Query: The Soul Baby the Trickster and the Golden Buddha

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Michael Roland
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Query: The Soul Baby the Trickster and the Golden Buddha

Post by Michael Roland » October 29th, 2010, 8:43 am

Hello All,

New here, seems like a great forum. The following is a first draft query for my book which falls into the nebulous territory of creative nonfiction. Looking forward to your input. Thank you.

CURRENT REVISION BOTTOM OF PAGE TWO

Dear Mr. Ms. Agent,

Ghosts, shamans, and divine beings are all watching as Michael Roland unwittingly places the Brazilian amethyst on his forehead and tries to go to sleep. Nodding off slightly, his mind wanders into uncharted territory and when it comes back, it will never be the same again.

The Soul Baby the Trickster and the Golden Buddha starts at the beginning of one man's spiritual voyage. It chronicles the missteps with crystals, the run ins with black shamans and the eye opening and heart bursting connections with divine entities. Michael journeys from normality to strange visions to direct confrontations with spiritual beings and finally is showered with an enlightening divine essence that changes him forever.

Straddling the line between fantasy and reality, The Soul Baby the Trickster and the Golden Buddha presents a real life story of supernatural experiences. An entertaining and spiritually enlightening read, at 56,000 words will appeal to readers of James Redfield, Don MIguel Ruiz, or Deepack Chopra.

I have been an acupuncturist for fifteen years, worked with Dr. Andrew Weil's Program in Integrative Medicine and the University of Arizona and currently lead workshops and seminars, speak at events, and consult privately worldwide.

The Soul Baby the Trickster and the Golden Buddha is a completed manuscript ready for your review. Current projects include, a TV series treatment inspired by the back story of the book; a feature movie treatment for the book, and a mass appeal self-help book, The Happy Pill, Fifteen Minutes to Happiness.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to your reply.

Best Regards,

Michael
Last edited by Michael Roland on November 4th, 2010, 6:54 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Query: The Soul Baby the Trickster and the Golden Buddha

Post by sgf » October 29th, 2010, 10:40 am

Hi Michael,

This a very well written query, but I think it's telling too much, and not showing enough. It tells the reader what the book is about, but it should be showing the reader what happens in the book. I wanted a better sense of the character, what he does, and why he does it. This being creative nonfiction, a genre I'm unfamiliar with, I could be wrong though.



Ghosts, shamans, and divine beings are all watching as Michael Roland unwittingly I'm not sure that this adverb is correctly used here. How can he be unaware of placing this gem on his forehead? Did you really mean that he did it intentionally, but was unaware of the consequences? places the Brazilian amethyst on his forehead and tries to go to sleep. Nodding off slightly, his mind wanders into uncharted territory and when it comes back, it will never be the same again.The rest of this paragraph is good, though the last line, about his mind never being the same again, could be more specific: what happens to his mind, how does he change?

The Soul Baby the Trickster and the Golden Buddha starts at the beginning of one man's spiritual voyage. It chronicles the missteps with crystals, the run ins with black shamans and the eye opening and heart bursting connections with divine entities. Michael journeys from normality to strange visions to direct confrontations with spiritual beings and finally is showered with an enlightening divine essence that changes him forever. This is the paragraph that I thought told too much. Consider showing what happens to Michael. Why is he tinkering with these crystals? What dangers does he face? What are the stakes? How does he affect those around him? The last sentence ends very similarly to the previous paragraph (changes him forever = never be the same again). Again, consider being more specific.

Straddling the line between fantasy and reality, The Soul Baby the Trickster and the Golden Buddha presents a real life story of supernatural experiences.Half the info in this sentence (it's a story of supernatural experiences) is already given in the previous paragraphs. An entertaining and spiritually enlightening readI don't think this part is necessary. The agents will determine for themselves if it's entertaining and/or enlightening; it's unlikely that telling them that it's both will make any difference. , at 56,000 words will appeal to readers of James Redfield, Don MIguel Ruiz, or Deepack Chopra.

