Writing a query letter is...well, hard!

Hey, there!


Writing a query is . . . well, hard. There’s no way around it. Crafting a letter selling the manuscript you’ve been working on for months and maybe years—and, let’s be honest, selling yourself, too—is beyond intimidating. It took me a long time to write a query that I was proud of. Before starting on it, I looked around for examples to give me a clue how to do it. I heard lots of advice like:


·       Make sure your “voice” shines through

·       Compare your book to a bestseller—or better yet, two

·       Include an impressive-sounding bio

·       Describe the characters, plot, and conflict

·       Keep it concise (unless that’s not your “voice”)


And most of that is true . . . except when it’s not. For example, in February 2016, there weren’t any Wall Street romances to compare my book to. But there were TV shows and movies that felt like appropriate comparisons, so I used those.


My point is—you might not know what your “voice” is yet, but I guarantee it shines through in your work. Hopefully if you look at a few examples of successful query letters, maybe you will find it easier to write one that you can be proud of, too.


I signed with Jessica Alvarez of Bookends Literary, and the manuscript I queried would eventually become Penthouse Player, Book 1 of the Billionaire Bosses series, published by St. Martin’s Press in September 2017 (although no longer New Adult, and a significantly bigger story at 85,000 words).


Good luck!


Dear Jessica,

Dirty Little Secret, the first in my Hedge Fund Heirs series, is a passionate peek into the tumultuous, twenty-something world of New York’s hottest hedge funders.  Stocks and bonds aren’t the only commodities being traded on Wall Street.  Money, power, prestige, sex- they’re all available to the highest bidder.  I am seeking representation from you because of your interest in women protagonists that are as vibrant and brave as the men they love.  This commercial, New Adult, stand-alone novel is complete at 65,000 words.  Each book in the series will feature sexy scions of Manhattan moguls struggling to find love and success on their own terms.

Abandoned by her mother and spurned by her father, Reina St. James is tired of being treated like a dirty little secret.  It wasn’t easy making her way into the high-risk, high-reward Wall Street world ruled by mercurial Hedge Fund Kings and the whiz kids and trust fund tyrants that surround them.  But now that she’s got a stiletto-clad toe into Betancourt Bank, one of the swankiest firms in Manhattan, Reina is determined to prove she’s more than just a pretty face hiding an ugly past.  

Tristan Xavier Betancourt IV’s recently launched Millennial Fund is the hottest investment on Wall Street.  For this hockey player turned hedge-funder, escaping the shadow cast by generations of family fortune has been difficult, and his success hasn’t come without sacrifice.  Tristan has always put business before pleasure…  Until Reina’s curved lips present an invitation he can’t resist.

An affair with Betancourt Bank’s newest employee could stain Tristan’s spotless reputation, especially with the scandal-chasing @BetancourtBets twitter account broadcasting his every move.  As if that weren’t enough- with a billion dollars on the line- someone with a grudge against Reina is trying to sabotage Betancourt.  

The chemistry between them is undeniable- but Reina fears Tristan needs a woman with a pristine pedigree, someone who will add loft to his rising star, not drag.  Walking away from their explosive night together isn’t easy, even though the heat between them jeopardizes both of their careers.  Will Reina and Tristan risk everything by betting on each other?

Blending finance and fiction is a not-to-be-missed opportunity, and my background enables me to fuse the two seamlessly.  I attended both Washington University and New York University, later earning my MBA from Columbia Business School.  I have worked in Commercial Banking for Chase, Institutional Investment Management for JP Morgan, on both the Equity and Fixed Income trading floors of Deutsche Bank, and for a private Italian bank domiciled in London.  In 2013, I successfully self-published a novel, Meltdown.  I am a regular contributor to Good Morning Wilton, a local news source, and after joining RWA, attended my first conference this past summer.

Romance readers love billionaires- and Wall Street offers the perfect landscape for smart, sexy fiction.  Showtime’s new drama Billions is their most watched original series debut ever.  Both The Big Short and The Wolf of Wall Street were non-fiction bestsellers before becoming wildly successful and heavily nominated movies. In Hedge Fund Heirs, my heroines are just as bold and ambitious as their heroes.

Thank you for considering Dirty Little Secret.  I would be happy to send the complete manuscript for review at your convenience.  I may be reached via xxxxxxx@gmail.com, (xxx) xxx-xxxx, or (xxx) xxx-xxxx.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Best Regards, Tara Leigh

Tara Thompson