Query Letter Swipe File Kokoski

Query Perfection: Reviewing Christopher Kokoski’s ‘Query Letter Swipe File’

This is a kick-ass tool for your traditional publishing arsenal. This is “query letter how-to” meets “plug-and-play”. In Query Letter Swipe File, Christopher Kokoski once again delivers clear, no-nonsense guidance on an integral part of traditional publishing: the query letter.

What Will You Learn?

Query Letter Swipe File breaks down the components of a solid query letter and then compartmentalizes them so that you can fill in the blanks based on your particular story. By presenting the information in a way that is flexible and easy to customize, Kokoski shows his deep understanding of how varied the literary world can be. Many authors still attempt to teach people with a one-size-fits-all approach.

How Is Information Presented?

The format is easy and quick to read / swipe through (hence the title). This is a fantastic book to have in your physical and digital library as a go-to reference for every query letter you’ll ever write. The paragraphs are short and casual. The language is easy to understand and doesn’t get bogged down in a bunch of technical jargon that slows down or confuses readers of some non-fiction. I truly believe that just about anyone could pick up this book and write a decent query letter–even if they’ve never done it before (like me!).

 

What Should You Look Out For?

It looks like there were a few typos present that may catch you off guard upon first reading, but it’s easy to get past them because of how the templates are set up. For example, in template #4 (the one I used for the query letter I’ve included), the copy read:

In [BESTSELLING AUTHOR IN YOUR GENRE] meets
[BESTSELLING BOOK OR MOVIE IN YOUR GENRE], this
story blends [GENRE COMPONENT], [GENRE
COMPONENT] and [GENRE COMPONENT] with [GENRE
COMPONENT].

So, as written, if completed, this section of my query letter might read:

“In Stephen King meets IT, this story blends childhood trauma, horror, and mystery with fantasy.”

which doesn’t make a lot of sense. But I believe he meant that you might say something like:

“In Stephen King’s novel IT, childhood trauma, horror, and mystery are blended with fantasy.”

What Will You LOVE About This Book?

The standout feature of Query Letter Swipe File is definitely the list of words and phrases that you can insert into the templates as you please. This means that Kokoski has done all the heavy lifting for you concerning how to word the openings, endings, and transitions that you’ll need to strengthen your query letter. I love it when instructions and tasks are made as simple as possible, and Kokoski has definitely done that in this book!

 

Final Verdict: 5 / 5 stars ⭐ ⭐ 

Query Letter Swipe File by Christopher Kokoski is fully loaded with everything you need to quickly and easily get a query letter constructed that will help you present your work in the best way possible.

Full Disclosure

I am a self-published author ONLY! I have never had to write a query letter and don’t know that I will ever have the desire or need to. However, in order to review this book, I did actually write a short query letter for Show Her using a template that was included in the book. You can read it at the end of the review.

 

About the Author

Learn more about Christopher Kokoski on his website: www.ChristopherKokoski.com.

 

Sample Query Letter for Show Her

Dear Supre Agente,

 

Based on your interest in dystopian and romantic literature, Show Her would be a perfect piece for you to represent.

 

Erika Wogo knows how to live a life that is the envy of everyone around her. She meticulously maintains her outward appearance, adheres to her husband’s every demand without question, and even passes her knowledge of being a proper wife on to others who are willing and eager to learn how to become (and stay) married.

 

But when a co-worker confesses to having an affair with Erika’s husband, Erika’s world view is shaken and the countdown to Erika’s divorce–and permanent social ruin–begins. Erika knows that it is only a matter of time before her husband will formally end their “purchase agreement” and leave her divorced and tainted for the rest of her life.

 

With a mix of cunning, determination, and sophisticated bio-weaponry, Erika does all she can to defend her marriage and her reputation against her husband’s infidelity. But, as adept as she is at managing her rivals in love, her loyal followers, her public persona, and the ex-boyfriend who still loves her without question, she will inevitably have to face the consequences of her nefarious actions.