The rest of the query letter seems fine to me. Hope this helps!

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Re: Query: The Soul Baby the Trickster and the Golden Buddha

Post by Quill » October 29th, 2010, 8:41 pm

So this is basically a memoir? But with made-up stuff? Like Dan Millman's "Peaceful Warrior"?

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Re: Query: The Soul Baby the Trickster and the Golden Buddha

Post by Michael Roland » October 30th, 2010, 4:24 am

sgf: Thanks for the tips. I will make some changes and repost.

Quill: No made up stuff. In this case "creative" does not mean made up. Genre could be called Narrative Nonfiction, terms seem to be interchangeable. Maybe it is a memoir, but from what I've read, it seems to fall well within Creative or Narrative Nonfiction. Although, narrative nonfiction seems to suggest that the author is writing about someone else, hence my choice to opt for creative nonfiction. Gotta call it something, right?

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Re: Query: The Soul Baby the Trickster and the Golden Buddha

Post by Michael Roland » October 30th, 2010, 7:48 am

OK, let's try this:


Ghosts, shamans, and divine beings are all watching as Michael Roland places the Brazilian amethyst on his forehead and tries to go to sleep. Nodding off slightly, his mind wanders into uncharted territory and when it comes back, it will never be the same again.

Seeing his first apparition after the amethyst incident was scary, but when he sees the slimy green troll that’s not really there, Michael knows he needs help. Not knowing who to turn to, he visits an old Indian medicine man.

Thinking he is back to normal, Michael continues his work as an acupuncturist, but things are different now. Colored lights keep falling through the ceiling and voices from unseen entities speak to him.
He meets a British woman with a James Bond accent and a wool business suit who just happens to be a spiritual healer recently in from Brazil. Michael’s spiritual journey is just beginning and he has no idea of the surprising destination.

The Soul Baby the Trickster and the Golden Buddha is a true story. This 56,000 word book will appeal to readers of James Redfield, Don MIguel Ruiz, Deepack Chopra or Carlos Castaneda.

I have been an acupuncturist for fifteen years, worked with Dr. Andrew Weil's Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona and currently lead workshops and seminars, speak at events, and consult privately worldwide.

The completed manuscript is ready for your review. Current projects include, a TV series treatment inspired by the book; a feature movie treatment based on the true story, and a mass appeal self-help book, The Happy Pill, Fifteen Minutes to Happiness.

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Re: Query: The Soul Baby the Trickster and the Golden Buddha

Post by airball » October 31st, 2010, 12:54 am

Michael Roland wrote:OK, let's try this:


Ghosts, shamans, and divine beings watch as Michael Roland places the Brazilian (does the Brazillian-ness matter? Not charmed? Magical? Possessed? amethyst on his forehead and tries to go to sleep. As he nods off slightly, his mind wanders into uncharted territory and when it What is "it"? His mind? Reads a little funny. comes back, it will never be the same again. I'm not sure what has just happened. His mind is different? How does he know? What do the ghosts, shamans and divine beings have to do with anything?

Seeing his first apparition What first apparition? after the amethyst incident Not clear what the "amethyst incident" was. was scary, but when he sees the slimy green troll that’s not really there, Michael knows he needs help. Not knowing who to turn to, he visits an old Indian medicine man. I feel like there is an intervening paragraph missing. What apparition? What incident? Why would a medicine man be his first stop? It sure wouldn't be most people's.

Thinking he is back to normal, After what? Again, is something missing?Michael continues his work as an acupuncturist, but things are different now. Colored lights keep falling through the ceiling and voices from unseen entities speak to him. Significance of this? What do they say?
He meets a British woman with a James Bond accent and a wool business suit who just happens to be a spiritual healer recently in from Brazil. Michael’s spiritual journey is just beginning and he has no idea of the surprising destination. Transition is really quite rough. I also would hesitate before describing a woman as having a James Bond accent because, well, he's a guy, and she's not. Why was she wearing wool in Brazil? Why does the wool matter?

