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Query That Worked-Soul of the Sea


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#1 Jasmine Denton

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Posted 07 January 2011 - 11:54 PM

Someone suggested I post my query here, so I hope I'm doing it right. This letter got me a full request, and then later an offer for publication.

Dear kNight Romance,

I am seeking publication of my paranormal romance, SOUL OF THE SEA. I believe it would make a great addition to your young adult paranormal romance line.


Hidden beneath the clashing waves of the ocean’s surface lies a secret civilization of lost souls—humans who’ve committed suicide by water and are cursed to prey on the living.


Seventeen-year-old Mykaela finds Dylan wounded on the beach. Although his reasons for being town are suspicious, she is captivated by his kind spirit and faded Irish brogue. As the bodies of young women wash ashore, Mykaela’s brother, a police officer, scrambles to find the killer. When he endangers his life by becoming entangled with a manipulative vixen, Mykaela turns to Dylan for the truth behind her brother's obsession and the killings, only to discover that Dylan is hiding more than she ever dreamed. Mykaela must face the monsters beneath the ocean's surface or risk losing her brother and the man she loves.


SOUL OF THE SEA, completed at 55,000 words, is the first in a planned trilogy. SONG OF THE SEA and WAR OF THE SEA are plotted and ready to be written. In the end, Mykaela must find a way to restore Dylan's soul and his humanity, or risk losing him to a mysterious illness.

I'm a member of several online writing groups including: YALITCHAT, Teenlit Authors, and The Write-Brained Network. I'm also a member of Joywriters, a chapter of American Christian Writers, and contribute regularly to their newsletter.



Thank you for your time and consideration. I have attached the first three chapters, a synopsis and marketing plan for SOUL OF THE SEA.


Sincerely,
Jasmine Denton


I'll admit, this query isn't perfect. But it did the job. :)

#2 richard p

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 06:32 AM

I was hooked. I can see why it worked. You're way ahead of most of us.

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#3 Cat Woods

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 07:57 AM

Congrats. This sounds like an intriguing read. You had me at your hook line--which was very well done.

Keep us posted on your progress!

Cat Woods
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#4 Bob Barr

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 08:56 AM

Great hook! Interesting that some of the things we are being advised not to include such as the trilogy angle was included, but things like the 'fit' with the agent's representation and the strong description are great examples to the rest of us. Congrats!Posted ImagePosted Image
Bob A Barr
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#5 layinda

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 10:50 AM

Nice job, Jasmine! Congrats on the sale. :)

#6 SafariTom

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 12:34 PM

I must say, I was hooked as well... big time

The hook is incredible!

Tom
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#7 EMDelaney

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 03:34 PM

As we continue to see examples of queries such as this one that appear to have worked, are we willing to accept that our format does not necessarily have bending points.

I personally think our continued insistence to respecrt AQC format only should be lessened. I'm finding far more examples of those that appear in the aforementioned format, being as, if not more, successful than examples of ours that have.

Should we have a different thread for this discussion or are we locked on this?

Just my own observation. I just don't see the advantage factor of the format we insist "must" be used, being all that effective as opposed to others. Thoughts?
If you continue to think the way you've always thought, you will continue to get what you've always got!

#8 Brendacarre

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 04:05 PM

As we continue to see examples of queries such as this one that appear to have worked, are we willing to accept that our format does not necessarily have bending points.

I personally think our continued insistence to respecrt AQC format only should be lessened. I'm finding far more examples of those that appear in the aforementioned format, being as, if not more, successful than examples of ours that have.

Should we have a different thread for this discussion or are we locked on this?

Just my own observation. I just don't see the advantage factor of the format we insist "must" be used, being all that effective as opposed to others. Thoughts?


Emmett
I think your observation is well put, and I am moving this discussion to another thread. =)

#9 SafariTom

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 08:17 PM

I agree with Emmet... Be weary of those who say "always"and "never"
Believe in yourself and believe in your story...

#10 Jasmine Denton

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 07:04 PM

Thanks everybody, I'm glad you liked my query. I worked on it from the time I started chapter one of the novel, so I had a lot of time to prepare it.

I was nervous about including the trilogy info, but I did it on the advice of an agented friend who used the same approach when submitting her own query.

From what I've learned lately, I think writers, especially when they're trying to get their foot in the door, obey all the rules they hear, like Da lima said. I don't think that's necessarily as important as we believe it to be. What's important is a great hook, an intriguing plot and if you want to mention a trilogy idea, keep it brief. That's just my two cents.

Thanks for all of the compliments! I hope you guys will check out the book when it's released May, 10, 2011! You can actually preorder it on Barnes and noble here

#11 williamkball

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 04:45 PM

Wow. That query just has a flow to it that pulled me along as I read it. GREAT JOB! I'm glad it worked and can see why it did. Thanks for the example.

#12 FineMan

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 07:49 PM

I am confused. You got a full read. Okay. Offer to publish. Good. Now you say you are published and unagented. What? Did you submit directly to the publisher?
All typos in my work are merely copyright traps

#13 Brendacarre

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 09:40 PM

I am confused. You got a full read. Okay. Offer to publish. Good. Now you say you are published and unagented. What? Did you submit directly to the publisher?

FineMan submitting directly to editors can be done but it's tricky. I have done so on quite a few occasions and gotten full reads. Two of these submissions went to committee, which means the editor wanted to make an offer but needed the backing of the other departments. One actually went so far they asked for the proposal for the second book in the series and told me they were considering an offer. Neither manuscript got past this stage. but it means the editor liked it enough to fight for it and lose. Submitting directly to the editor involves a lot of research and a tailor made query to THAT editor specifically and it needs to be a query like Jasmine's that blows out of the slush pile. That means the query has to be so good the editor just cannot hit the 'delete' key if it's an e-query, or can't put it down if it's a mailed query. Usually these are submitted with a few pages, or pages get sent on the editor's request after you have made contact with them at a conference.
Also many small indie publishers do not require that you have an agent. Many prefer to deal with their authors directly. My advice here is be careful. Read guidelines in every case and only submit to publishers that say they accept un agented work. Some big houses like TOR and DAW for instance, still accept unagented queries.
Thirdly, there is of course e-publishing and print on demand, which can give you a very professional looking book these days. As discussions all over have shown, this new avenue of publishing is bringing many new authors success.
Lastly, not everyone stays with their agent. Having an agent is no guarantee you will be published. I was agented for 4 years without receiving a deal, even though my New York agent love the ms. Sometimes marketing a manuscript can be done solo. You can bring in an offer and then get an agent or a literary lawyer to negotiate the contract. I know a lot of authors who got their agents by already having an offer on the table.
This business is filled with lots of paths to success and an equal number of non-success. Ultimately I think most success depends on author savvy. Looking sharp. Knowing what works for you and going for it with both eyes wide open.
Sorry about the long post, but I hope this helps. :wink:

#14 Sanna

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Posted 20 March 2011 - 07:13 PM

Good job! You summarized the plot in 6 economical sentences. Pretty impressive! We should all take some lessons from you in brevity.

#15 Alan Karam

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 07:07 PM

Great hook, wonderful job. Good luck:)

-Alan K.




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