HH Com 341

My novel has received a great response from its readers so far, including an endorsement by [Famous Author], which he has given me permission to use:

"[This writer] reveals his metropolitan world -- with an intimacy and power few of us would otherwise be priviliged to share. This sensitively written and fast-paced tale will lure you in for an exciting ride."

-- [Famous Author], author of [cool book] (Random House)

The protagonist Davis Jarvey is a talented painter who unwittingly makes a Faustian pact. His conflict begins when he meets John, a wealthy autograph dealer. Set in New York and London, the book deals with the artist's dilemma in a very entertaining way; and the reader is taken on a suspenseful journey into the world of theatre, art, and gay love. [Title] is a novel of ideas -- and I think you'll find it to be quite an original.

I think you'll find the hook model helpful.

I loathe people telling me what I'll think of their book. They are 99 out of 100 times wrong; not just wrong but REALLY wrong.


Anonymous said...

I'd like to know, what's the artist's dilemma? Instead of saying the book deals with it in a "very entertaining way," is there a way you can "show" that instead?

Anonymous said...

I had Tolstoy, Hemingway, and Grisham over for dinner the other night, and they're like, "Dude, you gotta write a book."

So Here's my fiction novel intitled Eggnog Makes My Dog Fart

Author, I don't mean to be an ass, but that's how this sounds.

Elektra said...

I was researching agents today, and a couple of them actually did ask, in the query letter, for a brief explanation of how the MS will make the reader feel.

cm allison said...

Even to me, the new kid on the block, this is not a hook. It is not even a jacket blurb. Nothing in what you wrote would cause me to open the book, scan the first few pages, then walk it to the check out counter. As a (voracious!) reader, give me something to want to take your book home out of all the others out there! (And usually, it doesn't take much! Book budget, what's that? But I need something!)

I Said said...

I don't care who or how famous this approving author is, one of you still has to tell the agent what the hell the book's about.

Dave said...

CM Allison has it right - A hook makes you want to read the book.

Anonymous said...

Miss. Snark is getting tired. Her commentary is getting nicer. I've been reading all the hooks from the very beginning. Hey author! You are getting off way easy compared to the lacerations she has left earlier. I have no way of knowing whether or not you have a good book and you telling me that everyone who has read it loved it just doesn't cut it for me. Who are your readers? Grandma, Grandpa and your priest? This is meaningless and a waste of your words when you only have 250. This is almost the antithesis of a hook. You've actually dehooked me.

Miss. Snark, I have to say that your fangs have gotten duller since about hook 200. I don't know if you are getting nicer because you are feeling bad or just too tired to be overly snarky. It's definitely not because the hooks are better, I think they have been consistent throughout, a mix of good and bad and so-so's. I don't mind you just preaching the form, but where's the bite? Where's the killer instinct? If this keeps up, you may have to change your name. :o>

Perhaps some more gin?

Anonymous said...

I don't want to make the mistake of trying to defend myself, as I did in the last Crapometer, but this excerpt from my query letter actually got me a lot of requests for material. It must have been the blurb itself, which sounds better with the actual name there. Thanks for the comments, though.

Anonymous said...

I can see how a blurb would be helpful in a query letter, and I'm not surprised it got you some requests. It's wonderful that you've gotten that kind of reaction from a successful author, and I admit that would make me look twice at something. HOWEVER, this being about hooks, the hook is way too vague, It doesn't work. The blurb tells me that, in the opinion of someone who should know, your writing is good. The hook doesn't.

Anonymous said...

Author anon: I hear you. I got requests for partials and fulls from my query letter, too. But that doesn't mean you can't make it better; so much better.

Criticism is hard to take (I was a victim of the Evil Editor and minions a while back and ouch, that stung) but in between the wisecracks there was valid info.

I've revised and I have yet to be Snarked, but I do hope that my hook is better this go round. And if it still needs work, I want to know that before I send it out again and again to more agents and editors.

WitLiz Today said...

I'm a firm believer in standing on your own two feet initially.

I think it's wonderful that so many really like your work. That should give you great confidence. But understand that when you use famous author blurbs for query letters, you're setting the agent up to expect high quality level work. Their tolerance level will be at sea-level if it's not.

Blurbs are great for a novel that's sold, and are appropriate in that case. But in the query letter stage, let your work do the sell. Don't waste time writing your pr_eulogy. And don't turn it into a guestbook of famous signatures, or a list of endorsements.

Make your story the headliner of the query letter. Like the kid who refuses to take a handout from his parents because he's determined to make it on his own, so must goeth the newbie writer. Imho.

Anonymous said...

Dear 341,
Pilgrim, it's like this. "IF" famous author was really butt-sprung by your work, s/he'd march your ass over to their agent were a dotted line awaits your grace.

Haste yee back ;-)

snarkling 341 said...

Dear Latest Anon:

He might have taken me to his agent to sign on the dotted line, except that he had a huge fight with her and left her! And she is a biggie! Thanks for all your comments. I know you're right. As one commentor said, even though it has gotten requests, I'm always working to make things better; and that's the value of this Crapometer, and of course, the divine Miss Snark.

Anonymous said...

"which he has given me permission to use:"

In a real query letter, as compared to the specific hook exercise at hand, a favourable comment from a famous author can only help. I've thought of putting a similar blurb at the start of my query.

The words I've quoted seem lame and amateurish, though, implying you're often suspected of breaches in etiquette - as if you have to get a few words in defensively to reassure us you haven't done anything wrong this time.

Describing your own work as 'entertaining' and 'original' also seems odd and amateurish. What author doesn't think that of their own work? You're wasting words that could have been spent on actually *being* entertaining and original.

But the upside of all this is that someone actually likes your book. (We can't tell *what* they like about it from this hook, but at least they like it.) Get past the query stage and you've got a real chance. Congratulations.

Anonymous said...

I live in a very small town, but even I know two, or three, other BIG fishin' holes!

You sure Mr. Famous doesn't have another card up his sleve?

Haste yee back ;-)

Anonymous said...

But what haaaaaaaappens!?