Jordan Marisa Kelly (jordanmkelly on QT) has signed with agent Jordan Hamessley of New Leaf Literary & Media.
I'll also say that my query broke some "rules" when it came to query structure. Most people will tell you the query should be around 250 words and mine was almost 400. I was also strongly advised by a couple critique partners to pitch the story chronologically, even though the story is a non-linear narrative. I tried really hard to write a query that felt right to me while still obeying these "rules" but ultimately decided that they didn't work in my case. So while I absolutely recommend reading advice on query structure, I also recommend listening to your gut. I think the most important thing when it comes to writing a query letter is making your concept shine and hooking the agent.
I am contacting you because your client ... mentored me through the Author Mentor Match program and she told me that you are actively seeking LGBTQ stories. I hope that you will be interested in THE SUN FROM BOTH SIDES, a YA contemporary in 83,000 words.
When sixteen-year-old Whitney Crane sneaks off and boards a bus to New York, her seatmate, a stamp collector, asks her what she collects. Whit is accustomed to lying about many things—her real name, her family history, her sexual orientation—but she tells him the truth: Whit collects her father, a best-selling author and literature professor who struggled with mental illness. Whit was six the last time she saw her father, but she's never given up trying to learn about him through newspaper articles, his favorite books, poems, and postcards he’s sent her, which Whit believes contain coded clues to his whereabouts.
Months before her secret trip, Whit’s family had decided it was time to let go of the past. They moved to a sleepy Florida beach town where Whit's brother, her best and only friend, ditched her for the neighborhood surfing goons and a hostile girlfriend. While Whit would never be the picture of high school popularity, she managed to befriend Josh—a server at the late-night boardwalk diner called The Elsewhere Café—and enlisted him to help decipher her father’s clues. Even better, she started a relationship with Valentina, the girl of her dreams. But after everyone got caught in a web of Whit’s lies, Josh and Valentina abandoned her and Whit's brother took a self-destructive turn. More isolated than ever, Whit resolved to finally figure out how her identity and her father’s fit together.
Whit is ready to solve the puzzle, but it will take more than following her father’s treasure map around New York City. Whit must come to terms with what's real and what isn’t in order to put together pieces of the father she’s tried for so long to collect—and, if she’s lucky, the pieces of her own life, too.
THE SUN FROM BOTH SIDES is a YA contemporary in 83,000 words. David Arnold’s MOSQUITOLAND meets Nina LaCour’s WE ARE OKAY in a story that alternates between past and present, lies and truth, love and betrayal, with pieces of Whit’s collection sprinkled throughout.
Thank you for your consideration,
Jordan Marisa Kelly