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Author Topic: Successful queries  (Read 18050 times)
gckatz
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« on: July 29, 2015, 02:38:30 AM »

I know people find it helpful to look at queries that worked, and I know several people here have gotten agents from queries that were posted here. Shall we start a thread collecting them in one place?

If you got an agent by querying, post your query below or link to its thread.
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Sarah Ahiers (Falen)
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« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2015, 07:35:20 AM »

Dear Agent,

In the Kingdom of Lovero, where families of assassins lawfully kill people for the right price, seventeen-year-old Oleander “Lea” Saldana sets out on a path of vengeance against the most powerful assassin family of all.

The list of things Lea can count on in her life has never been long: her mother will try to poison her to make Lea a better assassin, she can beat her boyfriend, Val, in a fight, and her bone mask will keep her safe from the angry ghosts as she kills someone in the night. But when she trusts Val, a member of the powerful Da Via family, with the secret location of her home, she is betrayed and her family is slaughtered while Lea barely escapes as the sole survivor.

Now there’s only one thing left to do: make the Da Vias pay.

The only problem is, the Da Vias have gone to ground and the one person who can find them is her missing uncle, banished from her family years ago. Even if Lea can find him before the Da Vias realize she escaped their knives, Lea can’t trust him. Hells, she can’t trust anyone ever again, and definitely not her uncle’s too-attractive-for-his-own-good apprentice, Alessio, no matter what her heart and body tell her. How can she trust Alessio when the last boy she loved destroyed everything? How can she fall for Alessio when revenge is all she should care about?

But when the Da Vias kidnap her uncle, Lea has a choice: use him as a distraction to finally kill the Da Vias, or trust Alessio and save all that remains of her family.

ALL THAT REMAINS is a YA fantasy novel complete at 99,000 words. It would appeal to fans of Kristin Cashore’s GRACELING trilogy and Leigh Bardugo’s SHADOW AND BONE. I have a BA in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing from the University of Minnesota, served as the fiction editor for 2003 Wayfarer, the literary magazine of the U of MN, am a SCBWI member and have been accepted into Hamline University’s MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults (January 2014). My young adult horror short story “Smothered” appears in DARK MOON DIGEST YOUNG ADULT #1 and I have a story for the adult horror market in DARK MOON DIGEST #6.

[Redacted], editor at Harlequin Teen, read five pages for a critique session at the MN SCBWI October 2013 conference, loved them, and would like to see the manuscript when it’s ready for submission.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sarah Ahiers
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ASSASSIN'S HEART 2016 HarperTeen
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TerryRodgers
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« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2015, 11:57:32 AM »

You know what I like about your query Sarah, the meat of the query is 273 words long. That really helps show that there is no rule for how long an entire query needs to be. Congrats again on a awesome query letter.
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Sarah Ahiers (Falen)
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« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2015, 12:01:58 PM »

You know what I like about your query Sarah, the meat of the query is 273 words long. That really helps show that there is no rule for how long an entire query needs to be. Congrats again on a awesome query letter.

Thanks. My goal was always just to make it fit on one page. This one goes a bit over, but I had that extra stuff at the end and decided eff it.
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gckatz
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« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2015, 01:08:30 PM »

Here's mine. Oh, for the days when my manuscript was only 84k.

Quote
Dear agent:

Eighteen-year-old tomboy Valya and the boy next door, Pasha, breathlessly follow the adventures of Soviet air navigator Marina Raskova. When World War II breaks out and Valya discovers that Raskova is getting airwomen into combat, she's first in line. Valya hopes to become a fighter pilot, but Raskova assigns her to the night bombers. Instead of a high-tech Yak-1, Valya ends up flying a wood and canvas biplane no faster than a car.

On the front, Valya braves anti-air guns, blinding searchlights, and deadly Luftwaffe night fighters, all under the command of an air force that still believes women are only suited for the home front. When Pasha, now a Red Army radio operator, finds himself trapped behind enemy lines, one small aircraft might be able to slip through. Valya sees her chance to rescue the boy who has begun to capture her heart—but in Stalin's Russia, defying orders could land both of them in front of a firing squad.

Valya's regiment, the 46th Guards, really existed. Its aviators so terrified the Wehrmacht that the German soldiers nicknamed them the “Night Witches,” yet the brave Soviet women and girls who served in World War II are little known in the West. My 84,000-word YA historical novel, AMONG THE RED STARS, highlights many of these real-life heroes. It is a semi-epistolary novel that will appeal to fans of FLYGIRL and CODE NAME VERITY. It was an alternate in Pitch Wars 2014 and was also featured in PitchMAS 2014.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
Gwen C. Katz
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Pandean
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« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2015, 01:10:59 PM »

Great queries guys! Looking forward to the day when I can share mine here.

