Query Critique Friday - Jane Still

Last week I promised free query critique fridays....well, here it is!

Each week I'll post one query in its original form and below it, the revision.

Jane Still was brave enough to be my very first volunteer. In her defense, she wrote her query very quickly so she could be part of my original contest.

The Original

Taking six children to see Santa every year and watching them go from screaming in horror one year to complete adulation the next prompted me to write Santa Claws where humorous childish fears are conquered.

The young child in this story lives in a world where Christmas is bright colored lights and choo-choo trains that chase round each Christmas tree. He walks down the street in wonder as sweet white and bright red candy canes are stuck to every smile.

As he enters a department store, a mean old man ho-ho-hoes right up to him and scares the tears right from his eyes.

Later that night as his Dad explains the wonder of Santa Claus he has his own questions. What kind of claws does Santa have, and is it true, does he keep one big giant list that he sticks children to?

Santa Claws is 738 words of fun and excitement for the entire family and is the third book I am submitting for publication.

My first book, Mother’s Daze, was introduced to the national market in March 2010 by the first publisher I sent it to. It sold 10,000 copies in the first 3 months. Mother's Daze 911 will be out March 2011.

The Revision

Dear Agent,

I have written a humorous Christmas picture book. SANTA CLAWS is 700 words of fun and excitement and could best be compared to ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas.’

Most children wonder how Santa can travel around the world in one night or how he can fit all those toys in one sack. My little boy wants to know how Santa sticks children to his Giant list—and the one that worries him the most—just how big are Santa’s Claws?

I have been writing for several years and my articles and stories have appeared regularly in two local newspapers. My first book, MOTHER’S DAZE, was published by Cedar Fort in Utah. It sold 10,000 copies in the first three months. Cedar Fort has already scheduled the sale of MOTHER’S DAZE 911 for March 2011.


So, what do you think? Is the revision stronger? What do think the biggest improvement is?

* If you'd like to have your query critiqued, post it below and I might just choose yours! *


The revision is much stronger. The other version sounded like portions of the ms had been cut and pasted into the query. Great job, Amie.
Terri Tiffany said…
It is much stronger and better--the first kind of was all over and you tightened it up plus made it so much more professional sounding. I know you are good at these!
Amie B said…
thanks ladies!

while i might be able to help others see the needed revision, i think it's even more important to recognize that jane took the advice in stride and did the revision herself!

*claps* yay jane!
Kittie Howard said…
Amie, the second version is much stronger. Have a great weekend.
Amie Kaufman said…
Definitely tighter on the second one. Shorter is almost always sweeter when it comes to pitches!
MT said…
I agree with the others - much better. It's cleaner, more to the point. The books sounds like a great idea too.
KO said…
The second one is cleaner and more concise-- I like it!

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