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Author Topic: Successful queries  (Read 22214 times)
Falthor
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Picture of Me and one of the Twins (Chloe)


« Reply #45 on: June 01, 2016, 03:35:54 PM »

Should be in the anything goes board on here.
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Munley
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« Reply #46 on: February 19, 2017, 11:57:34 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!

All of the queries posted are good examples of effective queries. This one, though, strikes me as the best query I have ever read. Ever. And I've read zillions.

For one thing, the story is unique in its circumstances, but the fix Elise is in has universal elements most readers could translate to dilemmas in their own lives. You think you've fixed some problem, only to be propelled into an ever troubling one and faced with having to make a terrible choice.
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slightlysmall
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« Reply #47 on: February 20, 2017, 04:12:37 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!

All of the queries posted are good examples of effective queries. This one, though, strikes me as the best query I have ever read. Ever. And I've read zillions.

For one thing, the story is unique in its circumstances, but the fix Elise is in has universal elements most readers could translate to dilemmas in their own lives. You think you've fixed some problem, only to be propelled into an ever troubling one and faced with having to make a terrible choice.

It is an excellent query. And it's out now! It's SO GOOD, and if it's possible, the sequel (which features Veronica Wilde) is even better.
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Rachael846
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« Reply #48 on: April 24, 2017, 05:26:25 PM »

Kind of late on this, but thought I'd contribute here. This is the query I actually sent out. I think it's a little bit different from the one everyone liked in my query critique thread. Obviously my agent wasn't turned off by the query, but I don't actually know if it's what sold her on the concept. She's only ever mentioned how much she liked my first pages. (She asks for the first chapter with queries, but my first chapter is just one three page scene, so that's all she got from me.) So it might not be a great query, but it was good enough to get her to read the pages and then ask for the full, and then the manuscript did the heavy lifting.

I think the difference between what everyone liked and what I sent out was in the third paragraph, relating to the stakes. There was a sentence that flowed better but was more general, but I decided to err on the side of specificity. Like I said, I have no idea whether that mattered at all.

-----
Dear (Agent),

Fifty-two days ago, magically-inept Eliaga Hetzel was skipping school and considering joining the local rebels, while her sister, magically-gifted Yazelia, was dreaming about attending the continent's most prestigious university.

But that was fifty-two days ago—before the long-simmering civil war finally found its way to their doorstep, leaving their hometown in ruins after a devastating battle. With both armies desperate for fresh recruits, Eliaga knew the dangers her sister would face if they stayed. As they traveled through treacherous territory with other refugees by boat, dragon train, and on foot, her only goal was to keep Yazelia safe.

Now, the only valuable thing Eliaga has left is her own story. When a journalist offers to pay to hear it, Eliaga knows it's her best chance of keeping Yazelia's dream alive. But if she slips up and reveals the one part she can never share, not only will Yazelia's dream die, Eliaga could end up deported back to a war zone. Getting through the story won't be easy, not with all of the heartache and anger and magic threatening to boil over, but after everything that's happened, she's not going to let her sister down, not again.

RUIN AND REFUGE is a 91,000 word YA fantasy that combines the lush secondary worldbuilding of Marie Rutkoski's The Winner's Curse with the unreliable narrators and emotional twists found in Elizabeth Wein's Code Name Verity and Ruta Sepetys' Salt to the Sea. [One sentence of personal info.] Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,
Me
My Twitter and Instagram handles
the other usuals...address, phone, email
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Sarah Ahiers (Falen)
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« Reply #49 on: April 25, 2017, 08:15:50 AM »

So it might not be a great query, but it was good enough to get her to read the pages and then ask for the full, and then the manuscript did the heavy lifting.

When I teach query classes the one thing I repeat over and over again is that the only job a query has is to get the agent to read the sample pages (or request pages if there are no samples.) So as long as it does that, it's an effective query.

All that said, I DO think this is a good query. Or at least I would read the sample pages if the query came to me.
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Repped by Mollie Glick of CAA
ASSASSIN'S HEART 2016 HarperTeen
I hang out at Sarah Ahiers Writes
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Rachael846
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« Reply #50 on: April 25, 2017, 05:03:47 PM »

Thanks guys. Smiley It was really helpful to read all of these when I was working on it. Hopefully someone else can learn from mine now.
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ejmccay
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« Reply #51 on: August 11, 2017, 01:56:11 AM »

This is the query I sent out for an adult contemporary romance, Love in Reality.

Dear Agent:

Since you like romance, I think this might be right up your alley. Two broken hearts, and one sweet love story.

Dog groomer Penelope Cooper is happily single. The toilet seat is always down, and everything’s always where she left it. But her identical twin sister Paige thinks Penelope needs a little excitement. When she hears about the show Celebrity Proposal conducting a contest, Paige auditions as Penelope…and wins. Now, Penelope must play the game or her sister could face serious trouble.

Angus MacLachlan loved being Hollywood's hottest leading man until a bitter, high profile breakup with his agent—and subsequent bad behavior—soured audiences against him. Now he's got to charm everyone back into the theaters. What better way than a reality TV show where he supposedly falls in love? Instant image-fix and a great way to show the world he's back to being his charismatic, fun-loving self.

Penelope has no interest in Angus and the feeling is mutual; but ratings are ratings. Their on-screen fiery interactions leave the audience wanting more, and the producers seeing green. They’ve got twelve weeks of living together in a massive Montana lodge. And based on their interactions, the house isn’t big enough for the two of them.

LOVE IN REALITY is a complete Adult Contemporary Romance at 53K.

Per your guidelines I have pasted the first three chapters below.

Thank you for your time and consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you.
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With enough duct tape and rum, you can fix anything.
mafiaking1936
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« Reply #52 on: August 15, 2017, 09:39:38 AM »

If it's of interest to anyone, there's a post for successful queries in /r/pubtips: https://www.reddit.com/r/PubTips/comments/6slgyd/pubtip_agented_authors_post_successful_queries/
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Munley
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Atlantic Canada


« Reply #53 on: September 20, 2017, 01:16:18 AM »

So it might not be a great query, but it was good enough to get her to read the pages and then ask for the full, and then the manuscript did the heavy lifting.

When I teach query classes the one thing I repeat over and over again is that the only job a query has is to get the agent to read the sample pages (or request pages if there are no samples.) So as long as it does that, it's an effective query.

All that said, I DO think this is a good query. Or at least I would read the sample pages if the query came to me.


It's easy to lose sight of this one simple principle  -- what the query's job is. This is a good reminder. Thanks.
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