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So, since I have you all here I’m going to use you as guinea pigs.  (It’s just one of the many benefits to being one of my friends. 🙂 )  I’m working on my latest Query version and I need your help.  I’d love some feedback from anyone willing.  A query needs to be short, informative and exciting.  It’s supposed to have something of a hook.  A way to pull in the reader and make them want to see more.

Here’s the thing: there are a literal crap-ton of articles and advice columns on query letters.  How to write, what to write, where to submit, etc…  Most of them even say similar things, but so few of them actually say much that I find useful.  The basic advice is “write something like you’d see on the back of a paperback.”  Which is really good advice, but it’s so tough for me to do.  Everything I write comes out sounding, well frankly, cheesy.

Let me show you:

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Query V. 1:

The night began with a relaxing ride and ended with a massacre.

The entire town of Haftan’s Pass was slaughtered in a single night and only Cary survived. A quick wit, a moment of luck, and an army too scared to follow, save Cary the horror of her town.

When she returns, beaten and bloody to care for the dead it’s almost too much to bear. But as bad as the massacre was, things only seem to get worse. The new friends she had found are gone. An army of fanatics is marching through the unprotected center of the kingdom. Missing people are returning in droves, murderously loyal to a new master, and Cary’s soul is ripping apart, gifting her with powers no one has seen in generations.

Lost and alone, with little more than the skeletal hand of a dead man as her guide, Cary must try to find the strength to master her new abilities in time to rescue her friends from a doomed city before all fifteen thousand inhabitants are murdered or enslaved.

BLOOD AND BONES is complete at 84,000 words and is my debut novel.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration.

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See, not too bad, but not too great either.

I try to be exciting and come off cheesy.  I make allusions to things that happen in the book, but no one’s actually read the book.  So, it sounds like I’m just babbling and trying to sound catchy.  Which… I kinda am…

Really doesn’t work, does it?

Luckily, I had an author friend read it over for me and critique it before sending it out and she was kind enough to be graceful while at the same time telling me it sucked.  So with a little review I came up with this:

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Query V.2:

The village at Haftan’s Pass is an island of civilization in an area of the kingdom where the ghosts of the unburied dead wander through the mountain mists. On the night the town is destroyed only Cary escapes, thanks to her quick wit and a moment of incredible luck.

When she returns to care for the dead a group of the kingdom’s elite soldiers are waiting, desperate to discover what evil has been at work. Cary is looking for salvation, but things only get worse.

In a moment of chaos, Cary is separated from the soldiers she’s come to call friends. An army of fanatics is marching through the unprotected center of the kingdom. Missing people are returning in droves, murderously loyal to a new master, and Cary’s soul is ripping apart, gifting her with powers no one has seen in generations.

Lost and alone, with little more than the fortunes cast by the skeletal hand of a dead man as her guide, Cary must try to find the strength to master her new abilities in time to save herself and the inhabitants of a city under siege.

BLOOD AND BONES is complete at 84,000 words. Fans of ‘The Hunger Games’ will enjoy the aspect of a strong female lead and the gritty, hard action fantasy setting will appeal to all fans of ‘The Black Company’ series.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration.

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Now this version is definitely better.  It’s more informative, it actually manages to explain things about the book without bogging the reader down in details and, hopefully, it’s exciting enough to catch someone’s eye.  I still feel like it’s missing something though.

Any thoughts?

I’d seriously like to hear what people think.

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