Can I read your successful query letter? Got my fourth rejection today for Nine Days, in less than 24 hours. I know that there are all sorts of resources out there about 'how' to write a query, and I followed the basic instructions but it still feels like it lacks that certain something. I'd really like to see some real-life query letters that actually grabbed an agent's attention. Thanks -- MK

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Yikes, is this where I get my reality check about how lame my letter is? lol But I suppose I gotta put it out if I ever hope to get published. *braces for impact (But I did work it with my editor, who I do trust. So I'm hoping that it's at least serviceable for now.)

Anyway, the tagline (a term I hope I am hoping I am using properly):

"They say life imitates art, but sometimes death imitates it better."

I like it. It makes me curious.

Excellent! :D That's what I am going for. Summarizes the story pretty well too. Figured it's as good a line to lead with as any.

Oof, I'm not much of a contest person. I did have a couple of stories 'published' online recently, but that feels kind of weak, to lead with.

I have, however, revised my opening sentence to read, "She's short, round, and pushing forty, but Julia Kalas is a damned good criminal," which I like better than the original, "Julia Kalas isn't her real name." I'm still wondering if it should be "damned good" or "damned fine," though.

It's too bad there's no such thing as query contests.

I like that. Makes me want to read the next line, which I think is the trick to this whole writing thing. :-)

One idea: What kind of criminal? The specific MIGHT sound better, or not, depending ...

Ha! I explain what kind of criminal in the next line. See what I did there?

"good".

Here are some (query opening line) examples I found (Google) from 

AgentQuery

 

The Kite Runner
An epic tale of fathers and sons, of friendship and betrayal, that takes us from Afghanistan in the final days of the monarchy to the atrocities of the present. 

The Da Vinci Code
A murder in the silent after-hour halls of the Louvre museum reveals a sinister plot to uncover a secret that has been protected by a clandestine society since the days of Christ. 

Everything Is Illuminated
With only a yellowing photograph in hand, Jonathan Safran Foer—both author and meta fictional protagonist—sets out to find the woman who might or might not have saved his grandfather from the Nazis.

OK, I'm playing.  I'm about to release a new novel.  Here is the line one of my readers added to my own blurb:

 

"THE SWORD MASTER transports you into the perilous world of the Heike Wars and lays bare the tortured soul of the protagonist."

I'll probably fiddle a bit with it.

I'd get Japan in there, unless everybody but me knows of the Heike Wars.

Right, but I don't use tag lines, since I'm not marketing to publishers and agents.

How about using the protag's name at the end, e.g., "THE SWORD MASTER transports you into the perilous world of the Heike Wars and lays bare the tortured sould of Isuzu Nakamishi, an aging vampire Samurai sworn to avenge the death of his werewolf cousin." (I know you love vampires, I. J.)

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