Sunday, October 7, 2012

Query letter for Partyin' on the Plantation

  It is quite possible that this is the worst query letter ever written. I may well have broken every rule. I would love to hear from those who have written successful query letters and those who just might have an opinion on the book I am querying. I will try to develop a tough skin about this and learn from your critique. I Googled agents who like Southern Fiction and those that are accepting new authors for my list of potential agents. Suggestions?

Dear Ms. _____:
I would appreciate your considering representing me as my literary agent.
Partyin’ on the Plantation so intrigued my friend Cassandra King Conroy that she offered to take me to New York to go door to door to publishing houses until we found someone who was as taken with the novel as she was. Swimming with Serpents, just released, historical fiction based on the Creek Indian War, was taken by Mercer University Press about then and we set that trip aside.
Synopsis of Partyin’ on the Plantation
Picture two Southern sisters long estranged. Then the death of Dr. Sophia Palmer Ransom’s husband brings sister Dabney Palmer Rankin to their grandfather’s plantation, now owned by Sophia, a successful New Orleans cardiologist, and the two re-establish the bonds of their childhood. For the moment. Long enough to finagle their way onto the Dish It Network and become stars with their very own show, Partyin’ on the Plantation -- though they cannot cook!
Their show captures the imagination of the nation with their array of famous guest cooks, the interaction of the multicultural cast of Soul Sisters, Dabney’s quirky sense of humor, and their ingenious ideas for entertaining on the plantation. Eventually their grandmother’s garden gets replanted with a little help from the Master Gardeners in the area, inspiring individual Victory Gardens that the sisters visit and award prizes. Who knew that the Saks Fifth Avenue quality gentlemen attracted by the Mint Juleps served at the Five O-Clock Somewhere soiree presided over by the two sisters would make Dabney (now a geriatric sex symbol on the verge of having her very first novel published with Fabio on the cover!) the target of a homicidal maniac.
Plan for a series based on Partyin’ on the Plantation
Partyin’ on the Plantation is semi-Southern Gothic contemporary women’s fiction of 89,794 words humorously geared toward the post-menopausal demographic inspired by my grandfather’s plantation house in Wilcox County, Alabama. Like Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County there are many tales to be told about folks in Palmer County, Alabama. I plan a series of mysteries based on these characters to evolve from their visits to local gardens (similar to the British mysteries Rosemary and Thyme), culinary activities (Dabney pays well for Grandma’s recipes, helping those in need while meeting lots of interesting folks living and dead), Dabney’s son’s online sporting goods store, Adam Afield, and hunting business, and Dabney’s genealogy hobby.
Recommendations by well-known authors
"I was hooked from the first scene, one of the most intriguing, and funniest, I've ever read. With this rollicking novel, Sharman Ramsey shines as THE bright new star in Southern fiction.” Cassandra King, author of The Sunday Wife and Same Sweet Girls

“Sharman Ramsey writes with the full-frontal charm of a women so in love with her culture that she makes you love it more. Partyin' on the Plantation celebrates all that is wonderful in the South, past, present and future: food, friends, and family, with a spice of intrigue, a dash of history, and many pauses for laughter.” Janis Owens
I have already begun the sequel to this novel which has become a parallel plot using the situation developed in Partyin’ on the Plantation to interweave with a paranormal vision of a past life that leads to an adventure in the Mayan ruins of El Waka Peru, Guatemala, where a young man’s life lies in the balance.
I am the author of two historical novels, Swimming with Serpents, published by Mercer University Press (2012) with a contract on the sequel, Nest of Vipers, to be published by Mercer in 2013. I am a genealogist whose discovery of my Native American heritage inspired those novels. As the result of those novels, I have become a member of the faculty of the Chatauqua Assembly in DeFuniak Springs and was recently on a panel at the Southern Independent Booksellers Association.
I have degrees in Education and History from the University of Alabama and Troy University, have served as an adjunct professor and am a former radio talk show host. My website focuses on genealogy, Southern recipes, history, the Southern Monet Garden, culture, manners and etiquette and has 6000 to 8000 visitors a month.
My publicist is Kathie Bennett of Magic Time Literary Agency.
I appreciate your consideration.

At this point different agents request pages from the novel. 

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