And I didn't know you got an agent, Gckatz!
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McG
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« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2015, 02:10:20 PM »

Yeah, these are really helpful; hopefully more people have some to post. I love reading successful queries!
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« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2015, 10:42:28 AM »

Dear Ms. Nelson,

Fifteen-year-old Ry discovers his mother is poisoning him when Thelt, a tiny flying lizard telepathically linked to Ry, touches the deadly substance and becomes comatose.
 
To save Thelt, Ry enlists the help of three others: an expelled Ranger, a stable-girl wearing a curious bracelet, and a princess discarded by her family. Each hides a secret that could get them killed. They discover Ry’s mother is gone, her room in shambles. Before Ry can search for her, he is forced to help the priests of the Black Circle look for a child they believe can open a lockbox none of the priests will look at. The small cube is engraved with a poem Ry’s mother taught him, and Ry suspects the priests have kidnapped her.
 
Ry wants answers to his mother’s secrets, but rescuing her will put his new friends in danger, and he must decide if the risks are worth the life of a mother who tried to kill him. And when the Black Circle’s lockbox starts to whisper to Ry, he realizes why she wants him dead, and worse, he agrees.

THE GREY WARDEN, an UMG fantasy, is complete at 60,000 words. I’ve included the first ten pages per your submission guidelines. Thank you for your time and consideration.
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« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2015, 10:18:58 PM »

Love this thread  clap Here's mine. It garnered me 4 offers of rep and 1 r&r. Also my book is way over 52,000 words now  rofl

Quote
Dear (agent):

All it takes is three letters—M.I.A—to send eighteen-year-old Sadie’s whole world crashing to the ground.

Her mama believes God will bring her sister back alive from the war, but Sadie knows the truth: Skylar isn't coming home. While everyone else prays for her sister's survival, Sadie copes by wrapping herself in the life Skylar left behind -- in her sister's nightmares and her boyfriend’s arms.

Skylar’s past haunts the corners of Sadie’s mind as secrets come to light. Like the postcards she finds describing a baby she never knew her sister had. Secrets that crush the perfect image she's had of Skylar.

Sadie was right about Skylar, but not in the ways she imagined. She's coming home. Someone who looks and talks like Skylar, but not the same. But Sadie's not the person she left behind either. And it might just tear them apart. Sadie's already lost her sister once--can she stand to lose her again?

My YA contemporary novel, OF FRAGILE THINGS, is complete at 52,000 words. It will appeal to fans of THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by Jandy Nelson, SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL by Trish Doller and THE IMPOSSIBLE KNIFE OF MEMORY by Laurie Halse Anderson. The full manuscript can be sent upon request.

I've interned for a year at [X Lit agency] and two years at [X publisher]. I've attended Book Expo America in 2009, 2012 and 2013 as well as the American Library Association midwinter conference in 2010. I will be attending the University of Denver's Publishing Institute in August [2014].
« Last Edit: July 30, 2015, 10:22:41 PM by sparklyunicorn » Logged

SamIAm
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« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2015, 10:55:42 PM »

Here's mine! It got me 17 full requests and 3 offers of rep (and like gkcatz and sparklyunicorn, my word count has grown since. It's 78,000 words now):

Quote
Dear (Agent):

Nineteen-year-old Elise Jameson may live in a silent world, but that doesn’t stop her from hearing voices in her head.

Deafened and scarred in a freak accident when she was younger, Elise forgoes the probing eyes of her peers in favor of the characters she creates on her laptop. What started as a coping mechanism shockingly turned into a career when her novels hit the best-seller list. Society has since become obsessed with the books and their author, a striking girl on the back cover who bears zero resemblance to Elise. That’s exactly what she wanted when Elise sent the randomly Googled photo to her editor after only a minor panic attack.

When they begin filming a television pilot of her books starring heartthrob Gavin Hartley—a lickable God of a man who makes her tingle in all the right places—Elise is horrified to learn they expect her on set. Elise tracks down the anonymous girl from the back of her books and begs her to take her place in the spotlight. To her surprise, Veronica Wilde has spent years reaping the rewards of her fake writing career. She jumps at the chance to continue the charade and hires Elise as her “assistant”. However, Elise soon realizes it’s not easy to watch someone else live her life and get everything she desires, including the actor of her dreams.

