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  • Guide to Literary Agents

Successful Queries

Read more than 60 examples of successful query letters. Study queries that worked, and hear from literary agents on why they cut through the slush pile.

Successful Queries: Agent Sara Megibow and “Falls the Shadow”

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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.

The 66th installment in this series is with agent Sara Megibow (Nelson Literary) for Stefanie Gaither’s young adult novel, FALLS THE SHADOW (Sept 2014, Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers). Kristi Helvig, author of BURN OUT, said of the book: “[It's] a smart, futuristic thriller that grabs you and doesn’t let go until the very last page. This is a fantastic debut.” Read more

Successful Queries: Agent Katie Shea Boutillier and “THE ART OF FALLING”

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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.

The 69th installment in this series is with agent Katie Shea Boutillier (Donald Maass Literary) for Kathryn Craft’s novel, THE ART OF FALLING (2014, Sourcebooks Landmark). Kirkus said of the book, “Craft’s debut novel lovingly traces the aesthetics of movement and gently explores the shattering pain of despair. A sensitive study of a woman choreographing her own recovery.”

GIVEAWAY: Kathryn is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (UPDATE: L Chavez won.) Read more

Successful Queries: Agent Allison Hunter and “A Royal Pain”

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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.

The 68th installment in this series is with agent Allison Hunter (Inkwell Management) for Megan Mulry’s romance, A ROYAL PAIN (2012, Sourcebooks Landmark, part of the Unruly Royals series), which, in a starred review, Publishers Weekly called “a delightful love story… worth reading again and again.” Read more

Successful Queries: Agent Jim McCarthy and MIDNIGHT THIEF

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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.

The 67th installment in this series is with agent Jim McCarthy (Dystel & Goderich Literary) for Livia Blackburne’s young adult fantasy, MIDNIGHT THIEF (July 2014, Disney-Hyperion). Read more

Successful Queries: Agent Adriann Ranta and “Not a Drop to Drink”

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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.

The 65th installment in this series is with agent Adriann Ranta (Wolf Literary) for Mindy McGinnis’s young adult novel, NOT A DROP TO DRINK (Sept. 2013, Katharine Tegen Books), a post-apocalyptic survival tale set in a world where freshwater is almost non-existent. Mindy McGinnis is a YA author and librarian.

GIVEAWAY: Mindy is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (UPDATE: cotidiano won.) Read more

Successful Queries: Agent Julia Kenny and “Sure Signs of Crazy”

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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.

The 64th installment in this series is with agent Julia Kenny (Dunow, Carlson and Lerner Literary) for Karen Harrington’s debut middle-grade novel, SURE SIGNS OF CRAZY (August 2013, Little Brown Books for Young Readers) which received starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist and School Library Journal.

GIVEAWAY: Karen is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (UPDATE: Rosi won.) Read more

Successful Queries: Agent Sarah Davies and “The Rules For Disappearing”

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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.

The 63rd installment in this series is with agent Sarah Davies (Greenhouse Literary) for Ashley Elston’s young adult thriller, THE RULES FOR DISAPPEARING (Disney-Hyperion, May 2013). Find Ashley on Twitter here. Read more

Successful Queries: Agent Melissa Jeglinski and “Ink”

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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.

The 62nd installment in this series is with agent Melissa Jeglinski (The Knight Literary) for Amanda Sun’s debut young adult novel, the urban fantasy INK (Harlequin Teen, June 2013). Read more

Successful Queries: Agent Sara Megibow and “The Daedalus Incident”

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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.

The 61st installment in this series is with agent Sara Megibow (Nelson Literary Agency) for author Mike Martinez’s Fantasy/Steampunk novel THE DAEDALUS INCIDENT (May 7, 2013; Nightshade Books). Read more

Successful Queries: Agent Barbara Poelle and “Untold Damage” (Mystery)

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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.

The 60th installment in this series is with agent Barbara Poelle (Irene Goodman Literary) for Robert Lewis’s 2013 debut mystery, UNTOLD DAMAGE (Midnight Ink, April 2013). The author, Bay Area resident Robert K. Lewis, is a contributor to Macmillan’s crime fiction fansite, Criminal Element. Lewis is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, the International Thriller Writers, and the Crime Writers Association. Read more

Successful Queries: Agent Alyssa Reuben and “Hidden Cities” (Memoir / Travel)

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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.

