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Covers, Blurbs, 1st Line, Query > Adult Fantasy Query

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message 1: by Mari (new)

Mari | 23 comments Hello, everyone. It seems I can no longer see my pitch, after adjusting it for three days straight. I'm in sore need of assistance. Thanks to anyone who will respond with advice of any kind!

**
Storm Crow has embarked on the greatest undertaking of the century—the missionary expedition to Yarconen, last stronghold of pagan beliefs. His people’s cause is to unite the world under the creed of the Lady, one true Goddess of creation.

Crow is the High Priest’s interpreter—one of the best, though far from overflowing with diplomatic finesse. To him, existential boredom and a mouth-watering salary were good enough reasons.

Until the Lady’s holiest man murders the sacred children of the pagan gods.

Divine wrath shatters upon the missionaries. Crow and a handful of survivors—and a goat—become the targets of an otherworldly rampage that destroys everything in their wake. Their only guide is Eri, irritable pagan priestess, determined to get them home alive and avert war. A priestess whose eyes see more than they should, and who has a way to get under Crow’s skin.

Hunted down by gods real and false, men and nature itself, Crow begins to realize that something unholy has taken root in his mind. Something he can’t outrun.

And just as well he can’t. For a god’s madness consumes the world, and he alone can stop it.

A SPIDER'S DESIGN, at 111.000 words, is an Adult Fantasy about flaws and mistakes, of both gods and men, and about the decent stuff that hides underneath.

I live in Tuscany, Italy, where I majored in Japanese, linguistics and mediation. Currently one of those “unemployed young people”. Hobbies include competing in ten-hours-long, grueling horseback races and drawing maps of places that don’t exist.


message 2: by Keith (new)

Keith Oxenrider (mitakeet) | 1166 comments Hey Mari,

Your blurb is 'too long' at 193 words when the supposed sweet spot is 100-150.

I trimmed it down a little (169 words):


Storm Crow, the High Priest’s interpreter, has embarked on the greatest undertaking of the century: a missionary expedition to Yarconen, last stronghold of pagan beliefs.

Crow isn’t into religion himself, instead it’s existential boredom and a mouth-watering salary that drove him to take the position. His Priest’s cause is to unite the world under the creed of the Lady, one true Goddess of creation.

And then the Lady’s holiest man murders the sacred children of the pagan gods.

Divine wrath hammers down on the missionaries. Crow and survivors become the targets of an otherworldly rampage that destroys everything. Their only guide is Eri, irritable pagan priestess. Eri’s eyes see more than they should, and her most innocuous comments have a way to get under Crow’s skin.

Hunted by gods real and false, men, and nature itself, Crow realizes something unholy has taken root in his mind. Something he can’t outrun.

And just as well he can’t. For a god’s madness consumes the world, and he alone can stop it.



You're missing 'comps' or comparable books. Ideally ones that have sold well, without being famous.

You're final paragraph is cute, and might appeal to an agent or might turn them off. I think it might have more impact if you say (assuming it's true, as I believe it is), "I'm a native of Tuscany, Italy..." as that makes it clear you're at least tri-lingual. As cute as it is, I really don't think mentioning you're unemployed gets you anything at all, though your hobbies might.

Also, be sure to personalize each communication. It can be a single sentence, but the point is to show you've done your homework and it's reasonable to think you're novel will appeal to the agent's interests.

Good luck!


message 3: by Mari (new)

Mari | 23 comments Hi Keith, thanks for the reply!
The Shark and most other agents blogs set the sweet spot at 250, I was thinking it was too short instead lol

Also, I was worried that not much of the stakes transpired in this version. What do you think?

I don't have comps. Everyone agrees that if you're going to put something just for the sake of filling the space and mess up, you might as well not put them. I honestly have no ideas for the comps as of now

Thanks for the heads up about the unemployment thing. Since I didn't write what my job currently is and they were thus going to figure out I was unemployed on their own, I thought I might as well make it cute but it's probably wasted breath


message 4: by Keith (new)

Keith Oxenrider (mitakeet) | 1166 comments Hey now, you've outted my secret identity!

I believe the whole query is supposed to be around 250 words, which includes the personalization, bio, comps, etc.

The problem with no comps is you've made it harder for an agent to sell your novel to a publisher. Everyone is busy, so they use the comps as a shorthand way of evaluating the potential. If you can't figure out where you're novel should be shelved in the bookstore, then the agent/publisher may not want to gamble their time on reading your novel.

I'm pretty sure no one in the publishing industry cares what your 'day' job is, unless it's somehow relevant to the novel under consideration. Meaning, if you're a coroner and are writing murder mysteries, then it's probably something they'd like to know, but if you're a computer programmer (and your murder mystery doesn't bring in any of that knowledge), they probably aren't interested. Think of the bio section as things that can help the agent sell you and the publisher sell your books. Does being unemployed do that? Probably not. However, being tri-lingual, particularly when one is Japanese, is, I think, interesting, as is the marathon horse races.

It's been a long time since I read Spider, but I believe it's first of a series. Series are... challenging to have for your debut via conventional publishing (and agents are only about conventional publishing). While everyone loves the idea of a series - if the first sells well - publishers are generally a bit leery of your first novel ending on a cliffhanger and sales don't justify continuing the series. That being said, series are great for self-publishing, you can practically give away the first and hope to hook enough readers that they'll pay for the rest. But that's a strategy decision you have to make fairly early on in your approach to publishing.

Regarding stakes, it feels to me like what you have works. Hopefully some others will weigh in with their thoughts.

Drop me an email sometime and let's catch up...


message 5: by Mari (new)

Mari | 23 comments I think the first one you read from me was a series, but not this one, luckily.

I for once in my life took wise advice and implemented it--do not start with a series.

I plan to expand on the universe and reuse part of the cast, but I didn't put that in, it looks like something I can say when and if someone shows interest.

Thank you again, I will!


message 6: by Keith (new)

Keith Oxenrider (mitakeet) | 1166 comments Continuing stories is, I think, a very valid way of writing, just as long as your debut novel has a clean ending. Not everything has to be wrapped up, but the ending has to be emotionally satisfying to the reader and have closure.

I just noticed (after how many years?) that Goodreads doesn't use the handle I created with my account. Silly me, thinking I had a secret identity ;-)


message 7: by Mari (new)

Mari | 23 comments At least you'll know what you did wrong when the secret agents find you


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