Successful Queries: Agent Jennifer Schober and "Letters From Home" - Writer's Digest

Successful Queries: Agent Jennifer Schober and "Letters From Home"

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."
Author:
Publish date:

Just a quick note: As of summer 2013, Jennifer is no longer agenting.
Enjoy the query (and the others post on this site), but do not
research Jennifer or query her.

--------------------

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."

Image placeholder title

Dear Ms. Schober,

Jane Porter referred me to you and your agency. As a 2007 and 2008 RWA Golden Heart finalist, I am seeking representation for my novel. (Please see attached sample chapters.)

LETTERS FROM HOME is a 90,000-word WWII love story with a twist, aptly summarized as The Notebook meets Saving Private Ryan. Original Film (producer of Made of Honor, Vantage Point) has expressed interest in optioning the film rights, an avenue I look forward to exploring upon securing new representation. I understand you are a fan of both historical and women's fiction, and therefore believe your agency would be a great fit.

Set against the emotionally charged backdrop of World War II, poetic university student Liz Stephens falls deeply in love through a yearlong letter exchange with infantryman Morgan McClain. Equally enamored, the Midwest soldier stationed in Europe relies solely on their correspondence to survive the gruesome realities of war. Yet between the scrawled lines of familial hardships and heartrending tragedies lies the one secret Liz must keep, or risk losing everyone she holds dear. As the nation nears victory, each will learn the price of freedom while uncovering the deceptions of love and war.

LETTERS FROM HOME is a story inspired by my grandparents' epistolary courtship. I have already garnered blurbs for the manuscript from such notables as New York Times bestselling author James Pratt, screenwriter Mike Rich (Finding Forrester, The Rookie), and the Honorable Lynn "Buck" Compton (author and famed WWII veteran from Band of Brothers).

From 2001-2008, I was the host and a writer for the WB’s weekly television program "Weddings Portland Style." I have been a PR/Marketing Director for ten years and a freelance contributor to Portland Bride & Groom Magazine. In addition, I actively work with multi-published critique partners and am a member of several writers' organizations. More information is available at kristinamcmorris.com.

Upon your request, I would be happy to provide the complete manuscript. I appreciate your consideration and look forward to hearing from you soon.

Kind regards,
Kristina Y. McMorris

Commentary from Jennifer

Kristina got my attention right off the bat. She used a referral by a much-loved client of ours, Jane Porter. I always give special attention to referrals by our own clients; I trust their judgment. If a client of the agency has referred you, or another author with some clout, don’t be shy—with permission use their name in a referral! Sing it from the rooftops, people! It’s worth it, as it could mean an automatic request for the material.

Other specifics agents really like to know upfront are contest wins. Kristina mentioned that she was a two-time finalist in the RWA Golden Heart contest. Excellent move—even though she was not a winner, this is one of the contests I hold in high esteem—it’s an honor to be nominated. Lesser-known contests aren't as important to me, but if you have won, tout it!

Next, Kristina pitched her work. She summarized her book, LETTERS FROM HOME, as THE NOTEBOOK meets SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. The combination was daring and intriguing. This creative tag line engaged my mind and got my imagination going. Next, she mentioned film interest … Already? Wow.

Kristina’s pitch was all about selling me the story, and it worked. She kept it short, dynamic, and focused on the emotional conflict that was central to the book. She closed with a bit of biographical information that tied her own life and ancestry to the work. Kristina hit it out of the park for me in relating her own life experience to the inspiration for the story. It told me her heart was in this book and that she held a very personal stake in its success. Plus, it’s just so cool!

Letters From Home by Kristina McMorris released Feb 22, 2011 in trade paperback/ebook. Go to kristinamcmorris.com to find out more about this debut and Kristina.

Ready to send out your query? Get a critique!

Image placeholder title

Are you done writing and revising your manuscript or nonfiction book proposal? Then you’re ready to write a query letter. In order to ensure you make the best impression on literary agents and acquisitions editors, we recommend getting a 2nd Draft Query Letter Critique.

Whether you are an experienced writer looking to improve the elements within your query letter or a new writer looking for pointers on how to write a query letter, our 2nd Draft Query Letter Critique Service provides the advice and feedback you need to improve your query.

Click to continue.

plot_twist_story_prompts_fight_or_flight_robert_lee_brewer

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Fight or Flight

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, it's fighting time.

Garfield

Vintage WD: 10 Rules for Suspense Fiction

John Grisham once admitted that this article from 1973 helped him write his thrillers. In it, author Brian Garfield shares his go-to advice for creating great suspense fiction.

Pennington_10:21

The Chaotically Seductive Path to Persuasive Copy

In this article, author, writing coach, and copywriter David Pennington teaches you the simple secrets of excellent copywriting.

Grinnell_Literary Techniques

Using Literary Techniques in Narrative Journalism

In this article, author Dustin Grinnell examines Jon Franklin’s award-winning article Mrs. Kelly’s Monster to help writers master the use of literary techniques in narrative journalism.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 545

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a cleaning poem.

new_agent_alert_amy_collins_talcott_notch_literary_services

New Agent Alert: Amy Collins of Talcott Notch Literary Services

New literary agent alerts (with this spotlight featuring Amy Collins of Talcott Notch Literary Services) are golden opportunities for new writers because each one is a literary agent who is likely building his or her client list.

5_tips_for_writing_scary_stories_simone_st_james_horror_novels_hauntings

5 Tips for Writing Scary Stories and Horror Novels

Bestselling and award-winning author Simone St. James shares five tips for writing scary stories and horror novels that readers will love to fear.

on_vs_upon_vs_up_on_grammar_rules_robert_lee_brewer

On vs. Upon vs. Up On (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use on vs. upon vs. up on with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.