Skip to main content

Successful Queries: Agent Scott Eagan and "Better Than T.V."

This new 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 31st installment in this series is with agent Scott Eagan (Greyhaus Literary) and his author, Stephanie Stiles, for the women's fiction novel, Take It Like a Mom.

This new 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 31st installment in this series is with agent Scott Eagan (Greyhaus Literary) and his author, Stephanie Stiles, for the women's fiction novel, Take It Like a Mom.

Image placeholder title

"Take it Like a Mom" was originally
titled "Better than T.V."

Name: Stephanie Stiles
Email: [deleted]
Title of Manuscript: Better Than T.V.
Word Count: 75,000

Story Premise: Better Than T.V. is a short, humorous novel whose first-person narrator, Annie Fingardt Forster, recounts the various misadventures she experiences during the nine months of her second pregnancy. In a self-effacing and wry voice, she describes her suburban world, her colorful loved ones, and her surprising antics as she prepares for the birth of her new baby. As a stay-at-home mother of a three-year-old son, she turns the mundane events of domestic life into comical and outrageous escapades. Whether it’s a simple trip to the doctor’s office or an entangled stint working part-time as attorney for two of her friends, Annie’s tales are always filled with fun and insight.

Genre: Women's Fiction

Additional Information: I am an English professor at Dominican College, where I chair the Department and direct the Creative Writing Program. I've published poetry, short fiction, and nonfiction before, but this would be my first novel. I'd be an easy client, as I am eager to get this work published. I hope you find that it is in keeping with what you're looking for!

Commentary from Scott

Writers submitting proposals to Greyhaus Literary Agency can do so in three different formats. One method is an online form (fill in the blank). A lot of writers have found this one to be easier to do since they can avoid the pain and misery of writing that dreaded query.

Since opening Greyhaus, only two authors have caught me with their title and in both cases, I signed them (not simply because of the title). This short title certainly sets up the apparent humor in the story. With the blurb, there were several things that jumped out at me here. First of all, Stephanie did not try to overwhelm me with statements that wanted to make the story sound cute or funny. Too often, I have seen writers try this and in the end, all it does is turn me off. In this case, she sums it up in two simple sentences. “Annie Fingardt Forster, recounts the various misadventures she experiences during the nine months of her second pregnancy. In a self-effacing and wry voice, she describes her suburban world, her colorful loved ones, and her surprising antics as she prepares for the birth of her new baby.” Adding the words “misadventures”, “self-effacing” “colorful loved ones” and “surprising antics”, gives the reader a glimpse into the story understanding it is not simply a narrative on pregnancy, but clearly something much more.

The additional element that intrigued me about this project was her additional information she provided about the story. After first setting up the premise, she goes a bit deeper with the comment: “As a stay-at-home mother of a three-year-old son, she turns the mundane events of domestic life into comical and outrageous escapades.” At this point, I was able to immediately start picturing what potential events she would take on in the story. The simple combination of “mundane” and “three-year-old son” can only mean some great scenes.

In her bio, she really doesn’t have much to demonstrate in terms of novel writing. What she does, however, that works is the honesty about her background. She clearly uses her career as a force that shows she understands writing and she mentions briefly that she has done some other writing with short stories and poetry.

On December 29th, I signed this author. On the 11th of January, I sent out the proposal. The initial response from the phone calls showed editors had interest. On January 25th, an offer was made on the book!



Check Out These Great Upcoming Writers Conferences:

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: 6 WDU Courses, an Upcoming Virtual Conference, and More!

This week, we’re excited to announce six new WDU courses, a romance writing virtual conference, and more!

Going From Me to We: Collaborating on the Writing of a Novel

Going From Me to We: Collaborating on the Writing of a Novel

Past experiences taught bestselling author Alan Russell to tread lightly when it came to collaborating on projects. Here, he discusses how the right person and the right story helped him go from a “me” to a “we.”

From Script

Short Film Goals, Writing the Cinematic Experience on the Page and Sundance Film Festival 2022 (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by Script magazine, set your creative goals with a monthly guide to write and produce your short film, provided by Script contributor Rebecca Norris Resnick. Plus, an exclusive interview with Academy Award-winning screenwriter William Monahan, a Sundance Film Festival 2022 day one recap, and more!

Your Story Writing Prompts

94 Your Story Writing Prompts

Due to popular demand, we've assembled all the Your Story writing prompts on WritersDigest.com in one post. Click the link to find each prompt, the winners, and more.

How Inspiration and Research Shape a Novel

How Inspiration and Research Shape a Novel

Historical fiction relies on research to help a story’s authenticity—but it can also lead to developments in the story itself. Here, author Lora Davies discusses how inspiration and research helped shape her new novel, The Widow’s Last Secret.

Poetic Forms

Saraband: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the saraband, a septet (or seven-line) form based on a forbidden dance.

Karen Hamilton: On Cause and Effect

Karen Hamilton: On Cause and Effect

International bestselling author Karen Hamilton discusses the “then and now” format of her new domestic thriller, The Ex-Husband.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: The Ultimatum

Plot Twist Story Prompts: The Ultimatum

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character give or face an ultimatum.

6 Things Every Writer Should Know About Sylvia Beach and Shakespeare and Company

6 Things Every Writer Should Know About Sylvia Beach and Shakespeare and Company

Sylvia Beach was friend to many writers who wrote what we consider classics today. Here, author Kerri Maher shares six things everyone should know about her and Shakespeare and Company.