I've finished writing a historical young adult novel set in the 1960s. I've sent out well over 100 query letters, all with form rejections, if the agents sent anything at all. I can't believe it's my…Continue
I wanted to add about historical novels in the 50s and 60s. Read 'What I Saw and How I Lied' by Judy Blundell (Simon Pulse). That YA novel is set in the 50s and it won the National Book Award.
Don't worry about what's…"
The main deal is you have to get in and out quickly. Brevity is key here. I took a Writer's Market webinar a couple weeks ago and it was so worth it. The webinar was very informative but the editor also critiqued each person's…"
I've think you've got something special here, if you can pull out the quality in your book that will make an agent connect with it. When I read your revised query, what struck me was how many problems this kid is facing at such a…"
"Thanks for the welcome, Georgia. I didn't see this thread before posting my question about query writing, so I hope you'll forgive me for plunging right on in.
I won't be able to join in your weekly chats, but I intend to keep active…"
"Thank you again -- everyone who has commented and tried to help me with my query.
I've been struggling for a long time with what everyone keeps telling me that my query reads more like a synopsis than a query. For a long time I haven't…"
"What a fun/unique way to summarize a query, LOL. Nathan Bransford's my hero.
If you read this blog entry, you'll see he's basically looking for the same thing: who is the protag, what does he want/need and why can't he have it?…"
I agree with Tawny and think your query reads more like a synopsis. The story sounds good; if you can shorten it to a paragraph I think you will get some partial requests. When I was writing my query I read some query advice from agent…"
"Thank you, everyone who commented. It helps, though I'm still frustrated. I've read dozens of successful queries and have tried to emulate their methods, but I'm still not getting it. How do I show what the book is about without…"
"I remember your first query from AW. I agree with the comments that there may be too much detail in here. Right now it seems a bit like a list of things which happen to Mark without a real sense of his character.
The story itself sounds really…"
"Forgive me, I see the wordcount. I don't know how I missed it.
After reading both queries, I think you're still giving the agent too much plot in your summary. IMO, it's better to stick with Goal, Motivation and Conflict. Who is your…"
"Paul, Tawny is right. your query is entirely too long. The story is original, and you should at least be getting some requests from it. However, your query is a bit rambling. Here are some suggestions:
It’s 1965. The Vietnam War…"
When someone helped me with my query, I learned that you have to find the main conflict of the story and focus on that. I would say that the meat of your story is in this prargraph of your query:
When Mark finally chooses Genie, he…"
Your story sounds intriguing! But I'm thinking your synopsis is causing the rejections.
My gut instinct: Your query is too long and reads more like a short synopsis than a letter. The story summary part should be a couple paragraphs…"
"At the urging of some people on this forum, I'm posting my old query, plus one that I just though of. The second is quite different from anything I've done to date and maybe it's what I need to get noticed. At least I hope so.…"
"Hi Amy. I appreciate your comments. I think they're right on the mark. While I do mention the 60s in my query, perhaps I've been trying to downplay them, whereas I probably should be building that aspect up more to make the era exciting or…"
"Paul, I'm having the same problem. My novel is set in the late 70's and I think it is hurting my chances of publication. But I do see that as a challenge. I chose the decade because I am fascinated with it: the music, people, psyche. But I…"
"Thanks to all of you who have responded so far. Your offer to take a look at my query is very generous. I will take up your invitation after the Thanksgiving holiday is over (next Monday).