Monday, March 12, 2018

Query Critique Winner

Josee is lucky #8 this month.  Congrats, Josee!  Here is her original query:

Dear Carrie,

Thank you so much for this incredible opportunity. A HOPE TO BUILD ON is the first in my ETERNAL HOPE series, set in southern Quebec and northern New England, where love and loss are inescapable, making the hard-earned happy endings that much sweeter. A character-driven contemporary romance, my novel is complete at 70,000 words. Fans of RaeAnneThayne would enjoy my series.
 Single mom Julianne Thomas is ready to move forward with a life she’s put on hold since the death of her husband two years ago. At the top of her list: finally making use of that interior design degree. Not on her list: fighting her intense attraction to the gorgeous young contractor whose house she designs. Ryan Coulter doesn’t have a list, and he doesn’t have time for distractions–especially since he’s recently moved back to Dunham, Vermont to rebuild his life. But the beautiful designer’s grace and heart tear down the walls Ryan put up after his heartbreak. Love takes Ryan and Julianne by surprise… until they discover they are bound together in a way neither expected. Will the revelation cause irreparable damage, or will Ryan and Julianne grab onto their second chance at love?

I am a full-time writer and an active PRO member of RWA. As a ghostwriter, I have written articles for bridal magazines, mom blogs, and a quarterly. Currently, I work with multi-published authors and other critique partners to strengthen my writing. My manuscripts have won several RWA Chapter contests and I regularly attend workshops and conferences to improve my skill-set. My monthly newsletter continues to attract new subscribers through various social media platforms.
 I am looking for someone with whom I can partner for long-term career planning. If you would consider an addition to your literary family, I hope to hear from you. Thank you for your time. 
Kind regards,
Josee Telfer

And here is my critique:

Dear Carrie,

Thank you so much for this incredible opportunity. A HOPE TO BUILD ON is the first in my ETERNAL HOPE series, set in southern Quebec and northern New England, where love and loss are inescapable, making the hard-earned happy endings that much sweeter. A character-driven contemporary romance, my novel is complete at 70,000 words. Fans of RaeAnneThayne would enjoy my series.
 Single mom Julianne Thomas is ready to move forward with a life she’s put on hold since the death of her husband two years ago. At the top of her list: finally making use of that interior design degree. Not on her list: fighting her intense attraction to the gorgeous young contractor whose house she designs. Ryan Coulter doesn’t have a list, and he doesn’t have time for distractions–especially since he’s recently moved back to Dunham, Vermont to rebuild his life. But the beautiful designer’s grace and heart tear down the walls Ryan put up after his heartbreak. [This reads a bit too vague.  Instead, I would show specific examples of when he starts to fall in love, e.g. "But he can't ignore his attraction to Julianne and the way that XX happens as they work on XX."] Love As their relationship grows, love takes Ryan and Julianne by surprise… until they discover they are bound together in a way neither expected. Will the revelation cause irreparable damage, or will Ryan and Julianne grab onto their second chance at love?

A HOPE TO BUILD ON is the first in my ETERNAL HOPE series, set in southern Quebec and northern New England, where love and loss are inescapable, making the hard-earned happy endings that much sweeter. A character-driven contemporary romance, my novel is complete at 70,000 words. Fans of Rae Anne Thayne would enjoy my series.

I am a full-time writer and an active PRO member of RWA. As a ghostwriter, I have written articles for bridal magazines, mom blogs, and a quarterly. Currently, I work with multi-published authors and other critique partners to strengthen my writing. My manuscripts have won several RWA Chapter contests and I regularly attend workshops and conferences to improve my skill-set. My monthly newsletter continues to attract new subscribers through various social media platforms.
 I am looking for someone with whom I can partner for long-term career planning. If you would consider an addition to your literary family, I hope to hear from you. [This is a personal preference, but when receiving queries, I prefer to just have an author ask me to request more if interested, rather than talking about potential representation at this point.  I think this is better to have in an email after an agent has requested pages.] Given your background, I thought that A HOPE TO BUILD ON might be a great fit for you.  If you are interested in reading more, please let me know! Thank you for your time. 
Kind regards,
Josee Telfer

As you see, I don't have many changes for this query--just moving some things around.  This does a fantastic job of drawing us into the story and romance and giving us a great idea of what this story is about, as well as its voice and characters.  Great job, Josiee!  This is a really solid romance query!  Please let me know if you have any questions about my edits/thoughts.  And everyone else, chime in with comments below!

6 comments:

  1. Congrats Josee! Sounds like a beautiful romance story & I am intrigued by it because I love the New England area & interior design (is it a tiny home??).

    I thought it was interesting what Carrie said about not asking for representation right off the bat. Never thought of it that way, so thanks for the tip Carrie!

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    1. Thank you, Patrice! It's not a tiny home, but it's not a sprawling castle, either. With tiny homes growing in popularity, I think that would make a great story line.

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  2. Wow! Thank you so much, Carrie! I love how you just dive right into the blurb. It makes so much sense not to ask for representation but to offer to send more. It's a relief to know that the bulk of my query is solid. Thanks again for the critique. It was eye-opening.

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  3. Woohoo!!! This was very interesting and the story sounds fantastic! Thanks, Patrice for offering this opportunity.

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  4. Oops, I meant Carrie. But Patrice's comment was interesting too.

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  5. I thought this was a very well-written query. Like Carrie, I would move that opening paragraph out of the way and get right to the query. My only other question is with the bit about the "bound together in a way neither expected" bit: is that too...cute? Too vague?

    Nicely done, Josee!

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