Thursday, June 28, 2012

QUERY CORNER – Successful Queries

A query letter is your first, and often only, chance to impress a potential agent or editor. Writing a good query letter is essential to getting your work in front these publishing professionals. There are many websites and blog posts already dedicated to this topic, and many suggestions on what way is the best way to write them. But one piece of advice is consistent—your letter must hook the agent or editor into wanting to read more of your book. Today I will post the letter that got me a full request for my manuscript from Spencer Hill Press, followed by an offer of publication for my debut YA novel, Triangles. As always, it’s very important to follow the agent’s or editor’s guidelines and send them exactly what they ask for. Some writers personalize their letters, others don’t. I usually do, but if you’ve been invited to submit or are submitting following a contest win or referral, always mention that in your opener. Here is my query:

Dear Ms. Kaynak, (The opening should always address a specific person)

I took part in "The Great Query Contest of October 2011" and received a request to submit my YA novel, TRIANGLES, to Spencer Hill Press when you reopened to queries. I hope you will consider TRIANGLES for your list. (Personalization, especially when you’ve been invited to submit or were referred, should be in this first paragraph)

The travel brochure promised an ‘escape from reality’. Her sister promised it would be the best family vacation ever. But when seventeen-year-old Autumn Taylor's ship glides into the Bermuda Triangle, her days become a blur of Twilight Zone episodes—and she's the star of the show. (This paragraph, and last sentence, should hook the agent/editor and make them want to read more)

During her time in the Triangle, she speaks to her dead father, fights with a stepbrother she doesn't have, and finds herself stuck in the middle of a heated love triangle with a coworker and his half-brother. Waking up with cancer pushes her to the edge of a mental breakdown, sending her to the ship's clinic for help. The doctor warns her that any of these alternate lives could become permanent—after all, it happened to her during her own trip through the Triangle. Autumn struggles to figure out what’s going on, but everyone on the ship, including her sister, accepts each day as if it were the norm. When Autumn returns to the clinic for more answers, she finds the doctor is not on the ship's registry and never has been. (This paragraph should read like the back cover of a book—it should sound enticing and interesting without giving too much away)

Now, with no one to help her, Autumn has a few things to figure out: a way out of the Triangle, why she's the only one who's been affected by the strange occurrences, and why this is happening to her. If she can’t get her real life back on track, she may end up spending the next sixty years trapped in a life she was never meant to live. (The body of the query can be two to three paragraphs, each meant to pique the interest of the agent or editor and leave them wanting more)

TRIANGLES is a 63,000 word young adult urban fantasy. This novel is a standalone with series potential. Per your guidelines the first ten pages are pasted below. (This paragraph includes the title, word count, genre, and lists any submission guidelines that were followed)

Thank you for taking the time to consider representing my work. I look forward to hearing from you. (It is always a good idea to thank them for their time and close the letter professionally)


Kimberly Miller (Following my name would be my contact information—address, phone number, email address, and website, social media links)

Kimmy :)

TRIANGLES, Kimberly Ann Miller, Spencer Hill Press, June 2013


  1. LOVE that you're sharing the query that landed Triangles a wonderful home with Spencer Hill!
    You rock, girl!

  2. Works for me! Oh, wait, it already did. Literally. :)

  3. Very interesting explanation, step by step inside mental view of your book, before reading it. Makes me want to read it ASAP to see what happens. You sure piqued my interest!!

  4. Thanks for stopping by and checking my query out everyone! Kimmy :)