I need feedback on my query letter

Dear Agent,

I am writing to you because of your interest on a new take on vampires. My novel, Clan of Ash, is a 74,00-word YA paranormal story about the struggle to survive against a society that wants you to fail.
For seventeen-year-old Renelle Montessori, the death of her father has always haunted her. Stacked on with the guilt of being the one responsible makes daily life almost unbearable. When she saves the life of an innocent bystander, she never expected to get drawn into a secret world when she comes face-to-face with the dhampir, Alastair.

Alastair van Edema knows the only way to survive is to adapt. Given only four months to find his Sire or die, he won’t let anything stop him and enlisting a human for help won’t be the last rule he breaks. For Alastair, Renelle represents a sliver of hope while Alastair embodies the chance for Renelle to finally put some demons to rest.

However, in the unforgiving world of vampires and hunters, danger lurks everywhere. With the help of unlikely allies, together, Alastair and Renelle must deal with a jealous vampire and a ruthless hunter as they try to uncover the sinister truth about Alastair’s creation. But time is running out and it’s not only Alastair’s life on the line. When Renelle’s life is put in danger, Alastair must decide if it’s his life he wants to save or hers.

I have a degree in creative writing and I’m currently working towards my teaching certificate. I’ve written about my love of D&D and video games for Gamer Nationz: Welcome Gamer under the penname: GreyCoffee701. My free time is spent snuggling with my cat, playing Dungeons and Dragons, games, and writing on Wattpad. Thanks so much for your time and consideration.

Not being mean – I swear. Honest question: What is the new take on vampires? Vampires evading hunters, vampires partnering with (and falling for) humans, have been done, done, done.

I realize that this query is for one agent who mentioned wanting a new take on vampires, but a unique approach should be emphasized in ANY vampire query. Vampire is such an incredibly hard sell. You’re going to really, really have to show that your book is completely different from what’s out there.

Is she like his Renfield? Is that the new take?

Also how can a vampire help your MC put demons to rest?

I find it too vague. The Vampire Alistair’s conflict and stakes are way more clear than your MC’s.

Especially since your last line ends with the vampire’s choices, that positions him as your MC.

If he is truly your MC, then start with him, not Renelle.

1 Like

Hey, thanks for the feedback. To me at least, on the new take, is that vampires are actively participating and influencing society around them without people realizing it. For the query, I didn’t know how much of that information to add because I didn’t want it to be too long.
And you’re right, Vampire is hard to sell. I wanted to try the traditional route first before making other publishing decisions, if at all with this one.
Thanks again.

Thanks for replying. I’d say she’s more like his partner in crime. Renelle feels responsible for her father’s death believing she was the cause. In her head, if she helps him, she be saving a life. Does that make sense?

As for the pacing, I’ve been moving things around trying to see what works and doesn’t. And I really appreciate your comments and questions.

This doesn’t appear to be a new take. Anne Rice’s vampires were quietly involved in all parts of society unbeknownst to humans. Lestat even became a rockstar.

But if she helps him she’s not saving a life if he’s technically already dead, and since vampires often take human life she might be creating more death.

Plus this still doesn’t relate back to her father’s death. She would need to learn that she isn’t responsible for his death, Or she would need to no longer care if she was (for example, if she becomes a vamp herself and shuts herself off from normal human emotions).

From this summary I don’t get a sense if that closure is even approached at all.

What POV is the story told in?

I would figure out if that’s something that really drives the book, and if so, then I would definitely emphasize it in the query.

If it isn’t something that can really be focused on (accurately) in the query, you MIGHT want to think about the book itself. The market absolutely is over-saturated. Is it worth reworking the novel to focus on something new and different? Or might it be better to put this one in your back pocket and bring it out after you get an agent with a different book – perhaps when vampires are coming back around in trad pub?

I’m not saying you shouldn’t query this. I’m just spit balling about how to increase your chances in an over-saturated market.

This doesn’t appear to be a new take. Anne Rice’s vampires were quietly involved in all parts of society unbeknownst to humans. Lestat even became a rockstar.

True true. I guess the only thing I have going for me is the fact that it isn’t centered on romance and the main character kills and tortures his enemies.

From this summary I don’t get a sense if that closure is even approached at all.

good to know.
It’s told in 3rd person.

1 Like

Or might it be better to put this one in your back pocket and bring it out after you get an agent with a different book – perhaps when vampires are coming back around in trad pub?

It’s definitely something I’ve been thinking about. I have been keeping an eye on MSWL and agents in general too. I just wanted to see if I could send it out if I wrote a really good query.

1 Like

Yeah, you could definitely query it. I saw in message 8 that there’s no romance in it, and the main character kills and tortures. Those are things that make your story unique. So I would really work to identify those, and see if you can write a killer query that brings those elements out.

Thanks for all the feedback. I really appreciate it. :grinning:

1 Like