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Success Story Interview - Christie Curry

An Interview with Christie Curry (CCWrites25 on QT) upon receiving an offer of representation from agent Morgan Hughes of FinePrint Literary Management.


QT: Can you tell us a little bit about the book for which you've found representation? What inspired you to write it?
Christie Curry:
This story is a workplace romance. I first started writing this manuscript after a bad work situation and intended to journal about my feelings, but my frustrated venting came out as a narrative. I saw the workings of a story and fleshed out the protagonist with a backstory, and soon, a love story floated to the surface. I’ve always loved workplace romances (The Office, Parks and Rec, The Mindy Project) and reworked the entire premise to be centered around the love story and the MC’s arc (with several dashes of humor thrown in).
QT: How long have you been working on this book?
Christie Curry:
I started writing in May 2021 and finished the first draft in October 2021. It wasn’t very good. I didn’t know anyone else who wrote, had never heard of beta readers or CPs, and didn’t know Facebook writing groups existed. I ended up paying a professional editor to look over my query letter and first pages. They very gently said the writing needed a lot of work, but that I had a good voice. I contemplated quitting for about a week, but then I went back in and started revising. I essentially burned the story down and rewrote it entirely. I cut scenes, reordered some, and rewrote anything that remained. Over the next year, I connected with fellow writers, got beta feedback, and continued revising. In December 2022, I got into a mentorship program and did extensive edits, including an overhaul of the entire premise. The only things that remained from the October 2021 version were the names of the characters and the setting.
QT: Was there ever a time you felt like giving up, and what helped you to stay on course?
Christie Curry:
I contemplated giving up multiple times over the course of the two years. I sent over 60 queries from May to December 2022 and didn’t get a single request. Not. One.

But every rejection had a version of this line: As you know, this is a subjective business and another agent may feel differently. So I continued to revise, query, and hold on to the tiniest glimmer of hope that I’d find an agent who loved the story.

I kept reworking my query and ended up with 18 versions by the time I finally nailed it in May 2023. On version 17, I got three partials that all resulted in form rejections. I pressed all three agents as to why they rejected, but only one gave me feedback. After implementing the changes to the first pages, I tweaked my query a bit more (mainly the comps), and with my final query and opening pages, my request rate skyrocketed to 34%. I got a fourth partial request, except this time, because I fixed my opening pages, it led to a full request. This was the first time an agent had read past chapter three, so it was a huge deal.

With my new pages and query, I got two more partial requests and six fulls. But one by one, my fulls got rejected. Worse, the feedback was inconsistent, so I didn’t have something obvious to fix. I was down to two fulls and two partials when I had my initial call (that I was certain was an R&R). But the agent ended up offering!! That offer led to more fulls and more offers, and I found FOUR agents who loved the story and my writing enough to offer representation.
QT: Is this your first book?
Christie Curry:
Yes, this is my first book.
QT: Do you have any formal writing training?
Christie Curry:
I took a creative writing class in college almost 15 years ago, and since then, I’ve taken multiple online writing classes and recently finished a seven class series. I have several craft books including Romancing the Beat and Save the Cat Writes a Novel. I’ve also read a ton of online blog posts on story beats.
QT: How many times did you re-write/edit your book?
Christie Curry:
HUNDREDS. I have over a hundred different versions of my original manuscript from October 2021. I also had a separate folder for revised scenes; I preferred to write them in separate documents rather than directly into the ms, and some had multiple versions.
QT: Did you have beta readers for your book?
Christie Curry:
Yes, I ended up with 39 beta readers since December 2021. Though I only had 1-3 per round, the changes were so extensive, I kept seeking betas to make sure there were no plot holes. I’ve had twelve readers on this final version.
QT: Did you outline your book, or do you write from the hip?
Christie Curry:
I’m a pantser through and through. I tried to outline and plot book two so I wouldn’t have to revise as much as I did for this book, but the love interest pantsed his way into the story. He didn’t exist in the outline or the plot. He just *appeared*.
QT: How long have you been querying for this book? Other books?
Christie Curry:
I’ve been querying this book since October 2021, and it wasn’t ready AT ALL when I sent the first batch of queries. I’ve revised my query multiple times, paid for numerous professional critiques, and even paid someone on Fiverr to write one from scratch, but none of those versions got requests. It wasn’t until I rewrote it from scratch myself in January 2023 that I finally started getting requests.
QT: About how many query letters did you send out for this book?
Christie Curry:
Overall, from October 2021 until August 2023 when I secured representation, I sent out 320 queries for this book (I withdrew 60 for a net total of 260).

