Wednesday, March 22, 2017

An Agent's Inbox #28

Dear Agent,

A Knight of the Blood is an urban fantasy targeted at adults and is complete at 90,134 words. It is intended as the first of a series, but works well as a stand-alone.

An ancient blood war rips Griffin’s life apart. Both sides want his blood. He must choose who gets it. Sometimes fate sucks.

What fresh hell must Griffin endure? A monster that can’t possibly exist, a man with impossible powers, and an ancient war raging beneath the veneer of civilization; these are unveiled to Griffin as he is recruited into the Order, a covert organization dedicated to the preservation of mankind. He will begin to explore his own untapped potential and face an enemy of his own making, more deadly than any ever faced by the Order.

Monsters. Heroes. Cinnamon. These are the things that Griffin is exposed to as he searches for the answers to questions that haunt him. Who his real parents were, why they left him, and what the h*** was that thing that just ate his adoptive father?

Griffin must discover his own hidden power, risk his life and love, and learn to lead a group of superhuman guerilla fighters descended from ancient knights. If he succeeds, the world spins on unaware. If he fails, well, he won’t be here to worry about what happens then.

Stephen Roth at [redacted] is my critique/editing partner. He is the published author of A Plot For Pridemore. I also have connections with T.K. Barber, author and PR intern for Inklings Literary.

My marketing plan includes a strong social media presence, placement in several local bookstores with local author platforms, book signings, participation at book festivals and literary conferences as a vendor/speaker, YouTube videos, print advertisement and Amazon feature placement.

My previous novel, The Harrowing, won Notable Indie Book of the Year from Shelf Unbound Magazine, a B.R.A.G. medallion from IndieBRAG.com and a Pitch Perfect Pick from Underground Book Reviews.

I am the father of two boys, husband to a writer/PR intern and human to a crazy cat. I love reading, writing, and Oxford commas.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

K.W.B.


A KNIGHT OF THE BLOOD

It was dark. Really dark. And foggy. Asher felt like he was trying to breathe soup. Some kind of nasty broth like they serve you in the hospital. Food designed to be bad so you’d want to get better and go home. It was that kind of night. It wrapped around Asher, embracing him.

He moved through it with a fluid grace. His prey was elusive, but he would find it, and he would kill it. His eyes pierced the darkness, laying bare a landscape ghosted pale with moonlight. That was enough for Asher.

He blazed across the forested countryside like a painter’s brush across a canvas, swift and sure. The humid night air stroked his skin with the feather-light caresses of a lover. The black sky arced overhead, broken by the twinkling of a myriad of stars.

“Ugh,” he said. His nose wrinkled in distaste. Blood. He hated the smell of blood. His hound dog nose led him to the source. A short distance to the left of his original path, he found the body.

“D***,” he said.

She was so young. She had been mercilessly mauled. The d***** brute hadn’t even pretended to make a meal out of her, it had simply shredded her like pork and left her to rot. It was nothing less than murder. He crouched beside the corpse. The sharp, ferrous scent of her blood assaulted him. His nostrils flared. He closed his eyes and sighed. The women were the worst. He could pretend to himself that men had a fighting chance.

6 comments:

Dustin A. said...

This is an interesting concept.

I like the sarcastic tone of the query, but it took me a few reads to understand it was humour. I would suggest tightening up the story part. What does Griffin want and what is standing in his way to get it?

Not sure why you included "Stephen Roth at [redacted] is my critique/editing partner..." as these connections don't really factor into querying other agents.

1st page
Remove "It was that kind of night. It wrapped around Asher, embracing him."


Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

Really fast-paced, exciting query! It wasn't concrete enough for me to really get a sense of the stakes. I actually had to re-read several times to try to parse what Griffin was really after. Also, are you sure it's an adult novel and not YA? The query read YA to me.

Fun first page!

Lonna Seibert said...

This sounds really interesting! I feel like the query is a little on the long side. I'm not sure you need the info about your connections and critique partners. That doesn't really sell your query to an agent. And your bio at the end should focus more on why you're the one to write this book and your writing experience, not your family, even though they sound lovely.

I love your first 250. It really drew me in and made me want to read more. I did notice that when you first describe the air, it's something rather unpleasant, and then again, it is caressing. Not sure why, but those contradictory statements were distracting to me. Also don't think it's necessary to mention the smell of the blood twice, in two successive paragraphs. Just to tighten it up.

Good luck to you!

Chris Owens said...

I like the concept, and the pithy voice from the excerpt. It sounds a bit like R.S. Belcher's Brotherhood of the Wheel, which I enjoyed quite a bit.

I agree that the query runs long. I haven't seen a query before that includes a marketing plan, so I would suggest started with that.

One of the other comments noted that you listed critique partner and connections. Again, it's not something I've seen in other queries, but a few months ago I attended a query workshop. The agent who conducted it said if you have a contact with a big enough name that a blurb from them could help sell the book, you should definitely include them in your query. I'm not sure if these names would be big enough to make a difference, but I'd say leave them in if you think they'll help.

This sounds like a fun read. Good luck!

Kenneth W. Barber said...

Thanks for the feeback, everyone! The critique partner and marketing plan were requested by the publisher for whom this query is intended. I'll look at tightening up the query to give a better indication of the stakes. Great advice!

The Agent said...

Good job giving the genre and word count right up front though I'd love to see you say more about the book in the first sentence to give me a feel for exactly what kind of Urban Fantasy this is - even if it's just the city or the time period?

Your next sentence feels a bit too vague - again, what city does this take place in? What time period?

Monsters. Heroes. Cinnamon (what?) this is interesting only because it feels completely out of place tell me more about this - it's the quirky things that will often hook an agent and so far nothing in this query felt very fresh until that!

I do think that this query needs work - it's a bit long and I think you could condense the information into fewer paragraphs. Plus I'd like to know more about Griffin as a person and what city this is in.

I'll read on to see what the voice is like.

The text:

The first paragraph is interesting and definitely sets the tone. I'm intrigued enough to keep reading.

The second paragraph was less successful - "his prey was elusive" feels to general - what or who is he hunting? Kill what? Give us more details.

There is too much vagueness here - try to tighten your prose and give us more sensory details. Where is he and what exactly is going on? And who is Asher (as opposed to Griffin?) I like the humor here and there are elements of good writing, but in my opinion this text still needs work.