Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ye Old Query

Continuing my series on effective query letters that got interest in my books by industry professionals, I’m posting the original query letter for DEGENERATES that drew huge interest several years ago before anyone had heard of Kindle and ebooks. I had several agents request the entire manuscript from this query and it is this query that got my first power agent Gary Heidt really interested in my work. As I’ve posted before, Gary eventually signed me after reading the query for SILENT INVASION, but he always believed in DEGENERATES as a good story that needed to find its niche. Although Gary was unable to sell the novel, my subsequent indie published version has had many sales and those sales continue to increase. And just today I got the direct deposit into my bank account of my latest royalties. They are half as much as what my royalties will be this month so things are definitely heading in the right direction. I’ve got a couple of big sponsorships coming up in the next two weeks so this should boost sales even more. I have DROP OUT scheduled for a sponsorship on Kindlefire.com for April 4th and the one I’m really excited about is a whole week on Kindle Nation Daily’s new YA site starting on April 6th. This one is for SILENT INVASION, and I got the sponsorship for half its normal cost because of a promotion they were running. If all goes well, this could be the first sponsorship that may make the sales worth the price. I’ll post the results of both promotions when they are complete. Here’s the long ago, days of handwritten query letters and telephone calls, version of the DEGENERATES query. Just reading it brings back memories of those horribly long, wasted hours addressing these pleading bits of self-promotion.

Dear ?

Who are the degenerates, what are their pasts, and what random tragedies bring them together? DEGENERATES is a 65,000-word character-driven thriller that offers a raw, powerful look at a segment of our society founded on drugs, violence, and day-to-day survival.

DEGENERATES tells the downward spiral and interlocking stories of an alcoholic writer, a self-destructive teen, a burnt-out waitress, an abused young wife, a good-natured cook, a tormented serial killer, and a cop unwittingly assigned to stop him. Marred with addictions, poverty, and personal loss, each degenerate overcomes incredible obstacles and finds his or her own salvation working in a restaurant named City Café. They form new friendships and relationships, and in a short time turn their lives around — until Tommy Fielding is hired. Seeming innocent at first, Tommy is a schizophrenic who believes murder will ensure for him an existence of perfect happiness. What happens next places the group in grave danger and leads them into a horror that will change everything they have achieved.

Written in short, captivating chapters, DEGENERATES is more than a story; it is also an anatomy of the human condition, exploring the daily dramas of those less fortunate. Born from stories told to me by hundreds of restaurant employees that I’ve worked with over the years, the novel will especially appeal to fans of Bret Easton Ellis, and Michael Chabon. I believe DEGENERATES would fit well among the genres your agency represents.

My publishing history spans sixteen years and over forty magazines. My degree in psychology, coupled with my experience writing psychological profiles for the New York Judicial System helped create the complex character biographies in this book. I’ve worked in restaurants for more than fifteen years as a chef, bartender, and manager. Please feel free to call or email. Thanks for your time.

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