I sent out an initial batch of ten queries in October 2021 that resulted in 100% rejections and CNRs. Neither the book nor query were ready. Like most authors, I queried too early. I burned down the entire story and rewrote it before querying again in January 2022.

From January 2022 to December 2022, I sent out 105 queries. I withdrew 33 for various reasons.

The remaining 72 were:
· 52 Rejections
· 18 CNRs
· 2 full requests (one from cold querying in January, one from a Moodpitch like in April). I got zero requests from May-December 2022.

From January 2023 to August 2023, I sent out 205 queries. I withdrew 27 when my third partial got rejected.

The remaining 178 were:
· 26 requests* (20 fulls + 6 partials (3 partials turned into fulls)).
· 89 Rejections (pre-offer)
· 31 step asides after I nudged with the offer
· 32 CNRs

*13 full requests came after I nudged with my offer.

Four agents offered representation.
QT: On what criteria did you select the agents you queried?
Christie Curry:
I mainly used QT premium to search for agents looking for contemporary romance and women’s fiction. I wrote a body positive story so I searched twitter for #mswl #bodypositive and found a few agents specifically looking for body positive stories. I also searched the official MSWL website for body positivity. Finally, I searched publisher’s marketplace for agents making deals with big 5 imprints.
QT: Did you tailor each query to the specific agent, and if so, how?
Christie Curry:
In the beginning, I always lifted something from the agent’s MSWL and included it in my opening sentence, but I didn’t get any requests on those queries. I got a few personalized rejections, but that’s it. On my final query that worked the best, I never personalized unless an agent was looking for body positivity, and then I mentioned that.


Dear _____,

I follow you on Twitter and saw your MSWL tweet calling for body positivity, and I think you will enjoy [MS TITLE].
QT: What advice would you give other writers seeking agents?
Christie Curry:
Try to find a supportive group of fellow writers because no one understands querying like other querying writers. Your non-writing friends and family may be really supportive (or maybe they’re not), but the writing community is the best place to wallow. And there will be lots of wallowing. My stats are very decent and I still ended up with 151 rejections (not including the CNRs and post-offer step-asides). Even with a good support network, it’s easy to feel down when you get rejections. There were many times my writing friends had to hoist me out of the pit of despair.
QT: Would you be willing to share your query with us?
Christie Curry:
This was my final query (version 18) that I had a lot of success with:

Query Letter:

Dear Agent (I used first name only),

I am excited to send you TITLE, an 81,000-word contemporary romance that contains representation for body positivity and mental health. This story delivers laughs and emotional depth, similar to Talia Hibbert’s Act Your Age, Eve Brown with a voice similar to Sophie Kinsella.

Data analyst Sarah Abrams recovered from her eating disorder, but when she gained the weight back, it cost her her fiancé. Now, trapped between crushing debt and a misogynistic CEO, she’s trying to formulate a way out of her rut. Although she’s a whiz at crunching numbers for work, they don’t quite add up in her personal life. In fact, the only thing emptier than her wallet and career prospects is her love life.

That is, until charming new hire Nick Jacobs starts at their quality improvement firm. Between his megawatt smile and a wit sharper than his chiseled jawline, Sarah’s ready for a romp in his spreadsheets. But when an assistant director position opens, and they’re both in the running, Sarah’s dream guy becomes her nightmare.

As Sarah and Nick trade barbs and banter, they can’t deny the tension growing between them. The fleeting rides in the elevator; their heated exchanges in the copy room. Soon, Sarah’s fantasies shift from strangling Nick to straddling him. With the promotion within reach, and Sarah falling for her competition, her margin of error is thinner than a sheet of copy paper. One miscalculation, and every aspect of her life will crash harder than an outdated version of Excel. Or, all her carefully crafted formulas might just hold up, and she could get everything she’s always wanted.

Bio paragraph

Thank you for your time and consideration.