The Costanza Query
I got tired of trying to think of clever ways to pitch this, so I decided to pull a George Costanza and do the exact opposite. Ironically this actually seems like my most genuine query ever. Come on, the pessimism and dry humor, doesn’t that have Rogue Mutt written all over it? Damn straight.
You’re the expert when it comes to marketing, so I’m just going to put this plainly. A Hero’s Journey is a 100,000-word novel about a girl who in finding a suit of magic armor learns to become not just a hero, but also a woman. So it’s a coming of age story as well as a superhero story.
Our superhero is Dr. Emma Earl, who earned her PhD at age nineteen by withdrawing from the world and throwing herself into work after her parents died ten years earlier. She finally gets her dream job as a geologist at the natural history museum she loved visiting as a child, but almost right away things go wrong. Her new boss hates her, she’s conflicted about her feelings for an attractive coworker, and that attractive coworker brings her a mysterious object to study. That mysterious object releases an ancient monster known as the Black Dragoon into the city.
Emma is the one who hears the call of a suit of magic armor to become the next Scarlet Knight, defender of truth, justice, and all that stuff. She doesn’t want to be responsible for so many lives when she couldn’t save the two she cared about the most, but she doesn’t get a choice about it when the Black Dragoon kidnaps her mentor, the previous incarnation of the Scarlet Knight.
As Emma learns what it takes to be a superhero, she also learns how to live with her past and the guilt that’s haunted her for a decade. Throughout the other seven novels in the series, Emma faces a variety of challenges in and out of the magic armor. This includes the ultimate challenge of balancing her responsibility to the city with her responsibility as a parent. The point then is to tell not just a comic book story, but a human story.
Anyway, this might be the worst query letter you read today, but I haven’t got anywhere with “good” query letters either. If you have a blog, feel free to post this as an example of what not to do.