The Soul Baby the Trickster and the Golden Buddha is a true story. Punctuate? This 56,000 word book will appeal to readers of James Redfield, Don MIguel Ruiz, Deepack Chopra or AND - don't limit yourself Carlos Castaneda.

I have been an acupuncturist for fifteen years, worked with Dr. Andrew Weil's Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona and currently lead workshops and seminars, speak at events, and consult privately worldwide. Is this relevant to the book? Some of it might be, but I doubt most agents have heard of Andrew Weil, and unless he's a writer, they won't care.

The completed manuscript is ready for your review. Current projects include, a TV series treatment inspired by the book; a feature movie treatment based on the true story, and a mass appeal self-help book, The Happy Pill, Fifteen Minutes to Happiness. I'm confused. Is there a TV series or movie in the works?
Overall this has potential, but there are way too many holes here. Try to give the reader a sense of the narrative arc - this feels more like points with nothing connecting them. What is at stake for Michael in this? Why should the reader care?

Good luck!
Sam Thomas
Author of The Midwife's Story: A Mystery due out from St. Martin's Press in 2013
Website: http://www.samthomasbooks.com
Team Blog= http://bloodygoodread.blogspot.com

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Re: Query: The Soul Baby the Trickster and the Golden Buddha

Post by Michael Roland » October 31st, 2010, 6:54 am

Airball,

Thank you for the insightful and helpful comments.

Dr Weil is a number 1 best selling author, cover of Time magazine, etc...

Wow, Queries are hard. Who'd a thunk it? I have already strayed a bit from the truth of the book in the query. It's really difficult to mold real life into a story...and then pitch it. AArrrggh!


Revision to follow.

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Re: Query: The Soul Baby the Trickster and the Golden Buddha

Post by Michael Roland » October 31st, 2010, 11:34 am

OK, Take two:


Michael Roland had a sense that there was more to reality than meets the eye, but it was just a whim when he placed the Brazilian amethyst on his forehead. He didn’t expect to have a secret door within his mind irrevocably opened. Nor did he know that his spiritual voyage had just been jumpstarted.

Seeing an apparition in his hallway was the first astonishing clue that something had changed, but when he sees the slimy green troll that’s not really there, Michael knows he needs help. Believing he is still sane, Michael visits an old Cherokee medicine man instead of his first thought, a university shrink.

After few taps and brushes with an eagle feather, the medicine man tells Michael that he has relieved his immediate problem. He stops seeing ghosts. Thinking things are back to normal, Michael continues his work as an acupuncturist, but things are far from normal. Colored lights start falling through the ceiling from nowhere and patients begin to share their own supernatural experiences with him.

Realizing his journey has begun, Michael travels to Brazil, to England and to the inner reaches of his mind and beyond to successfully reach his destination of spiritual realization.

The book is a true story. At 56,000 words, it will appeal to readers of James Redfield, Don MIguel Ruiz, Deepack Chopra and Carlos Castaneda.

I have been an acupuncturist for fifteen years, worked with Dr. Andrew Weil's Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona and currently lead workshops and seminars, speak at events, and consult privately worldwide.

The completed manuscript is ready for your review.

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Re: Query: The Soul Baby the Trickster and the Golden Buddha

Post by Quill » October 31st, 2010, 1:18 pm

Michael Roland wrote:OK, Take two:


Michael Roland had a sense that there was more to reality than meets the eye, but it was just a whim when he placed the Brazilian amethyst on his forehead. He didn’t expect to have a secret door within his mind irrevocably opened. Nor did he know that his spiritual voyage had just been jumpstarted.

Seeing an apparition in his hallway was the first astonishing clue that something had changed, but when he sees the slimy green troll that’s not really there, Michael knows he needs help. Believing he is still sane, Michael visits an old Cherokee medicine man instead of his first thought, a university shrink.

