how nebulous that is.
"Optioned for film" is better, and "started principal photography yesterday" better yet. In other words, the closer you are to actually getting something made, the more it will help.
Right now it's all hot air. The reason you DON'T include it is that if you do, an agent is likely to think you don't understand how nebulous it is.