When I approached a group of writers to evaluate my pitch for a manuscript, it turned out that what I had compiled was too long to be a pitch, too short to be a synopsis and not informative enough to be a query letter.
Of these three, a query letter is perhaps the most important. After all, most literary agents ask for a query letter, or a query letter and part of the manuscript. Very seldom do they ask for a pitch or a synopsis.
I do wonder though how important a well written query letter is. I mean, what did the query letter to “Fifty Shades of Grey” looked like …
I’ve written a book about sex, sex and more sex. No ordinary sex, but kinky sex. Interested to see the manuscript?
The query letter might have had bad grammar and a few typos, but which agent would turn down a manuscript like that?
Was the book any good? The general consensus is that it’s a bad, and not just bad, laughable. One reader was convinced a 16-year-old had written this. Yet this manuscript was picked up by a publisher, sold a few million copies and was turned into a movie.
Let’s look at the most accurate review …
Thanks to my ever-useful Kindle search function, I have discovered that Ana says "Jeez" 81 times and "oh my" 72 times. She "blushes" or "flushes" 125 times, including 13 that are "scarlet," 6 that are "crimson," and one that is "stars and stripes red." (I can't even imagine.) Ana "peeks up" at Christian 13 times, and there are 9 references to Christian's "hooded eyes," 7 to his "long index finger," and 25 to how "hot" he is (including four recurrences of the epic declarative sentence "He's so freaking hot."). Christian's "mouth presses into a hard line" 10 times. Characters "murmur" 199 times, "mutter" 49 times, and "whisper" 195 times (doesn't anyone just talk?), "clamber" on/in/out of things 21 times, and "smirk" 34 times. Christian and Ana also "gasp" 46 times and experience 18 "breath hitches," suggesting a need for prompt intervention by paramedics. Finally, in a remarkable bit of symmetry, our hero and heroine exchange 124 "grins" and 124 "frowns"... which, by the way, seems an awful lot of frowning for a woman who experiences "intense," "body-shattering," "delicious," "violent," "all-consuming," "turbulent," "agonizing" and "exhausting" orgasms on just about every page.
One reviewer wondered how many talented authors’ work was turned down in favor of this trash. Is it any wonder that so many writers give up?