Author Topic: Query YA Fantasy  (Read 182 times)

Offline Adelyn_S

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Query YA Fantasy
« on: October 15, 2020, 10:42:47 AM »
I've gotten a few rejections with no feedback so I've slightly retooled some things, but I'm wondering if there's something I'm missing here! Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

Dear Ms. Wonderful Agent:

I’m currently seeking representation for my YA debut, I WISH I MAY, a 104,000-word contemporary fantasy perfect for fans of quirky fairytale mashups like The School for Good and Evil, and royal romances like The Royal We.

A fairy godmother in training, eighteen-year-old Zelda Ravensdale wants nothing more than to live up to her family legacy and graduate as First Fairy. As if the competition at her magic school wasn’t enough pressure, she’s also been tasked with granting the wish of handsome crown prince Leo. The problem is, all that lonely and flirtatious Leo wants is to get rid of his crown, but Zelda is under strict instructions to make sure he keeps it. If Leo doesn’t ascend the throne, there’s nothing stopping a group of ill-intentioned magicians from seizing it and upsetting the delicate balance of magic in the modern world.

Determined to save both the line of succession and Leo’s Happily Ever After, Zelda works on convincing him that being royal isn’t so terrible. Except the more time she spends convincing him, the more she falls for the future king (and his handmade pastries) but getting involved with a godchild is most certainly frowned upon.

If Zelda wants to be First Fairy, she can’t venture from her role as a side character in the fairytale, even if that means losing Prince Charming forever. When Zelda uncovers the magicians’ plot to get Leo out of their way, she must find a way to save her true love or no one in the kingdom will get their Happily Ever After.

I'm a freelance writer with a BA in marketing. The rough draft of I WISH I MAY gained over 1.5 million reads on Wattpad, where I’m a Wattpad Star with over 14,500 followers on the platform. My novel, The Prince’s Guide to True Love’s Kiss was published in 2018 as an audiobook by Hachette Audio and Wattpad.

I specifically wanted to query you because [ you asked for these specific things.] As requested, I have [followed specific submission instructions.]

Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
Adelyn Sterling

Offline rivergirl

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Re: Query YA Fantasy
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2020, 01:12:19 PM »
This sounds fun and easy to follow. Two red flags for me: falling in love with her godchild sounds creepy. Maybe change it to assignment for the sake of the query. Also, it sounds like your book has already been published with 1.5 million reads. Congratulations on that by the way. If only you had charged a dollar per read.

Offline Adelyn_S

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Re: Query YA Fantasy
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2020, 01:42:53 PM »
Thanks for the help! I like changing godchild — I may change to wishmaker (a term from the book) unless that doesn't make sense. As far as Wattpad reads, I'm trying to show my ability to build a platform/appeal to readers. Any thoughts on if it would be more appealing to say it found an enthusiastic audience and not mention the number of reads (which agents might not have a context for)? Wattpad doesn't assign ISBN's and it was on there for free so it's not considered published, but I want to be upfront about where it's been posted.

Offline rivergirl

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Re: Query YA Fantasy
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2020, 03:08:25 PM »
Adelyn, not sure how to answer that question. The number of reads is incredibly impressive. It shows you can pull in and keep and audience. A lot of agents are looking for this sort of author's platform. On the other hand, being vague about having an enthusiastic feedback without mentioning the number of readers or the platform doesn't come across very well. It could be your beta-readers giving the feedback which don't count at all. I'm not familiar with Wattpad but if its available to the general public, it considered already published and as I understand it, most agents won't touch it. If you do snag an agent, you'll have to be upfront with her/him anyway, so maybe leave it? I'm curious to see what some other authors have to say.

Offline JMB

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Re: Query YA Fantasy
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2020, 07:39:33 AM »
This is what Literary Janet Reid a/k/a Query Shark said in 2018 on her agency blog—not a problem and definitely put it in the query.

https://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/2018/11/publishing-on-platforms-like-wattpad.html?m=1

Alexa Donne, an author with a huge YouTube following who makes a point of being up-to-date on trends in publishing, says attitudes have evolved since then. Check out her 2020 video. She says some agents won’t consider, but others will.

 https://youtu.be/y1Zpruhsrhs
« Last Edit: October 16, 2020, 07:41:13 AM by JMB »

Offline Lily

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Re: Query YA Fantasy
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2020, 03:21:02 PM »
Hi Adelyn_S. Below are just a few thoughts for you to consider or ignore -do what is best for your query and ignore my comments that don't work for you ;)

Dear Ms. Wonderful Agent:

I’m currently seeking representation for my YA debut, I WISH I MAY, a 104,000-word contemporary fantasy perfect for fans of quirky fairytale (fairy tale is actually two words if you look it up in the dictionary)mashups like "The School for Good and Evil", and royal romances like: "The Royal We".

As a fairy godmother in training, eighteen-year-old Zelda Ravensdale wants nothing more than to live up to her family legacy and graduate as First Fairy. As if the competition at her magic school wasn’t enough pressure, she’s also been tasked with granting the wish of handsome crown prince Leo (This is nothing more than my own curiosity, but I wonder why Zelda is the one choosen to do it? It seems like a very coveted job -is there a plot point in the reason that she's choosen? If so, maybe include as it could add some interesting backstory for her.. The problem is, all that lonely and flirtatious Leo wants is to get rid of his crown, but Zelda is under strict instructions to make sure he keeps it (I understand Zelda is the main character, but I am curious as to why Leo doesn't want to ascend. Might make a nice stake to add to query?). If Leo doesn’t ascend the throne, there’s nothing stopping a group of ill-intentioned magicians from seizing it and upsetting the delicate balance of magic in the modern world. (This sentence threw me in terms of setting. You wrote modern world -so does that mean the story takes place in current times? When I began reading and thought of fairy tales, I instantly placed the story in a Renaissance-like setting, but if it's not and does take place in current times -I suggest writing that in the beginning of the query).

