Successful Queries: Agent Greg Daniel and ‘Peaches & Daddy’

This new series is called “Successful Queries”and I’m posting actual query letters that succeeded in getting writers signed with agents.  In addition to posting the actual query letter, we will also get to hear thoughts from the agent as to why the letter worked.

The 17th installment in this series is with agent Greg Daniel (Daniel Literary) and his author, Michael M. Greenburg, for his book, Peaches & Daddy: A Story of the Roaring 20s, the Birth of Tabloid Media & Courtship That Captured the Heart and Imagination of the American Public.

Dear Mr. Daniel

On the evening of March 5, 1926, 51-year-old Manhattan millionaire Edward “Daddy” Browning waltzed through the doors of the legendary Hotel McAlpin and into the life of a 15-year-old high school girl named Frances “Peaches” Heenan. Thirty-seven days later, with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children in close pursuit, they were married.

Within 10 months, they would begin a courtroom drama that would capture the imagination of the American public and cast their impassioned saga into a national scandal.

Peaches & Daddy: A Story of the Roaring 20s, the Birth of Tabloid Media & Courtship That Captured the Heart and Imagination of the American Public is a work of narrative nonfiction set in America’s “Era of Wonderful Nonsense,” and is a chronicle of the odd romance, marriage and ultimate legal battles waged by this publicity-craving Manhattan couple. It is the improbable yet compelling story of two social and cultural opposites who, together, would become one of the nation’s celebrated icons of the early 20th century.

The shattered romance of Peaches and Daddy would find its breathtaking climax in a small-town courtroom packed to suffocation and stalked through the crosshairs of an expectant world.  For five breathless days, hundreds of clamoring newspaper reporters and a wide-eyed public heard Peaches make allegations of “depraved tastes” and “abnormal activity,” and they heard an indignant denial of it all from “Daddy.” The bellowing press coverage and the ramifications of the final verdict would reverberate through the American conscience for years to come.

I believe this book to be of broad public appeal in that it combines the scintillating fervor of scandal with the true-to-life detachment of history. Our readership will range from those with a whimsical or tabloid interest, to those desiring a more historical or biographical study.

As a practicing attorney and as a past editor of the Pepperdine Law Review, I believe that I bring a unique perspective, via 22 years at my craft, to the true story of Peaches & Daddy and to the myriad of legal issues involved in their drama.

I would be pleased to forward a full proposal and sample chapters upon your request.  Thank you.

Michael M. Greenburg

Commentary from Greg:

Michael’s query letter is a perfect example of a writer saying no more and no less than need be. He obviously put a lot of work into not only writing this letter but editing it, as well. Most authors seem to forget that their query letters should be crafted and edited as painstakingly as their manuscripts. By the end of the first paragraph of Michael’s letter, I was hooked and knew I wanted to read this narrative history.

For nonfiction, it’s also important that an author have sufficient credentials for the book he is writing. And while Michael is not a professional historian, he is a lawyer with a love of history – and much of the intrigue of the Peaches and Daddy story resides in the courtroom drama that unfolds in the last half of the book. I signed Michael as a client, and Overlook Press bought this book with a preemptive offer and published it in 2008 to glowing reviews.


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