The installment in this series is with agent Alyssa Reuben (Paradigm Literary) for Moses Gates’s travel memoir, HIDDEN CITIES: Travels to the Secret Corners of the World’s Great Metropolises; A Memoir of Urban Exploration (Tarcher, March 2013). Publishers Weekly said, “Urban exploration with Gates makes for wildly entertaining reading. A solidly entertaining ride for those seeking a gritty travel experience.” Read more

Successful Queries: Agent Sara Megibow and “The Siren”

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This series is called “Successful Queries” and I’m posting actual query letters that succeeded in getting writers signed with agents. In addition to posting the actual query letter, we will also get to hear thoughts from the agent as to why the letter worked.

The 58th installment in this series is with agent Sara Megibow (Nelson Literary) for Tiffany Reisz’s contemporary erotic romance, THE SIREN (Harequin Mira, out in paperback July 2012). Purchase the book here. You can find Tiffany Reisz online at her website, and on Twitter. Read more

Successful Queries: Agent Jen Rofe and “Skyship Academy: The Pearl Wars”

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This series is called “Successful Queries” and I’m posting actual query letters that succeeded in getting writers signed with agents. In addition to posting the actual query letter, we will also get to hear thoughts from the agent as to why the letter worked.

The 57th installment in this series is with agent Jen Rofe (Andrea Brown Literary) for Nick James’s YA novel, Skyship Academy: The Pearl Wars (Sept. 2011; Flux). The book was called “a fast-paced adventure that delivers solid action sequences throughout” by Publishers Weekly. Read more

Successful Queries: Agent Jenny Bent and “Oh. My. Gods.”

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This series is called “Successful Queries” and I’m posting actual query letters that succeeded in getting writers signed with agents. In addition to posting the actual query letter, we will also get to hear thoughts from the agent as to why the letter worked.

The 56th installment in this series is with agent Jenny Bent (Bent Literary) for Tera Lynn Child’s book, Oh. My. Gods., (Speak; 2009) which Publishers Weekly called “an effervescent, fast-paced read.” Learn more at Teralynnchilds.com. Read more

Successful Queries: Agent Roseanne Wells and “Dumbemployed”

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This series is called “Successful Queries” and I’m posting actual query letters that succeeded in getting writers signed with agents. In addition to posting the actual query letter, we will also get to hear thoughts from the agent as to why the letter worked.

The 55th installment in this series is with agent Roseanne Wells (Marianne Strong Literary Agency) for Phil Edwards’s and Matt Kraft’s book, Dumpemployed (June 28, 2011; Running Press). Learn more at Dumbemployed.com. Read more

Successful Queries: Agent Elisabeth Weed and “The Arrivals”

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This series is called “Successful Queries” and I’m posting actual query letters that succeeded in getting writers signed with agents. In addition to posting the actual query letter, we will also get to hear thoughts from the agent as to why the letterworked.

The 54th installment in this series is with agent Elisabeth Weed (Weed Literary) for Meg Mitchell Moore’s debut novel, The Arrivals (May 25, 2011; Reagan Arthur Books). Learn more at megmitchellmoore.com, or through Meg’s Twitter. Read more

Successful Queries: Agent Sara Megibow and “Score”

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This series is called “Successful Queries” and I’m posting actual query letters that succeeded in getting writers signed with agents. In addition to posting the actual query letter, we will also get to hear thoughts from the agent as to why the letter worked.

The 53rd installment in this series is with agent Sara Megibow (Nelson Literary) for Miranda Kenneally’s YA novel, Score (which may be retitled), a story about a girl who becomes quarterback of her high school football team. The book comes out in November 2011 from Sourcebooks Fire. Read more

Successful Queries: Agent Miriam Kriss and “The Iron Witch”

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This series is called “Successful Queries” and I’m posting actual query letters that succeeded in getting writers signed with agents. In addition to posting the actual query letter, we will also get to hear thoughts from the agent as to why the letter worked.

