So, because I was super-bored today, I typed up a rough rough draft of a query letter, and posted it on a critique site. Now, I know the letter itself was crap, and the responses I got were about what I expected, which actually makes me feel good in a way. At least I'm doing all right in recognizing my flaws. (the first step to preventing/correcting them) But some of the other comments rather puzzled me.
Some of the people didn't like my main characters surname, because it had an apostrophe in it. Now, I could understand if her name was something like Ula'gu'kna'*clickingsound*'gotc'kuk. But it's not, and it isn't even the name they'll be seeing most often, it's her surname. And sadly, I spent a lot of time figuring out why the surnames in my book are the way they are, having to do with lineage in a noble house and everything.
Another didn't think that the names (people, places) "matched" each other. Which, if you are going with an earth reality (french, greek, etc.), they're right, they wouldn't match. But I'm going with a world I made up, in a city that is known for it's blending of cultures due to being a trade hub. And granted, the person making the comment couldn't possibly have known this from the query letter I presented either.
Now, the point they made that perhaps I didn't want to dump all this on an agent right in the query letter is valid. There are places where I can eliminate names to make it less confusing, and let the sample pages or whatever speak for themselves. Still, it's amazing to me what people choose to object to.
Needless to say, this is something I need to get used to. (and I'll need a much better query letter, when it's time)