This series is called “Successful Queries” and I’m posting actual query letter examples that succeeded in getting writers signed with agents. In addition to posting these query letter samples, we will also get to hear thoughts from the writer’s literary agent as to why the letter worked.
Dear Ms. Jeglinski:
I am seeking representation for INK, a 75,000-word YA Urban Fantasy set in Japan.
When her mom dies, sixteen-year-old Katie never expects to end up living in Shizuoka with her English-teaching aunt. It’s bad enough that she can’t read or write much Japanese, but when Katie stumbles into the middle of an ugly breakup, put her on the radar of Yuu Tomohiro, her new school’s arrogant and gorgeous kendo star. After his bullying provokes her to spy on him, she discovers his secret passion for drawing, and that his badass attitude is mainly reserved for his kendo matches.
But it isn’t Tomohiro’s kendo talent that has Yakuza gangsters honing in on him-it’s his drawings. Because everything Tomohiro sketches in ink comes to life, and something always goes wrong.
Now Katie has to decide whether to stay away from the guy she’s falling for, or to face the Yakuza alongside him. And the worst part? The ink itself is hunting Katie, and there may be one person Tomohiro can’t protect her from-himself.
I have been previously published as the 2007 Fiction Contest winner in Room Magazine, and in the Drollerie Press anthology Playthings of the Gods (Feb 2011). I have a story forthcoming in the Tesseracts 15 anthology (Sept 2011).
Thank you for time and consideration.
COMMENTARY FROM AGENT MELISSA JEGLINSKI:
This project (INK) was sold to Harlequin Teen in a two-book deal and will be published as INK in July. An e-novella prequel will be out in June.
I don’t have many Urban Fantasy projects in my roster, but when I realized that Amanda’s protagonist was an orphaned North American, I thought I might be able to relate to her culture shock issues. What really got my attention was the line: “…and something always goes wrong.” I was intrigued by what that meant and wanted to discover more. The key here is that Amanda left me with questions that I wanted the answers to.
Was this a short query? Yes. But the great thing was that it didn’t overwhelm me with tons of details because it could have gotten bogged down with the story’s complexity and left me too confused to request the full. Instead, she concentrated on giving me the main aspects of the story: characters, conflict, genre, setting. Amanda also had some good writing credits behind her. (And once I started reading the manuscript, I was totally captivated by the writing!)
This guest column is a supplement to the
“Breaking In” (debut authors) feature of Natalie
in Writer’s Digest magazine. Are you a subscriber
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Other writing/publishing articles & links for you:
- From Self-Published Author to Agented Success.
- “How I Got My Agent,” by Self-Published Author Boyd Morrison.
- NEW Literary Agent Seeking Writers: Brooks Sherman of FinePrint Literary.
- 170 Agent Interviews and Counting — Read Them Here.
- Sell More Books by Building Your Writer Platform.
- How to Work With an Independent Editor to Polish and Shape Your Book.
- Follow Chuck Sambuchino on Twitter or find him on Facebook. Learn all about his writing guides on how to get published, how to find a literary agent, and how to write a query letter.
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