Monday, June 28, 2010

The Latest Trends in Query Letters and Sample Pages

STATUS: Importance of proofreading. I sent out an email with a sentence that featured the same word three times. Sheesh. It's a Monday...

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? ONE FOR MY BABY by Jack Jones

I have to say it’s getting a little gruesome in our query letters and sample pages. We’ve received an inordinate amount of queries where the poor main character has to be killed off before the novel can begin.

(1) Main characters dying and then being sent back to earth to redeem themselves or finish one last task.

(2) Teens dying in car accidents and then narrating their story from the other side.

(3) Main characters that become a ghost and narrate the story from that perspective.

I’m sure writers are simply trying to find a cool hook or an interesting framework in which to tell their stories but in the last month, we’ve seen a hundred of these.

Some other trends?

(1) Greek mythology characters in a modern setting (Thank you Mr. Riordan.)

(2) In women’s fic: 30-40 something women facing a choice between (1) a happy but mundane family life and (2) a new romance/exotic adventure; We assume most of them choose their families in the end. Also, we’ve been seeing a lot of stories about women who have discovered their husbands cheating, getting divorced, and then moving to a small town where they start their own business—like a B&B. They always move to the small town as the key feature.

(3) Adult novels with bipolar characters (not sure if this is relevant since we haven't requested any of them, but it's amazing how many of these queries we’ve seen).

(4) Psychics (both YA and adult) who solve a mystery or save someone or other people’s lives

(5) vampires (still) - in romance and YA (fewer werewolves, but amazingly still those pesky vampires)

(6) people (adult and YA) who "see" things in dreams that are real and lead them on an adventure (all sorts of genres, but same concept).