Query: Humorous Women's Fiction

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nflo328
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Query: Humorous Women's Fiction

Post by nflo328 » June 7th, 2012, 12:04 pm

Maggie Whitmore has been trying to get knocked up for two years. A successful party planner with the perfect marriage, she’s used to getting what she wants. Yet, after months of rigorously scheduled sex, 24 alleged ovulations, half a dozen negative pregnancy tests, and countless baby showers thrown (for other less-deserving women, of course), she’s no closer to knowing the joys of stretch marks and morning sickness.

As her girlfriends drop like flies into the dark abyss of parenthood, Maggie and her doting husband, Caleb, embark on a journey of their own through the delightfully invasive and uncharted territory of fertility testing. When Maggie’s nether regions aren’t being poked and prodded by way-too-chipper physicians, she’s forced to endure a far worse torture: mind-numbing conversations about ultrasounds and sleep cycles with her baby-obsessed friends. Adding insult to impotence, she spends the rest of her time hosting elaborate parties to celebrate the cervical good fortune of her wealthy clients.

As inconclusive test results pour in about why her lady bits are misfiring on all cylinders, the tension mounts between Maggie and Caleb. She’s growing more perplexed about whether she even wants a family, while Caleb becomes more determined than ever to procreate. When a dream job offer clashes with her husband’s old-fashioned expectations about child rearing, Maggie is forced to decide what she really wants in life and how far she’s willing to go to get it.

ADVENTURES IN BABYMAKING is a humorous women’s novel complete at 87,000 words. The book offers a witty and sarcastic take on the woes of infertility, an issue that affects 7.3 million women in the U.S. alone.

Bobcgirl8
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Re: Query: Humorous Women's Fiction

Post by Bobcgirl8 » June 7th, 2012, 4:33 pm

Hello!

I think your Query is very well written and quite fun. I do not normally read outside my genre, which is fantasy, but, from the sound of it, your book would be an exception. :) It's probably also great timing for a book like this because the "What to Expect When You're Expecting" movie was just released.

The only suggestion I have is to break up your paragraphs a little. Maybe put some dramatic white space in your query to add timing and emphasis.

Good luck and happy agent hunting!

Bobcgirl8

clegler
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Re: Query: Humorous Women's Fiction

Post by clegler » June 8th, 2012, 4:02 pm

I thought your query was very well written as well. The voice of the query is humorous and quirky as I imagine the book will be. It really matches with my expectations for the actual novel. Like the other user posted, it automatically reminded me of "What to Expect When You're Expecting" (the movie), which I saw and loved - it was very funny!
Adding insult to impotence, she spends the rest of her time hosting elaborate parties to celebrate the cervical good fortune of her wealthy clients.
I really liked this line. I liked the "adding insult to impotence" quirp the most. I thought it was funny and clever. "Cervical good fortune" made me LOL as well. I can just see this irritated, impatient woman's face as she goes to these baby showers. I really thought of Elizabeth Banks and no one else from the movie the whole time I read this paragraph.

Honestly, although I have little experience with query critiquing, I thought this query was excellent. As far as your book goes, I like that you've turned something that is traditionally seen as desperate and disheartening into something that I see being like a Judd Apatow film: funny and relatable, with an excellent moral-of-the-story behind it.

Good luck with your submissions and your work. I hope to read it in the future! :)

writer_laurie
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Re: Query: Humorous Women's Fiction

Post by writer_laurie » June 8th, 2012, 11:00 pm

I really like your voice in the query. I would read this for sure.

Sleeping Beauty
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Re: Query: Humorous Women's Fiction

Post by Sleeping Beauty » June 9th, 2012, 12:33 pm

An excellent query! Full of dark humour, voice and spark. Like bobcgirl8, I'd suggest breaking up the paragraphs slightly. I'd also lose this line completely:

nflo328 wrote:and countless baby showers thrown (for other less-deserving women, of course),
It has a mean edge that's not present anywhere else in the query, and besides, you say this in a much funnier manner later, with the 'cervical good fortune' line.

