Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Cracked Jacket

You know those books I've been telling you about. The ones I've written and am searching endlessly for an agent to represent. Well I've decided to post the cover letter I've written for suggestions if anyone has any. Also, I have linked a sample chapter of the book for you to read as well if you are interested. And of course, by all means, if you know anyone who might be interested in representing me, please pass this along. Thank you for all the continued support. I look forward to your comments. Have a great holiday weekend.



Newly Updated June 20th.

Dear Mr. McVeigh,

I am generally hesitant in sending my work to male agents, but when I read that you are someone who believes that we have entered a time of trying new ways, I just had to query.

So, I will have to ask that you imagine that you are a thirty something mother (of at least two) who has just dropped her children off at the local bookstore for reading hour. It’s just the thirty minutes of complimentary quiet time you need to get you through your long summer days. As you are browsing the shelves for an interesting book, your eyes land on CRACKED, by Amy Platon. You open the book to read the jacket…

The question is not if, but when. Just how long can Jill Buchanan withstand the chaos that is her life, before she cracks?

Jill Buchanan is a woman with dreams, drowning in an ocean of problems. She is served a heavy helping of reality, in the form of fast food humiliation as her debit card is declined for a mere $4.19 purchase. It is as if she wakes up in her cozy suburban life to find that her kids are spoiled rotten. Her neighbors are plotting against her. Her husband’s checked out, and now her check card’s declined. However, this reality is the draft notice for a battle she wants no part of.

Jill has no choice but to trade in her Coach-bag existence for an apron. Choking down inferiority like a shot of warm house tequila, she takes a job bartending at Mickey McAllister’s. She’s working hard nights, and long days as an at-home mom to her out of control boys. Pushed to her limits, Jill tells her neighbor how she really feels about her. But her newfound strength becomes shaken as she discovers the woman, later, lying in a self-inflicted pool of blood. It’s an event that brings Jill closer to her husband with every detail.

But Jill has a plan that just might pull their family out of the debt that is burying them alive. And just as things begin to look up, Jill answers a call that changes everything about who she thought she was.

You can trust this author to tell a good story, because she is just like you. You’re even familiar with this book because you’ve read about it in cyber blogging halls, a place where you hang out when the kids are sleeping or when they are accidentally entertained by the newly emptied laundry basket.

And what do you do next? You flip to the first page and begin learning about the life of Jill Buchanan, and how similar she is to you. You bond with her immediately, as she whisks you away in the flurry that is her life. And before you know it, you’re fifteen pages deep, waiting in line, and deciding on a new bookmark before the clerk calls, “Next please.”

Mark, those fifteen pages, or if you would prefer, the completed manuscript is yours to read at anytime.

Please visit my Web site for examples of published work at But above all, thank you for taking the time to read this query. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Take Care,
Amy Platon

And here's a new one:

I’m Jill Buchanan. I’m the one this book is all about. And yeah, I guess I’m a pretty good mom. Ok well, I’m not totally proud of the chapter where my neighbor Tess and I run into each other in the grocery store. No. Not one of my finest moments. But, we all have those moments. Moms, I mean. We can’t always be perfect.

Let’s face it. Tess isn’t perfect either. The cop even said, women who cut the vein in their leg as a form of suicide, do it there, in case they live. Wrist slits are just too visible. She knew she was going to live.

But she had a lot going on in her life. It wasn’t just over what I said.

And she’s not the only one with things happening. We’re all overwhelmed. This crappy economy is no help either. My husband Mike and I have had our share of trouble. Real estate ain’t exactly payin’ the bills anymore.

But I’m not like Tess. I knew what I had to do. And I did it. I got a job. That’s right. I traded my Coach bag poshy existence for an apron. And you know what? Bartending - it’s like riding a bike. No, scratch that. It’s more like The Perfect Storm. You know, when the guys get to that great fishing spot and they are catching all that fish? It’s like that. But it’s hard work. Great when I was fresh out of college, but not something I can do ‘till retirement.

Menu-less restaurant.

