For those of you reading through the massive archive of Query Shark advice looking for the unique points I have pulled out her most common criticisms and compiled them into a query letter:
Dear Query Shark,
Ronald White sold his soul to write the world’s best novel. After a weekend writing in a satanic frenzy, Ron’s powers are spent but true to their deal he has his book. Ron should have asked for a query letter too. Who could have known Satan knew so much about the publishing industry?
Ron has to do the one thing he never could – learn to write. And avoid freak accidents which seem intent on killing him before he can live to see his book in stores.
The one exception: “I’m Charles Dickens and I have a Nobel Prize in literature,” or “I’m the guy who pulled you out of a burning building and you promised to read my pages.” If there is something about you that would force the agent to read pages then say so.>
At 250 words
With paragraphs of three sentences and 80 words per paragraph max. Ron must eliminate unnecessary words, redundant ideas (see above), and keep his query under 250 words. He doesn’t have a word to waste.
Certain mistakes will mean instant rejection and damnation: misspellings or typos; using a word incorrectly; or having a sentence with a missing noun/verb.
Desperate for help, Ron asks Satan for writing advice.
Satan tells to simply tell what is going to happen in the novel and use a lot of punchy, edgy, adjectives so agents know how exciting and appealing the work will be and not to be shy about introducing side characters from the novel: Danny the plucky teen with a troubled past, Ashley the suicidal walking cliche who has a nose ring and is secretly in love with the author – I mean main character, and Runon Sentence who people rarely actually paid attention to – and i bet you are not even reading anymore are you?
I have spent the last week reading all of the Query Shark’s past reviews and working on my query letter at the same time. I wanted to provide a top level summary to assist folks but it’s no substitute to reading it all yourself.
Thank you for your time and consideration.