Posted by Lauren Ruth
The following is a query critique. Comments, suggestions and discussion are welcome and we hope you join in. I can only offer one opinion. The author of the query and I would love to hear yours.
Dear Ms. Ruth:
According to our society, few people follow rules in regards to etiquette and manners. Do you want to know why? You are giving me the opportunity to say, “No.”
Today’s philosophy states that rules are made to be broken. What if etiquette and manners were made to be fun?
I’m not sure how the two sentences above relate to each other. They are two thoughts, loosely related, that do not build on or complement each other. I worry that your manuscript will be hard to follow.
Not fun, but saucy. Not saucy, but provocative. Well which is it? Fun, saucy or provocative? If you can’t decide, then how can I expect your writing to be authorial?
The proposed title of our book is, [redacted].
At this point in your query, I’m still not entirely certain what your book is about. Is this a how-to guide on etiquette? Is it a discussion about what manners mean to and say about society?
Being two young business women, who have played the game, (what game?) observed the rules and conquered relationships (friend and foe), we also have the knowledge and humor to address these issues beginning with Provocative Manners and continuing in several future books.
I’m not so sure that being businesspeople who have had interpersonal relationships uniquely qualifies you to write a book on etiquette. If you have the knowledge, I would like to know how and where you obtained such knowledge, and see a demonstration of it, not just be told that you have it.If you have the humor to write such a book, I do not see it here in the query, and voice is very important in both your manuscript and query.
Where should we start? You’re asking me? No, no…you should be telling me. You’re the authors!
Let’s cover the general basics which you will find in [redacted]. In a society where there is no common sense, we are here to dish it out!
Yes, we absolutely should do that…but then you don’t. Instead, you go right into your bio, leaving me wondering what those basics are.
With college degrees in Hospitality Development, Event Planning and Political Science, such a background gives us the starting criteria to educate our readers.
We do not want you to have the “starting criteria.” We want you to be experts.
Being particularly observant, and keenly critical, has given us the knowledge to write this book and with life’s experiences to intertwine the humor for both men and women.
This is not a credential. Many people are observant and critical. What makes you an expert on your subject?
A few chapter titles include “Cleavage, a Woman’s Best Friend or Worst Enemy”, “Hospitality is Dead”, “Sauciness In and Out of the Bedroom” and “Business Manners”.
These chapter titles confuse me. What is this book about?
Readers are ready for a book where manners do not have to be boring and stereotypical; etiquette can be funny and sarcastic while bringing out a saucy edge.
Please respond with the self-addressed stamped envelope. What self-addressed stamped envelope?
Thank you for your consideration and time. We look forward to hearing from you!
Tags: author credentials, disjointed query, dos and donts, Lauren Ruth, making your query interesting, making your query stand out, nonfiction queries, platform, queries, query, query example, query problems, querydice, rejection, slush pile, standard query format, voice in a query, writing