 

Show Her is a dystopian psychological thriller blended with science fiction and romance. Show Her is a complete novella at 23,320 words. Please note that this is a simultaneous submission.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

T. L. Curtis

TLCurtis@Volo-Press.com

404-666-1126

 

The Den Volo Press

How $5 Saves Families

Caleb used to love to read. Because he USED TO actually be able to do it in peace.
Now that his wife has passed away, it’s been difficult to be a single father and small business owner and still be able to find time for himself.
“Me and Namiki used to read together a lot, ya know? We didn’t even have to talk about anything we would just…sit and read in the same room with one another and it was one of the most intimate feelings in the world. Even if I could read a book alone, I would feel like I’m reliving a memory with her.”
But between working, raising two young children, eating, and sleeping, “there’s just no time for reading anymore, it seems like.”

But then Caleb heard about The Den: A gym for bookworms. He was able to find a sitter for his children and go there for a few hours one day a week.
It changed his life.
“Admittedly, I often sit and get some work things out of the way first, but I always get a chance to read a few chapters while I’m there. And I love it. I haven’t been in such a peaceful, stress-free environment since Namiki died. It’s a little bittersweet just because reading without her kind of…like…emphasizes her absence, right? And that hurts. But the fact that I get to do something that we both loved again is…something I just can’t put a price on. And it’s nice to do it while surrounded by a bunch of other bookworms and authors. It’s a totally different vibe from a library or even a bookstore. I’ve got to thank every single person who contributed to the campaign to open this place. The Den has saved my sanity. I can be a healthier, stronger father for my kids now. I’m even able to manage my workflow better! All because of The Den. Thank you!”
 
volo press character development

How to Terrorize Characters: Character Development

Getting to know your character well means being able to write about them in a realistic manner. One question to ask yourself about your character is what scares them. Here are some ideas to help you direct your thinking on this aspect of your character’s development.

 

Levels of Fear

Not all fear is created equal. Sometimes, we are merely afraid that something will (not) happen. Other times, we would sacrifice our lives to make sure that something did (not) happen. When considering your character’s fears, it can be helpful to come up with a variety of things that scare them along the spectrum of fear.

For example, it might have scared Erika Wogo (Show Her) to have her readership on her blog dip for a week. Her logic being that people were no longer interested in what she had to say, possibly meaning that she no longer knows what she’s talking about regarding how to be an appropriate Handler, meaning she might not be the most desirable Handler in the city, meaning she might lose the interest of her Master, meaning she might be returned by him (the scariest thing of all for her).

Notice how her lower level fears tie into a scenario (being returned by her Master) that truly terrifies her and motivates much of her behavior throughout the novella. The lengths that she will go to in order to keep Khaled’s favor are extreme, as you may have read.

Things That Scare People

Here is a list of fears that I ran across in my practice as a psychotherapist (and life in general). This list is by no means comprehensive, but can help you start thinking more deeply about this aspect of your character’s development.

  • Balloons
  • Clowns
  • Insects
  • A specific gender
  • Sexual contact
  • Vehicular traffic
  • Job loss
  • Dentists
  • Cats
  • Standing out
  • Blending in
  • Having no purpose
  • Working “too much / hard”
  • Mental illness diagnoses
  • Physical illness diagnoses
  • Academic failure
  • Dogs
  • Driving
  • Public transportation
  • Rodents
  • Blood
  • Certain colors
  • Death
  • Religion
  • Parenthood
  • Infertility
  • Being / staying single
  • Being / staying married
  • Prescription drugs
  • Doctors
  • Reptiles
  • Being alone
  • Planes
  • Birds
  • Ghosts
  • Caves
  • Being around other people
  • Basements
  • Silence
  • Public speaking
  • Familiar things
  • Intimate / Serious conversations
  • Sobriety
  • Commitment
  • Intoxication
  • Loss of control
  • Being in charge
  • Inadequacy
  • Embarassment
  • War
  • Peace
  • Unfamiliar things

Track Fears

Creating a trail of motivations for someone’s fears helps you develop their character.

