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Author Topic: Successful queries  (Read 41652 times)
Thulsa_Doom
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« Reply #15 on: August 17, 2015, 06:28:31 AM »

If you look in the SUCCESS STORIES for each agent, sometimes you can see what query letter was used to hook them...
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gckatz
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« Reply #16 on: August 17, 2015, 08:06:50 AM »

If you look in the SUCCESS STORIES for each agent, sometimes you can see what query letter was used to hook them...

Yes, but this thread exists to gather them in one place so you don't have to hunt for them. (And don't assume the version posted for critique is the final version.)
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bswb97
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« Reply #17 on: August 17, 2015, 11:51:02 PM »

Per request from the Success Stories forum, here's my query. My final stats:

-This was my third novel I queried over seven years.
-I sent about 100 serious queries (and 10 with "no chance in hell" due to genre but I figured why not because I liked them on social media/blog posts)
-I got responses or certain CNRs on about 80 of them
-16 requests (10 full, 6 partial, and funny enough split down the middle between commercial and SF)
-4 offers and one additional withdrawal on my part

As I mentioned, I split between commercial and SF. There were two variations for the post-hook blurb. I'll paste both below:

The main hook:

"Kin Stewart thought parenting a teen couldn’t get any harder, but then he got separated from his daughter -- by a century.

Before that, he was a normal family man, working and parenting teenage Miranda -- a far cry from his old job as a time-traveling secret agent from 2142. Stranded in suburbia since the 1990s because of a botched mission, he’d spent the last 17 years thinking about soccer practices and family vacations instead of temporal fugitives.
 
But when his rescue team suddenly arrives, Kin is forced to abandon his family and return to 2142, where everyone -- including his fiancee, who’s unaware of time travel -- thinks he’s only been gone weeks, not years. Ordered to cut all contact with the past, Kin defies his superiors and attempts to raise his daughter from the future. Until one day he discovers that Miranda’s being erased from history...and it might be his fault.

With time running out, Miranda’s very existence depends upon Kin taking a final trip across time, no matter the cost. Break time-travel rules, tell his fiancee about Miranda and his secret family, even put his own life on the line; those are risks Kin will take because there’s only one thing more important than the past and the future: doing right by his daughter."

CF Blurb
"HERE AND NOW AND THEN (90,000 words) is a father/daughter novel with a time-travel twist: the character-driven time travel of The Time-Traveler’s Wife written with the mainstream sensibilities of Nick Hornby."

SF Blurb
"HERE AND NOW AND THEN (90,000 words) is science fiction for people who hate science fiction. An intimate character-driven look at how far people will go for the ones they love, I believe the blend of sci-fi elements and traditional themes can go beyond genre readers and into the mainstream. Think The Time Traveler’s Wife as written by Nick Hornby with a dash of Torchwood."
 
Bio
"A lifelong writer, my published credits include contributions to Thirsty? San Francisco, Fox Sports, SB Nation, Yahoo Sports, NYTimes.com, Maple Street Press, and various local arts magazines. I also run a freelance writing business."

Hope this helps!

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Lora Palmer
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« Reply #18 on: September 21, 2015, 04:34:04 PM »

(Per request from the success stories forum, here's the query for THE MIRRORMASTERS that garnered a contract!)

Leah Ellis never knew why she was abandoned on the beach at two years old. That is, until her life takes a bizarre turn when she begins seeing images in mirrors she can’t explain--cloaked figures using powers that manifest like lightning bolts, or flash-frozen beaches on another world beneath a purple sky.

She practices mirror-gazing, driven to understand these images and their possible connection to her forgotten past, and discovers a wild, boundless power coursing through her veins. Soon, she learns to control what the mirror shows her.

When new neighbors move in, Leah is shocked that they're dead ringers for the people in her visions. According to Brian, with the gorgeous ice-blue eyes, and his father, she is a MirrorMaster--an alien with a gift that lets her travel through mirrors, even to worlds light years away. Her birth parents sent them to take her back to her homeworld of Jantyr.

But Leah’s long-lost birth sister activated an ancient device to trigger a cataclysm on Jantyr as a bid to consolidate her own power. Leah must return to Jantyr, master her newfound ability in order to disable the device, and thwart her sister’s plans. Otherwise, the destruction will consume the entire galaxy, including Earth and everyone she loves.