I hope you come back to let us all know when this gets snatched up. :D

nflo328
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Re: Query: Humorous Women's Fiction

Post by nflo328 » June 11th, 2012, 3:00 pm

Wow, thank you all so much for your kind words!! I was terrified about posting this, but I appreciate all of the encouragement and constructive criticism. I've received a few partial requests from agents and plenty of form rejections thus far, but I'll certainly keep you posted if anything materializes. Thanks again!

Sara007
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Re: Query: Humorous Women's Fiction

Post by Sara007 » June 12th, 2012, 5:44 pm

I think this is a FANTASTIC query. It's fun, bright, humorous, and you can practically feel the energy zipping off the pages. I feel like I got a good feel for the book. If I were an agent, I'd request a full. If I were a reader (I am) I'd read it. Honestly, you did a really great job. I have no constructive criticism :)

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cheekychook
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Re: Query: Humorous Women's Fiction

Post by cheekychook » June 16th, 2012, 12:07 pm

Your query is very well written and definitely showcases the tone and writing style of the book, which is extremely important. If I were you, though, I'd strongly consider deleting the 2nd paragraph. While you have some good humorous lines in it, it's mostly repetitive information, and you're talking about how mind numbing, painstaking and boring the procedures are....which can translate to the reader feeling like reading about this will feel mind numbing, painstaking and boring, which you don't want. I'm sure the way it's all told as the story unfolds it's full of tension and emotion, so don't take away from that by talking too much about it in the query. I think you can keep the strongest info in para 2 by adding it to the other paragraphs (hard to explain so I hope you don't mind that I've done it in red below). This is what I'd suggest:

Maggie Whitmore has been trying to get knocked up for two years. A successful party planner with the perfect marriage, she’s used to getting what she wants. Yet, after months of rigorously scheduled sex, 24 alleged ovulations, half a dozen negative pregnancy tests, and countless baby showers to celebrate the cervical good fortune of her wealthy clients, she’s no closer to knowing the joys of stretch marks and morning sickness.

Her girlfriends drop like flies into the dark abyss of parenthood, while Maggie and her doting husband, Caleb, embark on a journey of their own through the delightfully invasive and uncharted territory of fertility testing. As inconclusive test results pour in about why her lady bits are misfiring on all cylinders, the tension mounts between Maggie and Caleb. She’s growing more perplexed about whether she even wants a family, while Caleb becomes more determined than ever to procreate. When a dream job offer clashes with her husband’s old-fashioned expectations about child rearing, Maggie is forced to decide what she really wants in life and how far she’s willing to go to get it.

ADVENTURES IN BABYMAKING is humorous women’s fiction and is complete at 87,000 words.

I'd say "women's fiction" because "women's novel" isn't really a common term. I'd recommend leaving out the part about it being witty and sarcastic (you show that perfectly well in the body of the query) and the fact that fertility is a hot issue today is something all agents already know.

I hope these comments are helpful. Overall this sounds like a book that has very strong potential---timely topic, strong writing, good dose of humor. Best of luck to you with your queries.
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BettyMiller
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Re: Query: Humorous Women's Fiction

Post by BettyMiller » June 17th, 2012, 10:09 pm

Some of my favorite novels are Norah Roberts for her strong female leads and incredible humor. From reading your query letter I feel like I would definitely pick up a copy.

The only thing I can think to say is that maybe it's too long? A lot of the strength of your query letter is in the humorous metaphors and round about way you describe things but be careful not to be redundant or pull a "Ms Pedicrew Lives for a day:" where all the funniest jokes were crammed in the trailer, and the real movie was much more serious (though still enjoyable)

I hope this helps! Best of luck to you getting published

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Re: Query: Humorous Women's Fiction

Post by Karma » June 19th, 2012, 10:28 am

I think it sounds amazing. It certainly shows a very strong woman character, and I can relate almost instantly. My best friend struggled with these issues for years, and this character reminds me so much of the very humorous conversations we had. I think it will only be a matter of time before we'll see this book on the shelves. Best of luck!

dorothyinman
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Re: Query: Humorous Women's Fiction

Post by dorothyinman » June 21st, 2012, 4:18 pm

This is quick witted, well written and did I mention hilarious?