After few taps and brushes with an eagle feather, the medicine man tells Michael that he has relieved his immediate problem. He stops seeing ghosts. Thinking things are back to normal, Michael continues his work as an acupuncturist, but things are far from normal. Colored lights start falling through the ceiling from nowhere and patients begin to share their own supernatural experiences with him.

Realizing his journey has begun, Michael travels to Brazil, to England and to the inner reaches of his mind and beyond to successfully reach his destination of spiritual realization.

The book is a true story. At 56,000 words, it will appeal to readers of James Redfield, Don MIguel Ruiz, Deepack Chopra and Carlos Castaneda.

I have been an acupuncturist for fifteen years, worked with Dr. Andrew Weil's Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona and currently lead workshops and seminars, speak at events, and consult privately worldwide.

The completed manuscript is ready for your review.
I think more needs to happen in this query.

First paragraph: a man places a stone against his forehead suspecting but not expecting several things.

Second: The man visits a healer, realizing something has changed.

Third: Life returns to normal though not normal.

Fourth: The man realizes there is a journey to realization to be made, and makes it.

(In short, "places, visits, returns, and realizes" just doesn't seem active/exciting enough.) (Verbs tell the story.)

This has been the arc of spiritual awakening through the ages. Here, for all the details on phenomena, there are few specifics about the actual journey.

What makes yours special, that many would want to read it? What conflicts and obstacles and motivations and actions do you present? What is the payoff to the reader, how will it inspire ? How will this book stand out from others in the field?

And be sure to show (illustrate) these things, rather than tell (state) them.

Books in this genre are a hard sell because of these issues. Unless you already have a following in the thousands they must be answered extremely well here.

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Re: Query: The Soul Baby the Trickster and the Golden Buddha

Post by Michael Roland » October 31st, 2010, 2:16 pm

Hi Quill,

Excellent points! Thank you. Makes me think selfpub, my original intention might be the way to go. My following is not yet in the thousands, unless you count facebook.

But, before I give up and relegate my self to the ignominious realm of selfpub, I'm going to give the query a better shot.

The thing I left out is really the most important, whether it is compelling to the reader, I don't know. We will see.

Number three, on its way...TBC

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Re: Query: The Soul Baby the Trickster and the Golden Buddha

Post by Michael Roland » November 2nd, 2010, 9:31 am

Take Three:


It was just a whim when Michael Roland positioned the Brazilian amethyst on his forehead. He had no idea that a secret door within his mind had just been blown wide open, triggering the starting gun on his spiritual journey.

Spotting an apparition in his hallway was the first shocking sign that something had changed, but when he sees the slimy green troll that’s not really there, Michael knows he needs help. Adamant that he is still sane, Michael seeks out an old Cherokee medicine man instead of his first thought, a university shrink.

After few taps and brushes with an eagle feather, the medicine man tells Michael that he has relieved his immediate problem. He stops seeing ghosts. Thinking things are back to normal, Michael continues his work as an acupuncturist, but things are far from normal. Colored lights start falling through the ceiling from nowhere and he begins to see and feel the pain and suffering deep within the hearts of his patients.

Needing to understand what it all means, Michael travels to spiritual Brazil, to haunted England and to the inner reaches of his mind and beyond to find the answer. Accosted by saints and tempted by tricksters, Michael navigates his way toward his surprising destiny.

The book is a true story. At 56,000 words, it will appeal to readers of Marlo Morgan, Don Miguel Ruiz, Deepack Chopra and Carlos Castaneda.

I have been an acupuncturist for fifteen years, worked with Dr. Andrew Weil's Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona and currently lead workshops and seminars, speak at events, and consult privately worldwide.

The completed manuscript is ready for your review.

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Re: Query: The Soul Baby the Trickster and the Golden Buddha

Post by Quill » November 2nd, 2010, 10:30 am

Michael Roland wrote:Take Three:


It was just a whim when Michael Roland positioned the Brazilian amethyst on his forehead. He had no idea that a secret door within his mind had just been blown wide open, triggering the starting gun on his spiritual journey.
Don't you mean "would be blown open". As it is you are saying the door was blown before the whim to position the stone. You are also saying that the blowing of his mind triggered the gun. I think what you mean is that it was the starting gun.

