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Covers, Blurbs, 1st Line, Query > Query Feedback for Contemporary Mystery

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message 1: by Austin (new)

Austin Gaylord | 8 comments Hello everyone, the query is below. I'm open to any and all feedback on this. I would like to make it the best possible letter it can be.

Thank you for reading.

P.S. Keith, if you're reading this, I just wanted to thank you for all the wonderful feedback you gave me on this book back in March. It's gone through many revisions since then and I think I've finally found a market for it so I just wanted to thank you. I really appreciate it.


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Dear [Agent name],

After seeing your manuscript wish list, I felt I should query you with my 100,000 word Contemporary Mystery entitled THE DILEMMA OF SANITY.

31-year old Alyssa Yorrick is a private detective, and she blames herself for her sister’s depression. Her new partner James exhibits many of the same characteristics her sister does. However, James is not the man he seems. Soon enough, she unveils something more twisted than she could have ever imagined. This discovery calls into question everything she stands for and illuminates the fine line between lunacy and lucidity. Can Alyssa save James and her sister from themselves before it’s too late? Or will the darkness inside her new partner devour everything she’s ever loved?

This is my debut novel. When I’m not writing, I enjoy looking at corgis and spending time with my friends and family.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerest Regards,

Austin Gaylord


message 2: by Keith (new)

Keith Oxenrider (mitakeet) | 1166 comments Hey Austin! Thanks for the kind words.

Regarding your query, your blurb is on the 'too short' end of the supposed sweet spot of 100-150 words (yours is 94). I think you need to give the reader some aspect of the mystery, in order to draw them in.

Some technical notes: always write out numbers up to around a thousand and always if they are the beginning of the sentence. You need white space to break up your blurb, a solid block is usually a visual turnoff. Delete the whole 'this is my debut' paragraph. A bio is only necessary when it describes some element about yourself that will make it easier to sell books.

You need comps, to give the agent/publisher an idea of where your book would shelve in the store. Well-known (hence profitable), but not famous. Fun, eh?

I tweaked your blurb here, but think you are better off giving it some more depth.

Good luck!



Thirty-one year old Alyssa Yorrick is a private detective who blames herself for her sister’s depression.

Then her new partner, James, begins to exhibit many of the same characteristics her sister does. However, nothing is simple.

As she learns about James, she unveils something more twisted than she could have ever imagined. Now she must question everything she stands for and learn to live the fine line between lunacy and lucidity.

Can Alyssa save James and her sister from themselves before it’s too late? Or will the darkness inside her new partner devour everything she’s ever loved?


message 3: by Austin (new)

Austin Gaylord | 8 comments Keith, thank you very much for the feedback! This really helps!


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