QUERY: The Exciting Life and Death of The Amazing Henry

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Todd Packer
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QUERY: The Exciting Life and Death of The Amazing Henry

Post by Todd Packer » February 24th, 2010, 2:07 pm

Any feedback is appreciated. I understand that a short story collection is a difficult sell, but hey, it's what I have for now. Thanks.
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Dear [Agent],

The Morelli brothers, Ernie and Vinnie, are not your typical pair of Mafia lifers. On one job they find themselves trapped in an underground bomb shelter under the Hollywood Hills with an eccentric billionaire, then infiltrating the community theatre world on the next. At any given time, they’re the targets of a reformed super villain trying in earnest to turn good or they’re under the watchful eyes of a pair of detectives who resemble two of Shakespeare’s best known characters.

The Exciting Life and Death of The Amazing Henry and Other Stories is a 56,000 word short story collection that chronicles thirteen tales of the Morellis from the day they wait in the car as little boys while their dad whacks the local disgruntled magician… who happens to be a chimpanzee, to the day Vinnie can’t seem to get out of a time warp to tell someone that Ernie was shot and is bleeding to death.

I graduated from [GRADUATE WRITING PROGRAM] in 2005. My fiction and non-fiction has been published in several magazines and websites, including several entries in [SMALL PRESS HUMOR COLLECTION]. An upcoming story from this collection (Barty’s American Diner) is set to be published by [SMALL PUBLISHING COMPANY] this year. I also teach a short story class at [NAME OF SCHOOL]. You can get to know me a bit better at my writing blog, [URL].

Per your request, I’m ready to send you the completed manuscript. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration to represent me and my work. I look forward to hearing from you.

ljkuhnley
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Re: QUERY: The Exciting Life and Death of The Amazing Henry

Post by ljkuhnley » February 24th, 2010, 2:55 pm

Todd,

I know absolutely nothing about queries for short story collections but I just wanted to say that your collection sounds delightful.

The only suggestions I can make are that you might want to mention straight off that this is a short story collection in your letter. If the editors/agents expect a plot summary of a novel, what follows might be a tad confusing.

Good luck with this!

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Ryan
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Re: QUERY: The Exciting Life and Death of The Amazing Henry

Post by Ryan » February 24th, 2010, 3:01 pm

Sounds fun. I like short story compilations. It's nice to sit down and 'finish' something instead of having to come back to it later (the ongoing theme around here).

This is the first I've seen on this forum. I think the structure of the query will be important. Maybe it would be more powerful if you pitched a single story (your favorite) so it would give you a way to give the villain and characters a little depth. Then you can wrap it up by describing the book and a quick rundown of other stories.

Just a few thoughts. Good luck
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aspiring_x
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Re: QUERY: The Exciting Life and Death of The Amazing Henry

Post by aspiring_x » February 24th, 2010, 10:06 pm

Todd Packer wrote:I'm going to give this a whack... but consider the fact that I haven't researched one iota on how to query for a short story collection. So what i tried to do was make it presented more like a novel. Because it seems as though your short stories are so interrelated, that querying it in almost the same format as a novel wouldn't be a bad idea. Anyway, I'm probably wrong. But I wanted to at least try to help. The stories sound fun!---------------------------------
Dear [Agent],

The Morelli brothers, Ernie and Vinnie, are not your typical pair of Mafia lifersthis word threw me off, at first i thought- what the heck is a Mafia lifter... how about goons or cronies or professionals... i don't know my words aren't too great.... Next I would tell about the brothers. Your collection has a glue that binds the whole thing together beyond the stories simply all being written by you, and that glue is the brothers. Sell them to the agent. The connection to the character is the thing that will grasp onto the reader. So, next I'm going to cut and paste and reorder some elements of your query with all the grace of a chimpanzee magician. At the tender ages of five and eight Ernie and Vinnie witness their first hit as they wait in the car as little boys while their dad whacks the local disgruntled magician… who happens to be a chimpanzee. As they grow up, they are drawn into the family business. On one job they find themselves trapped in an underground bomb shelter under the Hollywood Hills with an eccentric billionaire,new sentence Next, then infiltrating they must infiltrate the community theatre world on the next in order to find the snitch responsible fro the death of their uncle Tony.. They bumble through adventure after adventure in an effort to make their father proud. At any given time, All the while,they’re the targets of a reformed super villain trying in earnest to turn good or they’re under asthe watchful eyes of a pair of detectives who resemble two of Shakespeare’s best known characters seek to catch them red handed.

The Exciting Life and Death of The Amazing Henry and Other Stories is a 56,000 word short story collection that chronicles thirteen tales of the Morellis , to the day Vinnie can’t seem to get out of a time warp to tell someone that Ernie was shot and is bleeding to death.

I graduated from [GRADUATE WRITING PROGRAM] in 2005. My fiction and non-fiction has been published in several magazines and websites, including several entries in [SMALL PRESS HUMOR COLLECTION]. An upcoming story from this collection (Barty’s American Diner) is set to be published by [SMALL PUBLISHING COMPANY] this year. I also teach a short story class at [NAME OF SCHOOL]. You can get to know me a bit better at my writing blog, [URL].

Per your request, I’m ready to send you the completed manuscript. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration to represent me and my work. I look forward to hearing from you. I think that this bit sounds professional, but I've read comments where they say that your stuff being ready is a given, and should be excluded.
Good luck!
-vic

GeeGee55
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Re: QUERY: The Exciting Life and Death of The Amazing Henry

Post by GeeGee55 » February 27th, 2010, 10:42 pm

I have no idea how to pitch a short story collection. I think aspiring's suggestion about the Morelli's might make it work. On another note, how about putting the Morellis in the title? The Amazing Morelli Brothers - sounds like a circus act, lol. I just think you need something more...

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