Is it Crap...Round Two..the cover letters -3

Dear Submissions Editor

You wrote this to cause me great anguish right?
Banish those words forevermore.
Dear Miss Snark,
Always always ALWAYS the correct name.

The protagonist of my mystery novel, Jane Wilkinson, is a private
investigator with a unique viewpoint: Kinsey Millhone meets Carl Jung.

Ok, I don't understand this but maybe it's cause I've never read Carl Jung.
I know who he is, I have an idea of what his work was about but past that...this comparison doesn't work for me.

Jane is a private investigator specializing in missing persons, but
considers reading her true passion. She reads at every opportunity and
her choice of books is eclectic. Over the course of time she has noticed
that whatever she happens to be reading parallels her life. Her husband
says this is just coincidence, to which Jane responds that keeping an
open mind in order to detect and use these coincidences helps her solve

And...this is exciting ..how?
I want to read more ..why?
Reading books (despite Miss Snark's profession) is NOT exciting.
It's like watching someone play a computer game: DO is better than watch.

Jane is just starting a new book, Doris Lessing's "The Golden Notebook"
when she is hired to find a missing girl. In this, Jane's first recorded
case, she decides to conduct an experiment to demonstrate to herself,
and to her doubting husband, that her coincidence detection theory is
valid. Throughout the case and her reading, she writes down the
synchronicities she finds between the two. Jane soon discovers that the
missing girl is planning to use herself as bait to set up a date-rapist
so she can charge him with the crime. Jane has no sympathy for a rapist,
but with the insights she gains from "The Golden Notebook" she prevents
the young woman from taking an irrevocable step.

blah blah blah synopsis. What's the problem?
Who's the bad guy?
Why will we care?

This is a finished novel and the first in a planned series featuring
Jane Wilkinson and her theory. While there are no direct quotes from
"The Golden Notebook" I have described scenes and ideas with the
emphasis on Jane's response.

yea copyright issues suck. How many words?
Planned series? Let's get the first one aloft before we get the next bird on the flight deck.

I am currently a stay-at-home mom living in Ottawa with my husband and
two children. A short story of mine won the 2004 Scene of the Crime
Short Story Contest and was an Honourable Mention in the 2004 Audrey
Jessup Award for Best Short Crime Fiction. This last is a contest
offered by Capital Crime Writers, a mystery writer's group based in
Ottawa of which I am a member.

The only thing worth mentioning is the contest stuff.

Should you wish to read all or part of "A Week In The Life Of ...a Jane
Wilkinson Mystery"

Ok, you win the prize for the worst title of the night. Or is it a joke and I just don't get it?

I would be delighted to send it.

Of course you would. What did you actually send? Never send only a cover letter. Send writing pages. Agents want to see how you write the actual work. Even if it's just five pages, send them.

There's nothing here that makes me thing "oh boy I want to read on"
No zip, no pizazz, no sex, no violence, no literary agents being taken to dinner by handsome gentlemen...

The only good news is that terrible query letters usually come with great writing. It's like a law : the better the query, the worse the writing. I live to see the exceptions.


Anonymous said...

Miss Snark, you mentioned "Never send only a cover letter. Send writing pages." How does this work when submission guidelines for some agencies state "send query letter only" and go on to say something about not breaking the rules, adhere by submission guidelines, etc. Are you suggesting we go against submission guidelines and send sample writing pages with the query, even if the agency says not to?

Miss Snark said...

a query letter IS a cover letter and about five pages of writing.

Agents need to see how you write.
what they DO NOT WANT is a big fat manuscript.
Just a taste to see if they want more.

Anonymous said...

Do you mean a query letter is a cover letter and a synopsis (five pages of writing), or should we just send the first five pages of the book?