THE MIRRORMASTERS is a 98,000-word science fiction/fantasy for young adults. I have earned a graduate degree in Psychology from Widener University and work at a local residential facility serving autistic children and teens. My short science fiction/apocalyptic story, “Defying the Darkness,” is published through Novelty Fiction. Most recently, I have a short story accepted in an upcoming anthology [details redacted, but I hope to be able to announce them soon Smiley]. Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

Warmest Regards,
« Last Edit: September 21, 2015, 04:37:55 PM by Lora Palmer » Logged

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Leah must  stop a galaxy-ending cataclysm—if her birth sister, who unleashed it as a power grab, doesn’t kill her first.
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« Reply #19 on: September 21, 2015, 05:26:23 PM »

Great query! Something about it seems familiar! Have you posted it anywhere before?
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Lora Palmer
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« Reply #20 on: September 21, 2015, 05:33:44 PM »

Thanks, X!

I have posted versions of it (it's been through about a million and twenty drafts!) at AQC and WriteOnCon, so maybe you've seen it in one of those places. Or from other pitching opportunities over the years Smiley
« Last Edit: September 21, 2015, 05:40:02 PM by Lora Palmer » Logged

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« Reply #21 on: September 21, 2015, 05:55:58 PM »

Thanks, X!

I have posted versions of it (it's been through about a million and twenty drafts!) at AQC and WriteOnCon, so maybe you've seen it in one of those places. Or from other pitching opportunities over the years Smiley

Yes! WriteOnCon, that's where I saw it!

...I'm banned from AQC. Long story.
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Lora Palmer
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« Reply #22 on: September 21, 2015, 06:02:10 PM »

Thought that might be where you came across the query:) I so miss WriteOnCon this year! Hopefully it will be back again next August...

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« Reply #23 on: September 21, 2015, 06:20:02 PM »

Thought that might be where you came across the query:) I so miss WriteOnCon this year! Hopefully it will be back again next August...



Same!!
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Missus Braidyhead
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« Reply #24 on: September 21, 2015, 11:35:43 PM »

Fun thread! I like seeing all these queries in one place. I have two...

The more recent one:

As a young girl, Nima was found wandering in the desert by the Tribe of Sand. Now at seventeen, she’s the storyteller for her adoptive tribe, weaving tales for their entertainment and yearning for the wholeness that, she believes, can only come from knowing the truth of her past.

When the sultan from the nearby Tribe of Stars demands that Nima be brought in as his new storyteller, she has no choice but to go. She plans to escape his dark, stifling palace, even though it means traveling back through a desert full of windhaunts—memory-stealing spirits that roam the dunes. The tribespeople speak of the Old Unity, a time when the Tribes of Sand and Stars were one, and as Nima grows closer to one of the sultan’s sons, she discovers more about the Old Unity, as well as secrets of her missing parents and an impending invasion of windhaunts. The only chance the tribes have of defeating the windhaunts is through working together. Nima must use her stories to discover—and create—the truths of her past and the shared history of her tribes in order to preserve her freedom, save her people from windhaunts, and reunite the Tribes of Sand and Stars.

TALES OF SAND AND STARS is an 89,000-word young adult fantasy reminiscent of One Thousand and One Nights that will appeal to fans of Rae Carson’s The Girl of Fire and Thorns.

And the older one:

One month before her sixteenth birthday, Amalia’s only desire is to become a Companion—a “wife” to the Dolces, the old male witches who rule her non-violent coven. Because male witch infants haven’t survived since the Caust virus destroyed most of Witch and Humankind seventy years ago, it is considered an honor to mate with the Dolces and continue the pure lines of Witchkind.

But as soon as Amalia is chosen to be a Companion, her mother tells her a shocking secret: Amalia has a twin brother, smuggled from the city-coven and into the nearby Black City when he was only one day old. Witch twins need each other to survive past age sixteen, so Amalia must sneak out of her city-coven to find him. Amidst the Black City’s populace of mixed-breed thieves, dark creatures, and flesh-traders, Amalia has one month to restore the powerful twin magic fueled only by their connection. If she fails they will not only lose their powers, but their freedom, and ultimately, their lives.

THE KEY TO SELENE is a 91,000-word fantasy that will appeal to fans of Caragh M. O’Brien’s Birthmarked and Veronica Rossi’s Under the Never Sky.
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« Reply #25 on: September 21, 2015, 11:37:58 PM »

Good queries, MB!
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lab1992
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« Reply #26 on: September 22, 2015, 09:05:09 AM »

Okay, different versions of my query have been all over the internet, through WriteOnCon (I miss it), Critique Sites and Sun vs. Snow. Stats: 60+ queries, 5 full Requests, 1 offer of rep.

