*sheepish wave* I’ve been notably absent from my blog these days, but I’m back today with a new installment in my First Query, Last Query series. Today I’m featuring Tracy Brogan, who writes both contemporary and historical romance. Now I’ve read her historical, Highland Surrender, which finaled in the Golden Heart® last year and will be available from Montlake Romance in December, but her query is for a different manuscript.
At the time of her queries it was entitled Totally Dody, and it was also a GH finalist in 2011. Here is her first query (which she calls a train-wreck) along with her comments in red.
Dear Ms. Agent:
Thank you for sharing your expertise at the Backspace Writers conference. It was a pleasure to meet you. I would love for you to consider my manuscript, TOTALLY DODY.
Sadie Turner is a big fan of monogamy. Too bad her husband isn’t. When she catches him at the office Christmas party with mistletoe hanging from his belt buckle, in the arms of a co-worker who’s a real sucker for holiday traditions, Sadie calls a lawyer. After enduring a divorce so corrosive it would make Alec Baldwin blush, she decides to escape and spend the summer with her Aunt Dody, a woman who enjoys the ancient art of scrimshaw, scuba diving for lost treasure, and the occasional porno. Sadie, a control-seeking perfectionist who can’t understand why everyone doesn’t label their refrigerator shelves, tries hard to enjoy herself, but quickly realizes that trying to relax makes her incredibly tense. Adding to her self-inflicted agitation is the very sexy, very single doctor who plants himself squarely in her path. Mishaps, misunderstandings, and mayhem complicate Sadie’s world. So, what’s a love-shy girl to do when the one thing she doesn’t want turns out to be just exactly what she needs?
TOTALLY DODY is a completed 109,000 word (What?? Obviously I hadn’t done enough research. This is way too long.) contemporary women’s fiction manuscript. I have a B.A. in English Literature and am a member of the Backspace Writers web community, as well as a member of the Historical Novel Society, the Romance Writers of America, and Absolute Write Water Cooler. (These are pretty lame credentials. A college degree and membership to two web communities and two huge organizations which I had JUST joined. I wonder how many agents read this and dismissed me just for being too green?)
Thank you kindly for your time. I hope you’ll consider asking for submission of additional pages.
Email (one query I sent had the wrong email address and they actually sent me a PAPER request for a full!!! But that was for my improved query. My point is, always put ALL your contact info in the query. Don’t assume they can just email you back because stuff gets lost in spam.)
And here is the improved version of her query, the one that landed her an agent:
Dear Ms. Agent:
TOTALLY DODY, a 2011 Golden Heart® finalist complete at 78,000 words, is contemporary women’s fiction taking aim at two of life’s most common yet intriguing mysteries: falling in love and crazy relatives.
Sadie Turner’s husband puts the dick in unpredictable. After catching him in the clutches of a giggly, jiggly redhead, with mistletoe dangling from his belt buckle, Sadie realizes it’s time to call her lawyer. Now divorced, and in need of a vacation, she and her two young children travel to the beachfront home of her Aunt Dody, a woman who enjoys the ancient art of scrimshaw, scuba diving for sunken treasure, and the occasional porno flick. Sadie, a control-seeking perfectionist who wonders why other people don’t label their refrigerator shelves, tries in vain to enjoy herself, quickly realizing that trying to relax makes her incredibly tense. Adding to Sadie’s self-inflicted agitation is a too-charming neighbor who challenges her determination to remain indifferent to the opposite sex. Medical emergencies, career choices, interfering relatives, and an ex-husband with a high-consequence hidden agenda prevent Sadie from simplifying her life. Then, just when she thinks she has everything under control, she learns that the one thing she’s been trying so desperately to avoid may be just what she needs after all.
In addition to being an RWA Golden Heart finalist, TOTALLY DODY won first place in the Connecticut RWA® WriteStuff contest earning a full manuscript request from an editor. After a successful pitch at the RWA conference this July, it has also been requested by an additional editor, although I have not yet submitted it. It has also been a finalist in several RWA chapter contests.
I am a member of Romance Writers of America®, the RWA Mid-Michigan chapter where I serve as newsletter editor, the Historical Novel Society®, and several on-line specialty chapters, including RWA Women’s Fiction and RWA Hearts Through History. I have attended RWA National conferences as well as the Backspace Writers conference. Please feel free to visit my website at TracyBrogan.com or contact me with any questions.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
You can see Tracy has worked on more than just the query here. She’s pared her manuscript down to a more salable length, and she has quite a few more credentials. She’s also upped the voice factor in this second query. She’s already let her voice show a bit in the first version, but she’s showcased it a bit more here.
And Totally Dody? Is now known as Crazy Little Thing. And it’s available tomorrow, and I am going to be reading it.