What do you think? I know. It’s a hard sell. After all, I did just call this economy crappy. Even Mike is skeptical. But I think it can work.

Or at least I did, until I got the call that had me collapsed on my kitchen floor. I would never do that to my children. But even though I’m a mom, I’m still a daughter. And if my own mother couldn’t trust me, let’s be honest, how could I trust myself?

I can assure you, her death will haunt me for the rest of my life. It stripped me of what little hope I had left.

And about my life, if you’re interested in reading more, then contact Amy Platon at She’s the one who created me for the book CRACKED and for the world of Women’s Fiction.

Take Care,

Here is a sample chapter from the completed book. Please explore this site for additional examples of my published work. But above all, thank you for taking the time to read this query. I look forward to hearing from you soon.


  1. I can't find your Thursday Thirteen!

  2. I think that was a great letter! I want to read more about Jill...hope you get an agent soon!

  3. Awesome letter! I hope someone important reads it. The book really is fabulous.

  4. Here are my comments, for what it's worth. Since I've had lots of feedback. :)

    1. Don't start with who you are, start with what the book's about. Get them with a "hook" How about:

    "When her debit card purchase of a mere $4.19 is declined, Jill gets the draft notice for a battle she wants no part of. Her new reality forces her to trade in her Coach-bag existence for an apron. Faced with infertility, a brutal attack on a neighbor (one to whom she just gave a piece of her mind) and (insert here) she learns to save herself.

    Then tell them who you are, and how long your novel is. WARNING. I'll tell you what the industry standard is for a novel length - 90,000 words. They're going to tell you it's too short. I, for one, buck the trends, but it's going to make it much harder.

    Plus, you've given too much information about your book for a query letter. Stick to the hook, then a one-paragraph of what the book is (it's a comedy novel, romance, paranormal, whatever genre) and then who you are and your writing accomplishments. What you have here is essentially a summary, which is what you'll often need later when requested (so you'll be well ahead of the game then), but too much for a query.

    So, I hope it's helpful criticism. Don't want to come across as negative. Keep at it! Never give up!

  5. Oh, I think you're very brave. You inspire me.

  6. Carmen,
    Thanks for your detailed comments. So helpful! Lots of what you said I have wondered about in the back of my mind. You know the place I put stuff cause I don't really feel like dealing with it. I'm going to give it another stab. I follow Query Shark and I thought the trend seemed to be leaning toward more info. I remember starting out it was all about the one paragraph. All so confusing, so many different opinions. Hey, good luck with The List. Sounds like a fun read.

  7. "The Hong Kong Connection" is a legal thriller about a gutsy female attorney who takes on high ranking International officials. It's a taut, rollercoaster of a ride from New York to Palm Beach to Washington D.C. to Hong Kong. The plot is expertly woven, the characters persuasive, and the dialogue snappy and spot on.

  8. I hope you are able to get your book published soon. It sounds very good. It sounds so true to many people's lives.

  9. Amy, Carmen's got good advice. But one thing I have been seeing over and over on the agents' blogs again of late is that they WON'T click over to a website. I'd nuke that part. Instead, include your website at the end, under your signature. Like:
    Amy Platon

    Good luck! It's hard out there. But it's magical when you touch people. Don't give up.

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  11. Hi! I think your book sounds great. I think basically the letter just needs tightening up. Try things like in the 2nd para, maybe take out the first sentence and just start off with the question. In the 3rd para perhaps take some of your stronger phrasing and nouns and put them up front in your sentences with strong verbs to match. By the next para it's like you had gotten warmed up. Watch using "is" too much. Sometimes what helps me when writing letters is to cut the number of words in half. You can always add what's needed next - and know that every word counts :) I look forward to reading your chapter!

  12. Susan, thanks. I'll do that. So short it is. Gonna tighten it up. But an I pinging the book to sound interesting? I can try touching on other story lines in the book instead of the crazy neighbor. It's just one thread and there are many (it is a book after all.)

  13. Ok, well here is the newly updated version. I don't know....I let you know what "Mark" says.....