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Author Topic: Query Shark: #189-revised  (Read 7231 times)

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Query Shark: #189-revised
« on: June 15, 2011, 08:12:24 PM »

#189-revised

Dear QueryShark: <br /><br />Finally, the answer to the burning question of the ages: just how did the seven Gilligan’s Island castaways end up on the Minnow together anyway? Why would a millionaire couple be taking a three-hour tour on such a boat in the first place, let alone with a farm girl, a professor, and a movie star? <br /><br />The commercial fiction IF NOT FOR THE COURAGE answers these questions and more. <br /><br />IF NOT FOR THE COURAGE adheres strictly to the legal definition of parody, and thus uses derivative characters under the fair use doctrine. Nevertheless, parodying our beloved seven stranded castaways might very possibly cause a stir. Are you afraid of a bit of controversy? If not, then read on…<br /><br /><div style="color: blue;"><br /></div><div style="color: blue;">And here's where I stop reading.&nbsp; It's clear you don't understand how this works.&nbsp; This isn't controversial. There's NOTHING controversial here.&nbsp; What you've got here is a novel based on characters created by someone else, using their names, and their situation.&nbsp; If you think it's parody and protected by fair use go ahead and publish it yourself.&nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div style="color: blue;"><br /></div><div style="color: blue;">What you're asking in a query letter is if I will represent it for sale to a publisher.&nbsp; And the people who decide whether it's parody and fair use is NOT the author.&nbsp; It's the legal department at BigBucksPublishing.&nbsp; And those guys are paid a lot of money to keep their employer out of court.</div><div style="color: blue;"><br /></div><div style="color: blue;">This won't pass muster with them.&nbsp; I absolutely guarantee this.&nbsp; The reason is that even IF this is fair use, the creators of the television show can sue you for infringement. It doesn't matter if you are right: court costs will kill you.</div><div style="color: blue;"><br /></div><span style="color: blue;">Your opinion doesn't matter here.</span><br /><br />The body of Ginger Grant’s Hollywood agent, Charles Schwartz, washes up on Sand Island in Honolulu. Detectives Steve McDonald and Danny Wilson are on the case. Their investigation quickly focuses on the seven future castaways, who all have a motive to knock off Schwartz. <br /><br />Movie star Ginger Grant, B-movie actress who tried sleeping her way to the top, and who is having an affair with Thurston Howell III. Did she kill her agent because he couldn’t get her A-movie roles?<br /><br />Jonas Grumby, aka Skipper, and brain damaged simpleton Gilligan, gay lovers who were the last to see Schwartz alive. Schwartz was responsible for Gilligan’s head injury. Perhaps they wanted revenge?<br /><br />Mrs. Howell, socialite and Nazi collaborator with her Uncle Franz Müller, pursuing the secret island Santou reputed to have guano with miraculous healing powers. Perhaps they wanted Schwartz dead for being a member of the Jewish family who runs the department store that’s the chief rival to Howell’s?<br /><br />Or maybe Mr. Howell killed Schwartz to end the blackmail resulting from pictures taken of him and Grumby in a compromising encounter years before, during Howell’s “wild oats” phase?<br /><br />Or perhaps Schwartz was murdered for keeping Santou a secret during World War II. So secret the Japanese and the Germans both coveted it. And it’s still secret in 1964, when our story takes place… Even though the Howells own it… And exiled Nazis from South America still want it…<br /><br />McDonald and Wilson eventually finger Professor Roy Hinkley. Hinkley’s anger gets the better of his superior intellect, as he holds a grudge against Schwartz for years for depriving him of sufficient quantities of the magical guano for his scientific tests. <br /><br />And then there’s the Howells’ son Thirsty, who wants his father out of the way so that he can take over the Howell oil business. He hopes Ginger can talk some sense into his father, but then Uncle Franz comes up with a better plan: maroon the elder Howell on Santou Island.<br /><br />Thirsty recruits his college girlfriend Mary Ann Summers, a huge Ginger Grant fan, to talk Ginger and his father into a secret trip to an exclusive resort. Captained by Skipper Grumby and his first mate Gilligan, of course. But the conspirators’ carefully laid plans go awry when Mrs. Howell gets wind of her husband’s infidelities and joins the voyage… then Hinkley is convinced he’ll finally be able to collect his coveted guano, so he comes along… and Mary Ann doesn’t want to be left out, so she jumps on board as well…<br /><br />This parallel novel is complete at 56,000 words. For more information on the novel, please see its Web page at (redacted)<br /><br />I have written hundreds of nonfiction articles, white papers, and other pieces over the last twenty years, and I coauthored the books (redacted) IF NOT FOR THE COURAGE is my first novel.<br /><br />I am sending you this query because buzz sells books, and Query Shark is the first step to building buzz.<br /><br /><span style="color: blue;">This is utter horse*****.&nbsp; Who do you think reads this blog? Writers looking for query help. This is the last place you'll find buzz being built. </span><br /><br />I’m attaching the prologue and first chapter. Thank you for your time and consideration.<br /><br /><div style="color: blue;">Don't ever attach anything unless the agent website specifically says "attach". Paste all the requested items into the body of the email.&nbsp; This is a no-exceptions rule.</div><div style="color: blue;"> </div><span style="color: blue;">Form rejection.</span><br /><br />--------------------- <br />Dear QueryShark:<br /><br />Finally, the answer to the burning question of the ages: just how did the seven Gilligan’s Island castaways end up on the Minnow together anyway? Why would a millionaire couple be taking a three-hour tour on such a boat in the first place, let alone with a farm girl, a professor, and a movie star? <br /><div style="color: blue;"><br /></div><div style="color: blue;"><br /></div><div style="color: blue;">And here's where I stop reading.  