Query Hell

I've written a great book. T-rust me! (with a bit of a wink here) but my query sucks. And it's sucked since 2010 when I first took a crack at it. It's either

a. Too writerly, smarty-pants analyzing or justifying the book rather than hooking the reader


b.cliche, silly, overly dramatic,gimmicky because that's what all the query advice says. Dazzle them.

How do you dazzle without being simplistic when you've written a subtle novel?

I can NOT get away from either problem. you've got a mystery and a back story full of cultural observations about an era. I have found a paragraph to focus on the cultural moments explored in the book. That's fine but my hook is never good enough.

And this is taking away from my trying to write another book or just write at all. It's a very prolonged writers block where the query for this book takes all of my mental energy. (And please don't say 'step away', I've stepped away for almost a year now.)

Does anybody else have this problem? When I read my query at a conference this past weekend the two agents listening just stared at me blankly. They thought it was too vague, wasn't allowing enough of the story through.

This can't go on. It sucked up 6 months of my time the first time around and now I am splitting my energies between this and my new business (this was mostly getting back burnered until last week again) but I want the four years of my life I spent writing and rewriting this beloved novel of mine to finally come to a close and see the light of day already. I want it to be published but without a query letter that works, it will never be.

I am looking for some real query help from another writer working in literary fiction or just some ideas on how to get past these 2 polarities outlined above.



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