Determined to save both the line of succession and Leo’s Happily Ever After, Zelda works on convincing him that being royal isn’t so terrible. Except the more time she spends convincing him, the more she falls for the future king (and his handmade pastries) (While I like this little add in as it offers a small bit of description to Leo's character, I might suggest leaving it out of the query. In a letter where writers have a limiter word count, it's best to use the space carefully and not include bits that aren't needed. BUT this is just my opinion.) but getting involved with a godchild is most certainly frowned upon. (What happens if she does? Will she be stripped of her power? Cast out? Knowing what Zelda risks could be an amazing stake to include.)

If Zelda wants to be First Fairy, she can’t venture from her role as a side character in the fairy tale, even if that means losing Prince Charming forever. When Zelda uncovers the magicians’ plot to get Leo out of their way, she must find a way to save her true love or no one in the kingdom will get their Happily Ever After.

I'm a freelance writer with a BA in marketing. The rough draft of I WISH I MAY gained over 1.5 million reads on Wattpad, where I’m a Wattpad Star with over 14,500 followers on the platform. My novel, The Prince’s Guide to True Love’s Kiss was published in 2018 as an audiobook (audio book is two words ;) Again, a nitpick on my behalf but I'd hate to think anyone would pass up your book just because of a small thing like a space. Also, amazing credits!) by Hachette Audio and Wattpad.

I specifically wanted to query you because [ you asked for these specific things.] As requested, I have [followed specific submission instructions.]

Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
Adelyn Sterling

Overall Adelyn I think this is a great query. I have a soft spot for fairy tales so I could definitely see myself enjoying this book. The above are suggestions, so of course take and delete whichever remarks you think are right for your query. What I would highly suggest is more information on the magicians; what is it that they're doing to push out Leo, who are they themselves, and what will they do to the kingdom that puts everyone else's happily ever after at risk? I'd also like to know about Zelda's plans: how does she plan on stopping the magicians? What powers does Zelda have to stop them? I also wonder if part of Zelda is conflicted with even stopping the magicians? Like is there a possibility that if Leo doesn't become king then maybe they could be together? That'd make an interesting internal conflict. I wonder too about Zelda's fairy side of this; is her family pressuring her? does she fear failing Leo and thus failing her fairy relations? And of course I'm curious about their romance; does Leo return her feelings?
NOW this is a ton of questions and by no means would I suggest you answer them all in your query -leave some questions to be answered only by reading your book. I would suggest then that you take maybe two of these ideas and address them in your query in a way that increases the stakes and show a sense of urgency or problem that must be addressed by Zelda.
Alright, that was a lot and I hope I didn't overwhelm you with my questions, I'm just very curious where the plot is headed and I think by address a few of these thoughts, you might portray the plot better. But again, just suggestions. I wish you luck and happy writing!

Offline inkwitch

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Re: Query YA Fantasy
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2020, 09:19:33 AM »
I've gotten a few rejections with no feedback so I've slightly retooled some things, but I'm wondering if there's something I'm missing here! Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

Dear Ms. Wonderful Agent:

I’m currently seeking representation for my YA debut, I WISH I MAY, a 104,000-word contemporary fantasy perfect for fans of quirky fairytale mashups like The School for Good and Evil, and royal romances like The Royal We.

A fairy godmother in training, eighteen-year-old Zelda Ravensdale wants nothing more than to live up to her family legacy and graduate as First Fairy. As if the competition at her magic school wasn’t enough pressure, she’s also been tasked with granting the wish of handsome crown prince Leomaybe this is just me, but I'm wondering about where he is going to be king of. Is this a modernized fairytale in the vein of descendants?. The problem is, all that lonely and flirtatious Leo wants is to get rid of his crown, but Zelda is under strict instructions to make sure he keeps it. I really like how clearly opposing these wants are If Leo doesn’t ascend the throne, there’s nothing stopping a group of ill-intentioned magicians from seizing it and upsetting the delicate balance of magic in the modern world. I'm not sure how seizing the throne would result in the balance of magic would tip, but good for having such clear stakes

Determined to save both the line of succession and Leo’s Happily Ever After, Zelda works on convincing him that being royal isn’t so terrible. Except the more time she spends convincing him, the more she falls for the future king (and his handmade pastries) but getting involved with a godchild is most certainly frowned upon. Honestly, i didnt mind the godchild thing. To me, its clear they are the same age and equals, it sounds edgy rather than problematic

If Zelda wants to be First Fairy, she can’t venture from her role as a side character in the fairytale, even if that means losing Prince Charming forever. When Zelda uncovers the magicians’ plot to get Leo out of their way, she must find a way to save her true love or no one in the kingdom will get their Happily Ever After.

I'm a freelance writer with a BA in marketing. The rough draft of I WISH I MAY gained over 1.5 million reads on Wattpad, where I’m a Wattpad Star with over 14,500 followers on the platform. My novel, The Prince’s Guide to True Love’s Kiss was published in 2018 as an audiobook by Hachette Audio and Wattpad.

I specifically wanted to query you because [ you asked for these specific things.] As requested, I have [followed specific submission instructions.]

Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
Adelyn Sterling

Hope this helped! An exciting hook and thrilling premise! A very clear idea of how the story goes. I would love to read it, but instead of Wattpad, I'll buy it when it comes out:)