Success Story Interview - Jamie D'Amato

An Interview with Jamie D'Amato (jamiedamato on QT) upon receiving an offer of representation from agent John Cusick of Folio 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?
Jamie D'Amato:
My book, The Good Vampire's Guide to Blood and Boyfriends (or, Good Vampire) is a YA-crossover gay vampire romance about a depressed college student recovering from a suicide attempt who gets turned into a vampire and has to figure out navigating life as a newly immortal being. It's very much about mental health, existential crises, morality and figuring out what it means to be good. I set out to write it a year after surviving my own suicide attempt but wanted to do something that still felt light and joyful and hopeful while dealing with those feelings.
QT: How long have you been writing?
Jamie D'Amato:
I've wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. As a kid I used to write "novels" in my composition notebooks that I'd take with me everywhere I went. I wrote endless stories, both original and fanfiction. Storytelling has always been a part of me in some ways.
QT: How long have you been working on this book?
Jamie D'Amato:
I spent about one year drafting the first version of this book, then another year rewriting and revising it. I queried for about 4-5 months and was on submission for less than 2 months.
QT: Is this your first book?
Jamie D'Amato:
This is the first book that I consider "finished" and the first book I queried. However, I've written one rough, terrible, unrevised but technically complete urban fantasy novel, as well as handfuls of novel-length fanfiction AUs that helped me train for the real thing.
QT: Do you have any formal writing training?
Jamie D'Amato:
I took creative writing classes in high school, but that's it as far as formal stuff. I did a lot of self taught writing lessons, from watching Authortubers and listening to Brandon Sanderson's lectures, to reading endless craft books and learning every beat sheet variation, to trading work with CPs and betas.
QT: Do you follow a writing routine or schedule?
Jamie D'Amato:
Not at all! My writing is very cyclical, in that I'll have 1-3 months of intense focus on a project, then 1-3 months of rest where I'm consuming media and refilling the creative well, then rinse and repeat. I don't think forcing yourself to write everyday is realistic for most neurodivergent folks, and having that expectation can be unhealthy!
QT: How many times did you re-write/edit your book?
Jamie D'Amato:
I wrote it, then re-wrote it, then had two significant revisions before landing my agent. I did little to no revision with my agent before going on sub, so the version that got me agent is very similar to the version that went on sub and got my multiple offers. The most significant revision brought the word count from 104k to 95k which made a huge difference in my request rates.
QT: How long have you been querying for this book? Other books?
Jamie D'Amato:
I started querying in March/April 2022 and got my offer from John at the end of August 2022. I was really lucky and fortunate and in some ways privileged to not have to spend ages in the query trenches, but I did a lot of research into the querying process and query strategies before I sent even one query.
QT: About how many query letters did you send out for this book?
Jamie D'Amato:
In total, my stats were as follows:
40 Queries sent
10 Full requests (1 from a partial, 3 from offer nudges)
2 Partials
1 Offer of rep
QT: On what criteria did you select the agents you queried?
Jamie D'Amato:
First I was narrowing down by reputable agencies, then choosing an agent from each agency that best fit my book in terms of what they represent and what they're looking for. Then I wanted to ensure the agents I was considering had sales to imprints and editors I loved, so Publishers Marketplace came in handy in addition to Query Tracker. Mostly, though, I was choosing agents who represented authors I loved.
QT: Did you tailor each query to the specific agent, and if so, how?
Jamie D'Amato:
Yes! Every single query was in some way customized, typically citing an author they represent that I'm a fan of, or else mentioning something on their MSWL they were seeking that I believe my novel fulfills. Almost every query where I mentioned an author they represent that I like, I got a full request. Not sure if this is just circumstantial but it definitely doesn't hurt to do that research!

Query Letter:

[Mx. Agent],

Thank you so much for your consideration. [I'm reaching out because you represent ABC, and I saw you were seeking manuscripts with XYZ]. So I'd like to introduce to you my debut novel, THE GOOD VAMPIRE'S GUIDE TO BLOOD AND BOYFRIENDS, an upper-YA gay vampire romance with series potential completed at 95k. Accented with an epistolary style, THE GOOD VAMPIRE'S GUIDE TO BLOOD AND BOYFRIENDS has the playful romance and quirky casts of Casey McQuiston, and the paranormal romance of THESE WITCHES DON'T BURN by Isabel Sterling and CEMETERY BOYS by Aiden Thomas.

Nineteen-year-old Brennan Brooks just wants to get back to his invisible life at Sturbridge University after a suicide attempt and months of therapy. It's only natural that his life is turned upside down by something as ridiculous and unexpected as turning into a vampire. But if there's one thing Brennan can do, it's pretend things are fine when he's on the verge of losing his mind.

Newly bloodthirsty, Brennan is thrust into a confusing life, and pushed into uncertainty when a cute librarian stumbles upon his secret. Navigating college is hard enough, but add in vampire puberty, an eclectic clan of self-proclaimed "good" vampires, and a growing crush on the one person who makes him feel normal, and Brennan's not sure he knows what's wrong and right anymore. With swirling rumors of a missing student and a rise in strange "animal attacks" near campus. It's up to Brennan to uncover the secrets of a sorority-like vampire clan and figure out how to balance vampirism and humanity—or risk losing the first real friends he's ever had .

Much like Brennan, I am queer, neurodivergent, and have previously attended a private university in Massachusetts. I have a BA in Communications and Design from Northeastern University. Outside of writing, I am an independent designer and creative strategist, and a mother to four pets.

Please note that the novel overall includes non-graphic references to a past suicide attempt and non-graphic small animal death via vampire.