Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A pretend agent query

So as I'm nearing the finish line of my novel, I'm starting to get antsy about submitting this thing, so with Suzanne's help, I drafted up a quick query letter. I thought I'd offer it up for criticism, so any feedback you can give would be greatly appreciated (and don't be afraid to be honest, I've got thick skin!).

Dear agent,

Rigg Daago is about to embark on a journey that will take him to the end of his world--and the beginning of ours.

Bolertia is the world before Earth, a world where magnificent creatures of ancient myth are living beings. Frost-giants, thunderbirds, and phoenixs all exist among Bolertia’s cloud-high mountains, thick jungles, rolling deserts and vast, tumultuous seas. But as the planet’s destiny unfolds, the fate of Bolertia falls to a single boy: Twelve-year-old Rigg Daago.

All Rigg wants is to race magic carpets, but when his sister is kidnapped he must leave behind everything he knows. With the help of some friends, including Echidna—his lifelong racing hero—Rigg braves the treacherous Drockton Darklands, finding a way through an unknown land to reach the frosty peak of Mt. Pelion. But as Rigg tries to save his sister, he discovers that someone he had trusted was behind the kidnapping all along.

Thus begins the story of how Bolertia came to an end, and Earth began.

The Quest to Solcrest is a 55,000-word novel that is set up as a proposed six part series. After meeting you at the SCBWI Conference in Los Angeles, and receiving Bruce Coville’s high recommendation of you, I feel you would be a great fit for my book. It has a thick plot and concludes with that “heart punch” I heard you love.

Thank you so much for your consideration. I hope to send you the manuscript and look forward to hearing back from you.


Tyler McBroom

I know you're typically not supposed to mention it as a series, but most of my big hook (i.e., that this is the story of Bolertia's end and Earth's beginning) doesn't even begin to get solved in the first book. So should I leave that part out altogether, or is the hook strong enough to show the need for a series? Any other suggestions? Help! and Thanks!


Tyler said...

Also, if you're not comfortable leaving negative feedback publicly, feel free to email me at Thanks again!

Christy Raedeke said...

Hi Tyler, nice letter! I really really loved Michael Stearns after hearing him talk at SCBWI.

One thing I will flag is the mention of a six-book series. After just going through this, my agent said that long series are a hard sell right now, and what editors want is a stand-alone book that has series potential. So, if this is indeed a book that someone could read and feel complete, I would definitely say something like, "While this manuscript is written to stand on its own, I have outlined several other books in the series." This allows a publisher to take a chance on you, publish your first book and if it does well they know that you have more. Agent LR told me it's the up-front commitment to several books that's scary.

Anyway, congrats on getting to this stage and good luck with Firebrand!


Tyler said...

Thanks Christy! I do like your wording a lot better, that helps a lot. Also, I just became friends with Michael on facebook. He said of course he remembers me, and asked that I email him directly, rather than through their submission form, with my query and to send the first 30 pages (their standard submission process is only 2), so I was really excited to hear from him. Now I've just gotta get it done and ready to go!