An example would be someone who is afraid of being in a management position. Ask yourself why they would be afraid of this. One track: “If I’m in charge, I could make a mistake.” –> “If I make a mistake, I’ll be fired and I’ll be embarrassed in front of my colleagues.” –> “If I’m embarrassed in front of my colleagues, my friends will find out.” –> “If my friends find out, they won’t want to spend time with me any more.” –> “If my friends don’t want to spend time with me any more, I’ll spend the rest of my life alone–my biggest fear!”

 

The track could also be more direct, such as: “If I’m in a management position, people could end up dying.” — > “When I was babysitting my 5 siblings one night 15 years ago, a fire took the life of my two youngest sisters.”  –> “I should never be in charge because I’m not a good enough manager to keep people from dying.”

 

Remember: A character’s rationale for their fears doesn’t have to make sense to you, it just has to make sense to them and fit a logic that is backed up by the world and circumstances you have put them in.

 

Want more character development help? Visit shop.volo-press.com/services to get writing assistance! 

volo press show her t l curtis

New Audio Book: Show Her

FINALLY: The ‘Show Her‘ audio book is available on Audible. If you’ve been keeping up with Volo Press on social media, you know this has been a long and arduous process, but now it’s done. You can even get Show Her for free when you start an Audible free 30-day trial. Entertain your ears now!

 

volo press show her audible

 

 

 

 

 

Voice Actor

Now Open: Auditions for Feign II Audio Book

Are you a strong performer of poetry? Get over to ACX now and submit your audio using the Volo Press audition script for Feign II: The Downfall  by T. L. Curtis. Auditions close on 9-25-17, so you’d better hurry!

Voice Actor

volo press self publishing

Publishers Just Don’t Get It

I’m sure many authors taking the more frustrating route to getting published have the same experience! 😀
Volo press snoopy self publishing

Thinking of self publishing? Get a new author consultation to help you get answers to your questions and make educated decisions about your self-publishing strategy at Shop.Volo-Press.com/Services

iphone x volo press

iPhone X: Write On

You’ve probably been reading about the Apple iPhone X all day. Now that you have some idea of what kinds of features will be available on the latest iPhone from Apple, get your creative juices flowing by answering some questions about iPhone X as only a fiction author can. Some of these question-prompts may sound absurd, but many plot lines have started off “bizarre” and ended up in a fascinating, exciting, or even a very scary place that offers a strong story line for audiences.

How does someone who has just been mauled or severely burned on their face call for help with the iPhone X if they’re alone?

Could Apple use all those shots of faces to create a database of the most beautiful people (in their opinion) to keep alive and kill all the rest?

How does the AirPower mat feel about charging devices to do things, but never being able to go out and see the world itself?

Why did Apple stop with facial recognition on the iPhone X? Why not bio-recognition (blood, hair, skin, etc.)?

Why isn’t the iPhone X screen completely wrap-around?

In how many different ways could the level of realism of the augmented reality from iPhone X end with someone’s death? What happens when someone tries to hold Apple responsible?

The neural engine can only be created by harvesting a human cerebrum. How does Apple get so many of those in their possession in order to create their stock of iPhone Xs?

Does Apple offer any kind of compensation for a twin using their siblings’ ApplePay account without permission?

 

 

Think deep and WRITE ON! 😀

 

Don’t forget to visit the Volo Press online store for more help with your writing needs!

iphone x volo press

 

Barnes and Noble Carries Feign II: The Downfall by T. L. Curtis

Barnes and Noble is now carrying paperback copies of Feign II: The Downfall by T. L. Curtis. Follow this link to get yours right now!

 

Barnes Noble Feign II The Downfall


Want a discount? You can also buy your paperback copy of Feign II: The Downfall direct at Shop.Volo-Press.com. If you register your email address, you’ll receive 10% off!