Dear ___________

In a city plagued with dastardly villains and monsters, seventeen-year-old superhero The Vine Vixen is Caperville’s only hope. No one suspects quiet, mild mannered Susan Black to be the mysterious Vine Vixen. When an arrogant new superhero, The Gray Eagle, rolls into town, he becomes an instant celebrity and a pain in her ass. His habit of swooping in at the end of battles to “save the day” and ending up on the five o’clock news to take the credit, has gone from annoying to infuriating.
 
After The Gray Eagle plants a surprise kiss on The Vine Vixen on live television, Susan is positive his sole purpose in the world is to humiliate her. To make matters worse, he enrolls at her school as his alter ego Grayson Clark. Thanks to his X-ray vision, he recognizes her immediately and tries to strike up a friendship. Susan is put off by his carelessness with the two personas. With each day, Grayson’s popularity grows and the line between him and The Gray Eagle blurs, putting Susan’s own secret identity at risk. Now that The Vine Vixen and Gray Eagle’s “relationship” is the talk of the town, she worries the attention he’s giving her might raise her peer’s suspicions. There’s only so much a mask can hide.
 
In spite of their differences, the heroes become partners in crime fighting to stop a new villain Grayson followed into Caperville. As the two bond, and their friendship develops into something more, Susan’s concerned that Grayson might not be what he seems. He’s spewing lies and half-truths, and as the secrets pile up between them, Susan wonders if her true enemy has been staring her in the face the whole time.

 SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEF is a 61,000 word YA superhero romance.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

ME!

« Last Edit: September 22, 2015, 09:56:17 AM by lab1992 » Logged
Lora Palmer
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« Reply #27 on: September 22, 2015, 09:47:12 AM »

Missus Braidyhead, I love twin stories and can't wait to read this! 

Ooh, wow! Somehow I missed that query at WriteOnCon, but lab1992, that story sounds like so much fun. Must. Read. Now. Smiley
« Last Edit: September 22, 2015, 09:50:38 AM by Lora Palmer » Logged

THE MIRRORMASTERS is now available
Leah must  stop a galaxy-ending cataclysm—if her birth sister, who unleashed it as a power grab, doesn’t kill her first.
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Missus Braidyhead
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« Reply #28 on: September 22, 2015, 10:34:21 AM »

Missus Braidyhead, I love twin stories and can't wait to read this! 

Ooh, wow! Somehow I missed that query at WriteOnCon, but lab1992, that story sounds like so much fun. Must. Read. Now. Smiley

Thanks, X & Lora! Sadly, that one got me an agent but no editor. Maybe later when the market's more accepting of dystopian again, or I might update/revise some day.

Lab, I love the superhero elements, & this sounds like fun!
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CillanXC
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« Reply #29 on: November 06, 2015, 07:59:29 AM »

Here's the final query that got me both the offer from Month9 books and from my new agent:

Quote
The Empire seals its borders in blood. Torien Risto knows that; he’s seen dissidents dealt with before. He knows the young local girl who just knifed him will hang for assaulting an Imperial officer. And he swears on his life to keep that from happening, because he knows—whatever the authorities say—it isn’t justice. Someone inside the provincial government is kidnapping Imperial citizens and selling them across the desert to the salt mines, silencing anyone who tries to intervene. The girl’s brother is one of those who has been taken. Rejected by the courts, she’s waging personal war against the Empire as a last resort. Determined to save her life, even if it’s too late for the boy, Torien sets out in search of answers on the Salt Road, the ancient trade route running deep into the heart of the desert—territory claimed by the hostile Mayaso tribe.

His guides are signi, condemned to military service as punishment for violent crime, known to have sold their swords to the Mayasi in the past. His fellow officers all seem to be harboring secrets of their own. His adjutant, the only person he knows he can trust, is dead their first day on the Road. Surrounded by deception, corruption, and the very real threat of a Mayaso spear in his back, Torien uncovers a conspiracy that reaches to the highest levels of the Imperial government. The Emperor’s own guards are using profits from the mines to fund a coup—and, faced with unsettling truths about the royal family’s own brutality, Torien is no longer sure where his own loyalty lies, or how far he must go to honor his oath.

BLOOD ROAD (91,000 words) is adult fantasy set in a world inspired by Ancient Rome.

I pitched it as New Adult to Month9, since I've been told that really it could go either way (the MC is 19, and it is sort of a coming-of-age story). But in my mind it's really more adult.
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