Now, after chatting a bit with helpful Molli N., a publisher turned publishing coach for poor saps like me, I am taking a stab at rewriting my query--AGAIN. I was advised--against all of the blog recommendations on the subject-- to leave out any attempt at personalization. There's an agent I have discovered who I really would like to read my ms, so I want the new letter to impress her enough to request that almighty read. Please tell me what you think. I love constructive criticism, but the key is constructive.

XXXX is a young, big city detective with the best-solved homicide record and a confident swagger to match. None of that helps him when his ex-girlfriend, crusading newspaper reporter XXXX, becomes his next case. As her family drama unfolds, a woman pained by the abandonment of an unapologetic father with a XXXX motive comes into view. As XXXX races against the newspaper’s clock, the investigation detours and he can't get anything right for the first time in his career. Finally, he turns to an unlikely source for help when dealing with not one but two suspects: the victim’s would-be XXXX father, the other XXXX’s friend and colleague.

My XXXX-word, African-American detective thriller, XXXX, is a drama about what happens when past sins demand penance and new ones refuse to be buried. It distinctly deals with the social issue of unpaid child support and its residual affects even after the child is of age. It is also a story about love, hope and the healing of families who come together to mend that, which is broken. I believe it would intrigue the same readers of DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS by Walter Mosley and readers of the Alex Cross novels like ALONG CAME A SPIDER by James Patterson.

I began writing XXXX after five years covering a myriad of beats as a print reporter, crime among them. I have publishing credits via the following daily newspapers: The Albuquerque Tribune (Scripps-Howard), Birmingham Post-Herald (Scripps-Howard) and The Tennessean (Gannett). In addition, various newswires around the world published some of my articles and I currently freelance for an international, bi-monthly e-magazine. I am a native New Yorker living in Prague working on my upcoming projects, an unrelated thriller and an international, inspirational fiction written in literary prose. I am available via XXXX and at the number listed above.

Thank you so much for your consideration.

Respectfully,
###

Another critique suggested I do the following (I'm inclined to take this advice and wonder why I didn't think of it myself, LOL):

My XXXX-word, African-American detective thriller, XXXX, is a drama about what happens when past sins demand penance and new ones refuse to be buried. It distinctly deals with the social issue of unpaid child support and its residual affects even after the child is of age. It is also a story about love, hope and the healing of families who come together to mend that, which is broken. I believe it would intrigue the same readers of DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS by Walter Mosley and readers of the Alex Cross novels like ALONG CAME A SPIDER by James Patterson.

XXXX is a young, big city detective with the best-solved homicide record and a confident swagger to match. None of that helps him when his ex-girlfriend, crusading newspaper reporter XXXX, becomes his next case. As her family drama unfolds, a woman pained by the abandonment of an unapologetic father with a XXXX motive comes into view. As XXXX races against the newspaper’s clock, the investigation detours and he can't get anything right for the first time in his career. Finally, he turns to an unlikely source for help when dealing with not one but two suspects: the victim’s would-be XXXX father, the other XXXX’s friend and colleague.

(same third and close)

So what say you? (And, yes, if fits nicely on one page--with room to spare! LOL.)

Thanks in advance.

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Comment by Ailene Yasmin on March 28, 2008 at 3:40am
Another critique said that I should switch the first and second paragraphs because the first is more plot driven and thematic. This sounds like a good idea. I was wondering if anyone here thought the same thing. thx.
Comment by Ailene Yasmin on March 28, 2008 at 2:21am
I know I said "you are drawn" but that didn't work in the overall scope of the letter. So I went with:

"unfolds, the picture of a woman pained by the abandonment of an unapologetic father with a XXXX motive comes into view."

I hope that sounds better because I sent it! LOL. It was my big to-do today before I go party with these magazine people I freelance for. Thanks again. I would have never thought that. I changed that thing a million times and 'reveals' was in EVERY version. *smh*

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