Friday, December 17, 2010

My Query Letter

A lot of this blog might be dedicated to the querying process. As I am in no position to publish myself, I need an agent who is wiser than I to help get my book out there. As far as I can tell, querying is a lot like a dance audition, except no one is going to tell you you're too fat. Oh, and you can do it in your pajamas. The success ratio might be a little lower. (Though that probably depends on what you are auditioning for.)

As I've discovered, summing up your book in one page of excitement is not the easiest process in the world. Especially if you are like me and addicted to plot twists and surprises. I'll admit it, my novel isn't the most straightforward ever written. A lot of things happen. So, I've been working at my query letter for a while. Even during the submission process the letter has undergone a certain amount of revision. (A certain amount = lots and lots).

So, for your reading pleasure, I present: My Query Letter

Feel free to tell me if it sucks.

Dear Agent (insert actual agent name, as I don't think they appreciate being called by their job title anymore than I would appreciate being called Miss Dance Teacher (though that has happened)):

I am seeking representation for my young adult fantasy novel, Switch. It is complete at 56,000 words. (And the best book you'll ever read.)

(This paragraph is reserved for personalized information relating to why this particular agent might be a good fit for my book. Sometimes it also includes some thinly-veiled begging. Okay, not yet, but maybe that will happen as I grow more desperate.)

One of five Verdlark princesses, Maria Rose lives with her sisters in a quiet corner of Parnear. The princesses are protected from anything remotely resembling adventure until a mysterious, dragon-like girl begins causing trouble. Named Lia, the girl dares to claim that Maria Rose and her sisters are usurpers and frauds. Maria Rose suspects that Lia has profound mental issues; however, a few of the dragon-girl's claims seem a little too plausible. No matter how she tries to push them away, the princess's mind is haunted by a suspicion that the people she trusts are lying to her.

The only person who shares Maria Rose's suspicions is the youngest Rainhart prince and he is more of an irritation than an ally. The prince urges Maria Rose to join him in unraveling the mystery, but she cannot admit to herself that Lia might be right. It is easier for her to simply ignore the problem and continue on the simple path laid out for her.

Then, tragedy strikes the Verdlark family in the form of a brutal act of vengeance. Left alone and faced with the horrible aftermath, Maria Rose begins the arduous task of putting her country back together. The princess agrees to every new sacrifice demanded of her, believing each the key to Parnear's salvation. Yet, as things grow increasingly bleak, she begins to wonder if it is even possible for her country to be saved. If so, is she really the one to do it?

Switch is a highly imaginative tale that relies on its audience's familiarity with myths and fairy-tales to create new twists and surprises. Featured within are fire-breathing dragon people, mining monsters, prophetic old men, living constellations, earthquakes, assassins, ghosts, and a land where technology is only beginning to compete with deep-rooted superstitions.

My storytelling experience comes primarily from my occupation as a choreographer and dance instructor working with teens. (This counts, right?) I also studied Dance and English at Chapman University, where I earned my degree in 2003.

Thank you for your consideration and time,

Sarah (last name TBA)

So, tell me. Does it seem like a book you would want to read? Are you interested? Titillated? Intrigued?

Shelter from the Storm - Bob Dylan


  1. You don't have to sell me! Very well done! I like it!


  2. I think the story sounds like a fun read, with great characters, conflict and imagination. Great job!

    I do think, though, that the query reads a bit more like a synopsis right now. I tend to keep mine at around 250 words, max 300.

    Have you tried the Querytracker forums? They tend to be very honest but gentle with their feedback. They helped me so much!

  3. Thanks for the advice! I am totally going to look into that.