Angie Azur is a YA Sci-fi Writer.
Writer for PALEO Magazine.
Former Intern at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
SCBWI & COWG Member.


Friday, June 21, 2013

QUERY LETTERS: UGH

Query letters are the toughest for me to write! I'm sure if you are a writer you have banged your head against your desk while trying to write one. (If you haven't, I kinda hate you!) 





And after reading over 1,000 query letters as part of my training at Andrea Brown, I am still horrible at writing my own. 



I suggest, if you are having the same problem, go check out Query Shark ~ http://queryshark.blogspot.com 



The agent running that site shows the good, the bad, and the really, really ugly queries. Then she critiques them. 

What I have done, to help me write my own, is I copied a few of the great ones on that site. You can find them on the left side of the Query Shark blog. Then I put my own characters and plots into them. 

It's a great exercise, and will help you get closer to your own awesome query letter.

Think of it like this: 

Remember going to a museum and seeing all the young artists copying the great paintings? That's you now, a young writer, or a writer with a query problem, copying the great queries. You will get better the more you do.



I also suggest finding your top 5 jacket covers - you know the info on the book you might purchase. It's the hook, the paragraph or so about the book that hopes to lure you to whip out your credit card. Copy those too, inputting your characters names, and plot.

Both of these exercises have helped me to become a better, stronger, more precise writer of the infamous query letter.

I'd love to see your successful query letters! Helping other writers also helps you become a better writer. Post any queries you'd like to share in the comments below. You never know, I just might fall in love with one and pass it onto my agent.



Write~on
Angie

2 comments:

  1. I've been tweeking my query for my YA pirate book but I'm not quite there yet. Here it is:

    17yo servant girl, Jenny dreams of leaving behind a life of drudgery. The ruthless Red Lady pirate has returned to claim her daughter in order to train her to be a pirate. Jenny imagines a life of swashbuckling adventures, setting sail on the open seas, wind in her hair and pirate booty at her feet.

    Jenny is thrilled at the idea of becoming a pirate---that is, until her mother orders her band of pirates to burn and pillage the village, leaving death and destruction behind.

    Jenny runs away only to be captured and hauled onto the Red Lady ship to begin her training. This time her mother has an incentive for Jenny to stay, the capture of a young girl she threatens to kill if Jenny does not cooperate with her. Jenny pretends to go along in order to protect the child.

    When her mother is taken prisoner by King Hal’s guards, Jenny has to make a decision, either let her mother swing from the king’s noose or rescue her.

    PIRATE JENNY (60,000 words) is based on the true story of the Red Lady pirate who was active during the time of Henry VIII. She was known for her beautiful singing voice which often served as a distraction while her pirate crew began their attack.

    Also, for a great MG query letter check out: @_natalielloyd letter here: http://confessionsofawanderingheart.blogspot.com/2013/10/example-query-natalie-lloyd.html

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    1. Thanks for sharing Kathleen - this is an interesting story.....hummm

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