In other words the sequence needs to be straightened out.
Spotting an apparition in his hallway was the first shocking sign that something had changed, but when he sees the slimy green troll that’s not really there, Michael knows he needs help.
No fair changing tense (from "spotting" and "was" to "sees" "that's" and "knows") mid-sentence.

In general all queries should be written in third person present tense.
Adamant that he is still sane, Michael seeks out an old Cherokee medicine man instead of his first thought, a university shrink.
Non-agreement between sentence parts: seeks a medicine man instead of following his first impulse, to see a shrink. Or some such. Seeks this or seeks that. Not seeks man instead of thought.
After few taps and brushes with an eagle feather, the medicine man tells Michael that he has relieved his immediate problem. He stops seeing ghosts.
Confusing switch between "he"s. He (the medicine man), then he (Michael). As written, it sounds like the medicine man stops seeing ghosts.
Thinking things are back to normal,
"things" is too nondescript for a query. Do you mean "life"?
Michael continues his work as an acupuncturist, but things are far from normal.
Repeating "normal", a generic word to begin with, isn't as strong as this could be.
Colored lights start falling through the ceiling from nowhere
I would omit "from nowhere" as unneeded, and as a value judgment (how do you know these lights originated nowhere?)
and he begins to see and feel the pain and suffering deep within the hearts of his patients.
Good. The first concrete evidence of positive change, beyond mere visual phenomena.
Needing to understand what it all means,
"It" just doesn't convey the power you need here. A generic word, like "things".
Michael travels to spiritual Brazil, to haunted England and to the inner reaches of his mind and beyond to find the answer.
Good, but I'd omit "and beyond" as too 'movie poster' and also tending towards both generic and cliche.
Accosted by saints and tempted by tricksters, Michael navigates his way toward his surprising destiny.
Good. Serviceable, though I'm not sure it (and this query as a whole) convey enough of the specialness of your unique journey, as opposed to every other spiritual journey. This query seems to follow the age-old template, and could use a punch at the end. Maybe say something about this "surprising destiny". Or perhaps a detail about obstacles, something to provide tension and conflict (which I hope your book contains) to make it personal and human.
The book is a true story. At 56,000 words, it will appeal to readers of Marlo Morgan, Don Miguel Ruiz, Deepack Chopra and Carlos Castaneda.
As written, you're saying that it will appeal to readers of those authors because of its length.
I have been an acupuncturist for fifteen years, worked with Dr. Andrew Weil's Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona and currently lead workshops and seminars, speak at events, and consult privately worldwide.
This hints that you have a platform. Be prepared to quantify this. It is actually more important in today's non-fiction publishing world, than the author's whose readers this might appeal to.
The completed manuscript is ready for your review.
Thank you for your time and consideration.

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Re: Query: The Soul Baby the Trickster and the Golden Buddha

Post by Michael Roland » November 2nd, 2010, 11:15 am

I think I am going to give up writing and try wrestling bears instead.

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Re: Query: The Soul Baby the Trickster and the Golden Buddha

Post by androidblues » November 2nd, 2010, 12:39 pm

Don't give up, your last attempt was much better. Quill really hit on the important things.
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Re: Query: The Soul Baby the Trickster and the Golden Buddha

Post by LaylaF » November 2nd, 2010, 12:52 pm

Michael,

This is my first time in the query forum and I'm actually not very good at writing them myself so I'm not sure I can help with constructive red-line comments. But I wanted to take a moment and say that I thought your book sounded totally interesting! Especially knowing that it is a true story. It reminds me of some of my favorite books in a similar genre by the author Dan Millman, WAY OF THE PEACEFUL WARRIOR. I've read all his books and I love them! I've heard that he had to self-publish first and then when he became so successful, an agent/publisher picked him up. So, I just wanted to say hang in there, I am intrigued by your story and I'm sure others will be too.
L.

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