Successful Queries

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ORION

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Aloha all,
After participating on this board it occurs to me that this may be of interest.
Two of us (and we are trying to get more) who have obtained representation have posted our original queries on our blogs. (You may have to scroll down to see them). I know that you can post your query in "show your work" but it may be helpful to see some that have worked.

http://author-in-the-trenches.blogspot.com/

and

http://pkwood.blogspot.com

Good luck,
ORION
 

Pamster

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Very good query letter Orion, thanks for posting your link to it. I am working on my queries and it's not such an easy task for me. I'd rather write a book then one query. I have trouble picking out what details to include, but I think my letter that is in the Query Letter SYW forum is much stronger now and hopefully might interest an agent. Only time will tell. :)
 

Pisarz

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Orion et al., thank you for sharing. The more of these made available, the better!

Orion, I noticed that your description in the query is quite similar to your prologue. Could you please elaborate on the technique you employed here? I noticed that it's different from Miss Snark's XYZ template but since it obviously "works," I was wondering if you could comment about your approach and why you chose it.

Hope it's not a bother. I'm a bit prone to overanalysis!
 

ORION

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Not a bother at all.
It does help to analyze sometimes as you can get to the meat of what your query should be for each book. If you scroll down you can see the catalog copy of my book which my editor created which (I think) is just as (maybe more?) effective and also another way to write the "hook."
I opted to reveal a bit of my main character for my query because my book so heavily depends on a reader understanding right away that it is in his POV.
I know it worked for Dorian but not for others. I will say -- that one line "Forrest Gump wins Powerball" -- was the most compelling to the editors I met at the Maui Writers Conference (coincidentally two from Putnam who eventually bought my book). Of course my book is really quite different than Forrest Gump but it gives a reader an "instant glimpse" of what my book is like.
This shows that a template is only that. A template. You have to tweak and make it fit to your project. You have to think about what your intent is in your query and that is -- to get the agent to ask for the Full.
I did not want partial requests -- that is why I included the first few pages -- and I was successful at that.
If I had no requests? Then I would have reshaped my hook into a more conventional form.
Hope this helps.
 

ORION

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I think this is great Maestrowork!
The more authors that participate - the greater idea new writers will have of the range and format of successful queries.
Thanks!
 

Toothpaste

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I'm not sure if there is much point in me posting my query letter, as I queried in the UK and typically all they ask for is a cover letter which is really bland (To whom it may concern: I am seeking representation . . . here's my synopsis) - basically that's it. I did spice mine up a bit with a small blurb in the middle, but I really don't know if it would be of much use. What do you guys think?
 

clara bow

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I'm always on the hunt for the queries that landed someone an agent or publisher. Post away!

I'd especially like to know if that particular query was the same sent to other agents and publishers?

I don't know if this has been broached before, but what about an instructional thread on writing query letters? Not to teach one size fits all, but rather to discuss common elements and basics that go into most of them. I find that people critiquing query letters in SYW are repeating themselves an awful lot (myself included). It'd be nice to have a constant thread to refer members to for helpful tips (that people would check out prior to posting letters for critiques--that's the ideal scenario, anyway).

I'm not published yet (duh), but I'd be happy to contribute based on research I did for myself. If it's a lame idea, just ignore me!
 

aruna

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I own;t be posting my on my blog for a few days as it;s part of an ongoing story, so I'll post it here now. This query got me several requests for partials and fulls.

I'm hoping that my novel WHITE NIGHT (approx 110,000 words) is a project you'd like to represent. WHITE NIGHT is based on the 1978 Jonestown mass suicide in Guyana in which 900 people died, told from an original perspective and with a new twist.



Zena Vandermeer, a feisty Guyanese travel journalist, retreats to the rainforest to finally close the door on personal tragedy. Uncanny noises in the night – gunshots, screams, sirens, and a disembodied voice over a loudspeaker – from the nearby People's Temple settlement lead her to suspect trouble behind the guarded gates, and she investigates. What starts out as an exposé turns into a daring plan of rescue: Zena infiltrates the cult and is drawn into a lethal web of deceit with a madman – and his tyrannical partner in crime - at its centre. Risking her life in a doomed attempt to stop the carnage, Zena finds closure and the ability to love again.



I am myself Guyanese born and bred. I have actually lived on a pineapple farm just a few miles from the Jonestown site, so I know the area and the circumstances well. WHITE NIGHT recalls that event in all its horror, but with enough fictional characters and plot twists - and a dramatic new outcome - to make it both fresh and unexpected. It explores the deeper issues of cult mentality that led to the tragedy, and takes the reader into an unfamiliar and exotic world. As a suspense story with a female protagonist and female victims it should appeal particularly to women, yet is universal enough to draw a large and diverse readership. With its serious themes and an exciting story it bridges the gap between commercial and literary fiction.



I'm a three-time novelist with HarperCollins, London. My novels sold respectably in Britain and extremely well in France, the first two climbing into the Top Ten there. The North American rights for these three novels - multi-ethnic family sagas, set mostly in India - are still available, and several foreign publishers are eager for more work from me.



I currently live in England, but I believe the US market is more appropriate for the WHITE NIGHT story, and I'm looking for dynamic new representation there. I'd be delighted to send you the manuscript.



Thank you for your time and consideration, and I look forward to your reply
 
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janetbellinger

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Thanks all. Orion, I left a comment on your blog. I really appreciate you and the others for generously sharing your successful queries with the rest of us.
 

Elektra

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Orion, I noticed that you mentioned in your query that you had other novels completed. Was this a big point at the post-query stage (As in, the agent asked to read any other MSs soon after offering representation)?