As she finds herself edged further and further onto the sidelines, Elise reconsiders her choice to stay in the shadows. But revealing her true identity could come at the cost of her career, her fans, and what few precious friendships she has.

FLIRTING WITH FAME is a New Adult contemporary romance, complete at 69,000 words.

I have my Bachelor's Degree in English.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

I love all your queries and want to read alllll the books!
« Last Edit: July 30, 2015, 11:00:22 PM by Spikethebunny » Logged
Pandean
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« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2015, 11:09:27 PM »

Here's mine! It got me 17 full requests and 3 offers of rep (and like gkcatz and sparklyunicorn, my word count has grown since. It's 78,000 words now):

Quote
Dear (Agent):

Nineteen-year-old Elise Jameson may live in a silent world, but that doesn’t stop her from hearing voices in her head.

Deafened and scarred in a freak accident when she was younger, Elise forgoes the probing eyes of her peers in favor of the characters she creates on her laptop. What started as a coping mechanism shockingly turned into a career when her novels hit the best-seller list. Society has since become obsessed with the books and their author, a striking girl on the back cover who bears zero resemblance to Elise. That’s exactly what she wanted when Elise sent the randomly Googled photo to her editor after only a minor panic attack.

When they begin filming a television pilot of her books starring heartthrob Gavin Hartley—a lickable God of a man who makes her tingle in all the right places—Elise is horrified to learn they expect her on set. Elise tracks down the anonymous girl from the back of her books and begs her to take her place in the spotlight. To her surprise, Veronica Wilde has spent years reaping the rewards of her fake writing career. She jumps at the chance to continue the charade and hires Elise as her “assistant”. However, Elise soon realizes it’s not easy to watch someone else live her life and get everything she desires, including the actor of her dreams.

As she finds herself edged further and further onto the sidelines, Elise reconsiders her choice to stay in the shadows. But revealing her true identity could come at the cost of her career, her fans, and what few precious friendships she has.

FLIRTING WITH FAME is a New Adult contemporary romance, complete at 69,000 words.

I have my Bachelor's Degree in English.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

I love all your queries and want to read alllll the books!

Great query! I can see why it got 17 full requests! Smiley So excited to see it in Amazon/Stores/etc.
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gckatz
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« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2015, 02:11:40 AM »

Thanks everyone, I think this will be a very useful thread. Sparklyunicorn, I had no idea one could get an offer for a 52k YA contemporary (even if it becomes longer later). I'll have to stop haranguing people about their short word count.
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Falthor
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« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2015, 07:42:24 AM »

Gcatz,  50K is the "too short" border as far as I can tell...   I had to ask around because at one time my book was 48K.
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« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2015, 06:14:15 PM »

 These are all very well-done, and seeing them all together in one place is very helpful. Much more useful, dare I say, than some of the compilations on other websites, wherein the chosen queries all seem to break a million rules, haha.

 Makes me want to have another go at mine (in a quasi-exciting way), and that's something when it comes to a task that's almost always terrifying.
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« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2015, 05:28:13 PM »

Query that got my YA novel, Blood Princess, a contract!

Seventeen-year-old Laura White, princess of Karkonia, has been ordered to murder her older sister, Alicia.
The job should be easy enough; Laura hates Alicia for betraying their family and joining a rebellion set on usurping the King. Besides, Laura’s been killing at her father’s command since she was eleven.

But before Laura gets the chance to end her sister's life, she is dragged into the mess of the rebellion by none other than her bodyguard, Shane Kagae. As Laura and Shane uncover secrets that her father has been keeping for years, they realize that Alicia and the Rebels may have been right about the king all along. When their disloyalty comes to light, Laura is forced to choose between saving Shane's life and remaining loyal to her father. She choses Shane, and they flee the palace, Laura's heart breaking with every step.
When her father starts a war with a neighboring country, Laura fears she made the wrong choice. She struggles to decide whether she should return to her father's side and help him build a new empire, or give up her crown forever and help the Rebellion save the country she loves.
 
My YA Fantasy novel, BLOOD PRINCESS, is complete at 58,000 words. It would appeal to fans of Marie Lu and Cayla Kluver. My first novel was published by a small press company in 2011, and I am currently pursuing a degree in Creative Writing at the University of Louisville.
 
Thank you for your time and consideration.
 
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