I would agree that the second paragraph seems to be a bit redundant. There are some great details there though. Would it be possible to take some of the non redundant information and add it to the third paragraph.

As someone who has dealt with the issue of trying to conceive when everyone else (and their grandma) is getting knocked up, I could really relate to what Maggie was going through. There is nothing worse than trying to get pregnant without luck and watching all of your friends/family get pregnant without even trying. I am not familiar with a lot of books that deal with the issue of fertility, but I know a lot of women who do. I agree with Karma, I think we will see this on the shelves at some near point in the future.

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Re: Query: Humorous Women's Fiction

Post by Elsinora » June 27th, 2012, 2:52 pm

I agree with everyone that the voice here is FANTASTIC (yes, all-caps, it is that good), but I also agree with Cheekychook that the query itself could be streamlined a bit without damaging that voice. My suggestions:
nflo328 wrote:Happily married party planner Maggie Whitmore is used to getting what she wants. Yet aftertwo years of rigorously scheduled sex, 24 alleged ovulations, half a dozen negative pregnancy tests, and many speculum-assisted spelunkings in her nether regions, she’s still no closer to knowing the joys of stretch marks and morning sickness. Adding insult to impotence, she spends her working hours hosting elaborate parties to celebrate the cervical good fortune of her wealthy clients.

As inconclusive test results fail to explain why Maggie's lady bits are misfiring on all cylinders, she begins to wonder whether she even wants a family, while Caleb becomes more determined than ever to procreate. When a dream job offer clashes with her husband’s old-fashioned expectations about child rearing, Maggie will have to decide what she really wants in life and how far she’s willing to go to get it.

ADVENTURES IN BABYMAKING is a humorous women’s fiction complete at 87,000 words. The book offers a witty and sarcastic take on the woes of infertility, an issue that affects 7.3 million women in the U.S. alone.
Very nicely done!

nflo328
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Re: Query: Humorous Women's Fiction

Post by nflo328 » June 28th, 2012, 5:42 pm

You guys are seriously amazing!!! Thank you so much for even taking the time to read this, much less sharing such helpful feedback. I really appreciate all of the advice! It has certainly made my query much stronger!

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Brian_H
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Re: Query: Humorous Women's Fiction

Post by Brian_H » June 28th, 2012, 7:01 pm

Although this is not really my genre, I enjoyed this Query and thought it was very well done.
I do have a few nitpicky things, most of which I think have already been said.

1. "complete at"... I've read blogs from agents who get miffed at tiny things like the word complete. It's implied that your story is complete or you wouldn't be sending a query or know the final word count. To me, this one little thing would not keep me from asking for pages, but why take the chance?

2. This book offers a witty... You're telling here and not showing; also a pet peeve of some agents. The rest of the query is so strong I don't think you need to do any selling this late anyway. I'd consider dropping that whole last line. While it could be argued that 7.3M is your target audience, I'm not part of that 7.3 million and I'd still read it.

3. misfiring on all cylinders... I believe the fact that the term is "firing on all cylinders" makes me stumble on this. Whatever the reason, it reads awkwardly to me. I'm sure it is intentional as your query is so precisely written. Maybe it's witty, and even a little bit charming from a chauvinistic viewpoint (how cute that the women's fiction author got a car reference wrong) but it's the ONLY part of your pitch that tripped me up. Consider changing it?

Otherwise it’s awesome. Id' wish you good luck, but I don't think you need it.
It always seems impossible until it's done.

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cheekychook
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Re: Query: Humorous Women's Fiction

Post by cheekychook » June 28th, 2012, 9:26 pm

Actually "complete" is a word agents very much want to see in a query. They do not assume the work is already complete unless you tell them so because so many (inexperienced) writers do query projects when the only thing that's actually complete is the query letter and the first few chapters or most of a draft. Definitely leave in the sentence "complete at..." Leaving it out will make the agent question if the story is actually done and ready to go.
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