The characters from Gilligan Island, indeed the characters in every television show are covered by copyright.  You can't just use them in a book cause you want to.  You need permission from the copyright owner.  In the case of Gilligan's Island it's Turner Broadcasting.</div><div style="color: blue;"><br /></div><div style="color: blue;"></div><div style="color: blue;"><br /></div><div style="color: blue;">Those departments have forms to fill out and among the questions they ask is Who is going to publish the book; How many copies will be printed; Where will the books be sold and so forth.</div><div style="color: blue;"><br /></div><div style="color: blue;">Without a publishing contract you don't know the answer to any of those questions.</div><div style="color: blue;"><br /></div><div style="color: blue;">However, a publisher or agent knows full well you need those permissions. To take this book on means you'd risk all the work being for nothing if permissions are denied OR they are too expensive (yes, copyright holders charge you money to use their stuff--and YOU pay it, NOT the publisher.)</div><div style="color: blue;"><br /></div><div style="color: blue;">So, if you have already secured permission to use the characters in your book, and you might have, that's the information you start with.  If you haven't you're going to be hard pressed to find anyone who's going to keep reading.</div><br /><br /><br />The commercial fiction IF NOT FOR THE COURAGE answers these questions and more. <br /><br />The body of Ginger Grant’s Hollywood agent, Charles Schwartz, washes up on Sand Island in Honolulu. Steve McGarrett and Dan “Danno” Williams are on the case. Their investigation quickly focuses on the seven future castaways. <br /><br /><div style="color: blue;">Egad.  Hawaii Five-O is a CURRENT television show.  It's one thing to get clearance for an old show. There's no way a television company is going to let you use characters from a current show. They've simply got too much money at stake. They get no benefit from letting you do it, and run the risk of you damaging their (intellectual) property.</div><br />Movie star Ginger Grant, B-movie actress who tried sleeping her way to the top, and who is having an affair with Thurston Howell III. Did she kill her agent because he couldn’t get her A-movie roles?<br /><br />Jonas Grumby, aka Skipper, and brain damaged simpleton Gilligan, gay lovers who were the last to see Schwartz alive. Schwartz was responsible for Gilligan’s head injury. Perhaps they wanted revenge?<br /><br /><br />Mrs. Howell, socialite and Nazi collaborator with her Uncle Franz, pursuing the secret island Santou reputed to have guano with miraculous healing powers. Perhaps they wanted Schwartz dead for being a member of the Jewish family who runs the department store that’s the chief rival to Howell’s?<br /><br />Or maybe Mr. Howell killed Schwartz to end the blackmail resulting from pictures taken of him and Grumby in a compromising encounter years before?<br /><br /><div style="color: blue;">I thought Mr. Howell was having an affair with Ginger?</div><br />Perhaps it was Professor Roy Hinkley, who blames Schwartz for depriving him of sufficient quantities of the magical guano for his scientific tests?<br /><br />What about the Howells’ son Thirsty, who wants his father out of the way so that he can take over the Howell oil business?<br /><br />Or perhaps Schwartz was murdered for keeping Santou a secret during World War II. So secret the Japanese and the Germans both coveted it. And it’s still secret in 1964, when our story takes place… Even though the Howells now own it… And exiled Nazis from South America still want it…. <br /><br />This parallel novel is complete at 56,000 words. While the characters are derivative, the story is entirely original. For more information on the novel, please see its Web page (redacted)<br /><br /><br />I have written hundreds of nonfiction articles, white papers, and other pieces over the last twenty years, and I coauthored the books (redacted)(Hayden Books, 1996), (redacted) (SAMS Publishing, 2002), and (redacted) (John Wiley &amp; Sons, 2006). IF NOT FOR THE COURAGE is my first novel.<br /><br /><br />I am sending  this query to you because IF NOT FOR THE COURAGE lacks a single protagonist, and thus isn't amenable to the standard query letter template. So, if I can get your attention with this query I know I'm on the right track.<br /><br /><div style="color: blue;">The form isn't the problem here. It's the entire novel.&nbsp;</div><div style="color: blue;"><br /></div><div style="color: blue;">And you haven't answered the question you started with: how did the characters get on the boat. This is all set up and possible motivation for killing the agent (as if anyone needs motivation to kill an agent.)&nbsp;</div><div style="color: blue;"><br /></div><div style="color: blue;">Even forgetting the clearance problem, you still need an emotionally satisfying ending to the story and it's not "they get stranded on a desert island for seven years." In other words, you have to solve the crime.&nbsp;</div><div style="color: blue;"><br /></div><div style="color: blue;">That means that whoever gets killed is the natural focus of the query:<i> lots of people have motive to kill Charles Schwartz</i> is probably a better way to start the query, and then focus on the relationship each of the castaways has with the agent, and their motive to kill him.&nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div style="color: blue;"><br /></div><div style="color: blue;">And who solves the crime? If the castaways solve it in unison, you can simply refer to them in the collective sense.&nbsp; Otherwise, the character who solves the crime is the prime candidate for protagonist.</div><br />I’m attaching the prologue and first chapter. <strike>I’m looking forward to your response!</strike> Thank you for your time and consideration<br /><div style="color: blue;"><br /></div><div style="color: blue;">I'm pretty sure you're not looking forward to this response, but your optimism is rather sweet.  </div><br /><br />Sincerely,<div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/4812909700950069050-3620605214394658879?l=queryshark.blogspot.com' alt='' /></div>
Source: #189-revised

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