Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Query Letters, Part 2—The Good

Karen MacInerney’s letter to me was so impressive that I immediately read her materials and subsequently offered representation. I’m thrilled to say that Karen’s first book (the one from this letter), Murder on the Rocks, was published this year by Midnight Ink, and we just signed a deal with Ballantine for A Wolf in Chic Clothing.

If you read my previous post you’ll see how Karen so deftly followed all the rules; you should also see how this letter clearly captured my attention. She has a hook (bed-and-breakfast with recipes), an interesting plot, a contest win, she’s obviously involved in mystery groups, and she included a phone number and e-mail address.

Karen Swartz MacInerney
Street, town, phone, email

Jessica Faust
BookEnds, LLC
136 Long Hill Rd.
Gillette, NJ 07933

June 14, 2004

Dear Ms. Faust,

I enjoyed meeting you at the conference in Austin this past weekend. As I mentioned, I have had my eye on BookEnds for quite some time; when I discovered you would be at the conference, I knew I had to attend. We met during the final pitch session and discussed how the series I am working on might fit in with your current line of mystery series. Per your request, I have enclosed a synopsis and first three chapters of Murder on the Rocks, and 80,000-word cozy mystery that was a finalist in this year’s Writers’ League of Texas manuscript contest and includes several bed-and-breakfast recipes.

Thirty-eight-year-old Natalie Barnes has quit her job, sold her house and gambled everything she has on the Gray Whale Inn on Cranberry Island, Maine. But she’s barely fired up the stove when portly developer Bernard Katz rolls into town and starts mowing through her morning glory muffins. Natalie needs the booking, but Katz is hard to stomach—especially when he unveils his plan to build an oversized golf resort on top of the endangered tern colony next door. When the town board approves the new development, not only do the terns face extinction, but Natalie’s Inn might just follow along. Just when Natalie thinks she can’t face more trouble, she discovers Katz’s body at the base of the cliff and becomes the number-one suspect in the police’s search for a murderer. If Natalie doesn’t find the killer fast she stands to lose everything—maybe even her life.

I am a former pubic relations writer, a graduate of Rice University, a member of the Writers’ League of Texas, and founder of the Austin Mystery Writers critique group. I have spent many summers in fishing communities in Maine and Newfoundland, and escape to Maine as often as possible. The second Gray Whale Inn mystery, Dead and Berried, is currently in the computer.

If you would like to see the manuscript, I can be reached at (phone number). Thank you for your time and attention; I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Karen Swartz MacInerney

1 comment:

Karen MacInerney said...

Thanks so much for posting this, Jessica! Brings back memories... :)

I've talked a little bit more about finding the magic 'hook' in my blog Poisoned Pen Letters... and will talk more about it later this week on Thc Cozy Chicks (where Michele just posted a great bit on the whole process).

Thanks again, Jessica... and may all your query letters be good ones.