The 52nd installment in this series is with agent Miriam Kriss (Irene Goodman Literary) for her author, Karen Mahoney, for the YA urban fantasy novel, The Iron Witch (Feb. 2011, Flux). Read more

Successful Queries: Agent Jennifer Schober and “Letters From Home”

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This series is called “Successful Queries” and I’m posting actual query letters that succeeded in getting writers signed with agents. In addition to posting the actual query letter, we will also get to hear thoughts from the agent as to why the letter worked.

The 51st installment in this series is with agent Jennifer Schober (Spencerhill Associates, Ltd.) for her author, Kristina McMorris, for the novel, Letters From Home (Feb. 2011)—a book Publishers Weekly called “Ambitious and compelling…[a] sweeping debut novel;” while RT Book Reviews said “Letters From Home is a beautifully told story.” Read more

Successful Queries: Agent Steven Malk and “The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic”

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This series is called “Successful Queries” and I’m posting actual query letters that succeeded in getting writers signed with agents. In addition to posting the actual query letter, we will also get to hear thoughts from the agent as to why the letter worked.

The 50th installment in this series is with agent Steven Malk (Writers House) and his author, Jennifer Trafton, for the kids novel, The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic (Dec. 2010)—a book that received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and was called “a funny, witty read” by The Chicago Tribune. The book is a middle grade fantasy, and illustrated by Brett Helquist. Read more

Successful Queries: Agent Elizabeth Winick Rubinstein and “The Weird Sisters”

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This series is called “Successful Queries” and I’m posting actual query letters that succeeded in getting writers signed with agents. In addition to posting the actual query letter, we will also get to hear thoughts from the agent as to why the letter worked.

The 49th installment in this series is with agent Elizabeth Winick Rubinstein (McIntosh & Otis) and her author, Eleanor Brown, for the novel, The Weird Sisters (Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam; Jan. 20, 2011). The Weird Sisters was given a starred review by Publishers Weekly and named one of Amazon “Best Books of January 2011.” Read more

Successful Queries: Agent Catherine Drayton and “The Liar Society”

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This series is called “Successful Queries” and I’m posting actual query letters that succeeded in getting writers signed with agents. In addition to posting the actual query letter, we will also get to hear thoughts from the agent as to why the letter worked.

The 48th installment in this series is with agent Catherine Drayton (Inkwell Management) and her authors, Lisa and Laura Roecker, for their forthcoming YA novel, The Liar Society (Sourcebooks Fire, March 1, 2011). Read more

Successful Queries: Agent Mary Kole and “Wildefire”

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This series is called “Successful Queries” and I’m posting actual query letters that succeeded in getting writers signed with agents. In addition to posting the actual query letter, we will also get to hear thoughts from the agent as to why the letter worked.

The 47th installment in this series is with agent Mary Kole (Andrea Brown Literary) and her author, Karsten Knight, for his forthcoming paranormal YA novel, Wildefire (June 2011). Read more

Successful Queries: Agent Lauren MacLeod and “Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings”

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This series is called “Successful Queries” and I’m posting actual query letters that succeeded in getting writers signed with agents. In addition to posting the actual query letter, we will also get to hear thoughts from the agent as to why the letter worked.

The 46th installment in this series is with agent Lauren MacLeod (The Strothman Agency) and her author, Helene Boudreau, for the YA novel, Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings—a book that The YA-5 called “Absolutely fresh and sweet, a quirky coming of age story.” The book comes out today (Dec. 1, 2010), and on its release day, Helene is doing free giveaways online. Read more

Successful Queries: Agent Jim McCarthy and “Freefall”

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This series is called “Successful Queries” and I’m posting actual query letters that succeeded in getting writers signed with agents. In addition to posting the actual query letter, we will also get to hear thoughts from the agent as to why the letter worked.

The 45th installment in this series is with agent Jim McCarthy (Dystel & Goderich) and his author, Mindi Scott, for her YA novel, Freefall, which was released in Oct. 2010 from Simon Pulse. The New York Journal of Books said this of the YA novel: “With characters that ring true and a journey that proves honest, Freefall is no doubt sure to be one of the best contemporary young adult books of the year.” Read more

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