 

 

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Character Development: Taking Offense

It’s helpful to have a strong, realistic understanding of who your characters are so that they behave believably and consistently throughout your story. Knowing what might offend your character and why is a great place to start building their personality so that you can help it come through in your writing. Here is a list of questions to ask yourself about your character in this regard.

 

  • What are three things that would make your character become disgusted with someone they loved (such as their mother or their spouse)?
  • Throughout their life, when has your character been confronted with things or situations that lead them to feel offended?
  • When your character has been offended, what deeper emotions were involved (anger, disrespect, disgust, fear)? Why did it matter so much to them what someone else said or did?
  • When your character has been offended, what have they done about it? Did they organize a formal protest? Sit in their room and stew? Become violent?
  • Do people around your character know what offends them and what doesn’t? How? Has the character openly voiced their opinions or have people been able to pick up on how they feel through obvious or subtle behaviors (word choice, avoidance, facial expressions, etc.)?

 

Answering these kinds of questions can help you more solidly understand your character so that your work reflects a realistic person reacting believably to the story as it unfolds.

 

 

 

volo press writing services

Still need some help? Order a Character Profile Review at Shop.Volo-Press.com now and start getting help tailored for your specific story. 

 

 

Favorite Sex Position: Character Development

Many people who write fiction try to have an intimate knowledge of the character’s that they are creating. In theory, having such a deep understanding about even small details related to a character can help the character be written in a way that appears genuine, realistic, and three dimensional to the reader.

This post contains pictures of naked people in the sexual positions I will be listing later in the post. You’ve been warned. 

 

One intimate question you may want to answer about your character, even if you are not writing any erotic scenes, is what their favorite sexual position is? More importantly, why? Is is about comfort, speed, intimacy, or emotional distance?

Starting to ask yourself these kinds of questions can help you add more layers to your character so that they have a stronger “page presence” and are more likely to resonate with your readers.

Don’t Judge Your Character

Just because you don’t like, wouldn’t condone, or don’t plan to attempt a certain sexual position, doesn’t mean that your character would feel the same way. If you can’t separate yourself from your character you could slip into making all of your characters very much alike because they’re behavior never goes outside of your personal comfort zone.

For example, the main character of Show HerErika Wogo is a doggy style lover. Considering the trauma she endured at the opening of the book, I don’t think I would enjoy that style at all if I were her. I wouldn’t ever want to even try it, most likely. But again, that book wasn’t about me: It was about Erika.

 

Sexual Positions

Here are a couple of common sexual positions. I’ve added some possible reasons why people might enjoy these positions (besides pleasure, of course!) just to help you start thinking more about which positions your character might like and why. A simple Google search will turn up a multitude of other sexual positions to choose from.

 

Missionary

A  lays on their back and opens their legs. B settles between A’s thighs and penetrates the anus or vagina. Variations can be created by changing angles and leg positions, or adding bondage equipment or pillows.

 

 

This position is most often depicted in romance novels and movies, so it’s often considered “boring.” Your character may prefer it if they are someone who is:

  • afraid of change
  • doesn’t like to take risks
  • doesn’t enjoy sex (they don’t want to put a lot of effort into being ‘creative’ so they just copy what they’ve seen / heard of others doing)

 

Doggy Style

A gets down on their hands and knees on the floor or bed. B penetrates the anus or vagina while standing or kneeling from behind.

 

Can reflect or support the idea that a character:

  • Is not a fan of intimacy (they want as little eye contact and physical contact as possible)
  • Doesn’t like being hot. This position allows for great air flow, especially when the air conditioner has gone out or they’re having sex outside (camping trip?) and it’s ridiculously hot.
  • Has had an injury that doesn’t allow them to open their legs wide, so squeezing them together while bent over is more efficient / comfortable for sex.

 

Writing is Life. 

 

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