Successful Queries: Agent Mary Sue Seymour and ‘A Gift of Grace’

I’ve meant to start this new series on the blog for a while now, but am just now getting around to it.  It’s 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 third installment in this series is with agent Mary Sue Seymour (The Seymour Agency) and her author Amy Clipston, for her book, A Gift of Grace.

Dear Ms. Seymour,

I am seeking representation for my Amish inspirational novel, A Gift of Grace, complete at 80,000 words.  It is the first in my Kauffman Amish Bakery Series.  The sequel, A Promise of Hope, is nearing completion, and another freestanding book featuring the same characters is in outline form.

Rebecca Kauffman’s tranquil Old Order Amish life is transformed when she suddenly has custody of her two teenage nieces after her “English” sister and brother-in-law are killed in an automobile accident. Instant motherhood, after years of unsuccessful attempts to conceive a child of her own, is both a joy and a heartache. Rebecca struggles to give the teenage girls the guidance they need as well as fulfill her duties to Daniel as an Amish wife.  Rebellious Jessica is resistant to Amish ways and constantly in trouble with the community. Younger sister Lindsay is caught in the middle, and the strain between Rebecca and Daniel mounts as Jessica’s rebellion escalates. Instead of the beautiful family life she dreamed of creating for her nieces, Rebecca feels as if her world is being torn apart by two different cultures, leaving her to question her place in the Amish community, her marriage, and her faith in God.

I’ve visited Amish Country in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, many times and have spent extensive hours researching the spot.

A member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), I hold a degree in communications from Virginia Wesleyan College and work full-time as a public information specialist.

Thank you for your generous time.  I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Amy G. Clipston

Commentary From Mary Sue

The project was the perfect length and I like how word count was immediately mentioned. 
Also, she mentioned the book was completed – many first time authors never complete their books

It was a series and I happened to be looking for series right then.

A lot of why I loved this letter was due to her pitch. Her pitch was nicely abbreviated and proved she could write. I liked the concept and the characters from the start.

She had actually visited Amish country, which is the best way to research. I was impressed. She had a college degree, too. Although one isn’t really isn’t necessary, it can’t hurt. You can find A Gift of Grace on Amazon.


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3 thoughts on “Successful Queries: Agent Mary Sue Seymour and ‘A Gift of Grace’

  1. Kristan

    Heck, this query letter makes ME want to represent the book, and I’m not even an agent!

    … Or at least read it, hehe.

    Seriously though, great letter, thanks for sharing it!


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