Her critique is very specific and quite helpful, which is why I’m sharing it here in full:
Never start out with “hoping I’m the right agent” it gives the impression that you really haven’t done your research. Remember when querying agents that you need to think of it as giving us the honor of reading your work. In other words, come on strong and sure. I’m excited to tell you about my travel memoir would be more appropriate. I’ll decide if I’m the right agent, but you don’t want to give me an easy out. You’ll also want to make sure that somewhere in there you have a word count.
In the second paragraph you describe your book as poignant and yet I get no sense of poignancy in your voice. Anytime you’re describing your work as something–humorous, poignant, suspenseful–you need to show in your voice that it matches the description. As you’ve written it here it feels very stiff and, frankly, not special. What about your book makes it different from the many other travel memoirs currently on the shelves at bookstores. Did you find adventure? How will it inspire readers to take those leaps? All of this needs to be shown.
I would skip revealing your age as well as the fact that you’re full of potential and good at editing. That’s always assumed. Let that show in your writing.
The next paragraph confused me a bit. I couldn’t quite figure out why you described your book, stepped away from that, and then moved back to it. It seems like this should all follow each other. You should start with really focusing on the book since that is the most important part of the letter, that’s what your reader is really looking to discover so don’t bury it at the end. Then you can move into who you are.
This paragraph is a little more description, but still a little too vague. I’d like to see more specifics, again to make it stand out from other books.
The information on your travel blog is really important because it shows you’ve already built an audience ala Julie and Julia. Make sure you’re clear about it. Is it still active, does it get 50,000 hits or 50,000 readers (there’s a big difference) and how many readers do you have now? If it’s no active why not and when was it active?
And lastly, you mention that you have a proposal and sample chapters to me that implies that the book isn’t finished. With a narrative nonfiction, like a memoir, the book should be finished and fully edited before you even start querying. If it is finished I would just say that the manuscript is completed and ready for review.
Looks like I have some work ahead of me!