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Absolution (YA Contemp)

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#1 Garrett Lemons

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Posted 08 March 2017 - 10:24 AM

Updated Draft: 3/13/17:

 

Dear [Agent]

 

[Concise sentence on why I’m querying them specifically.]

 

Winning the national championship is the one realistic opportunity Dustin Esposito has left to get noticed. Plagued by memories of his failure on soccer’s global stage, the college senior finds his future is filled with question marks. Wanting nothing more than a professional career, crippling anxiety convinces him there is no chance—that missing a penalty in the U-17 World Cup six years ago saw to that. Royally screwing up in front of scouts in last season’s semifinal sealed the coffin.

 

Off the pitch, his parents proceed through a bitter divorce. His mom stands next to a new man at Dustin’s games; his dad balances being a scorned lover and the family mediator. Thank God he still has his friends.

 

As team captain, he wants his teammates to succeed where he’s failed. The season progresses from win to win and it’s soon clear the scouts are watching. Giving his brothers on the pitch a chance to play professionally will be Dustin’s legacy; they’re talented and deserve the world. But the rumor is they’re watching him, too. If he can conquer his internal demons with the same confidence he projects for his teammates, maybe he’s got a shot after all.

 

ABSOLUTION is a 77,000 word young adult contemporary novel centered on new adult-aged characters, much like Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl. The story should appeal to readers who appreciate the sport and human drama of Friday Night Lights, mixed with the vibrant friendships of New Girl.

 

I have provided the requested [info], and a full manuscript is available upon request.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

 

Updated Draft (3/10/17):

 

Dear [Agent]

 

[Concise sentence on why I’m querying them specifically.]

 

Plagued by vivid memories of his colossal failure on soccer’s global stage, college senior Dustin Esposito doubts his one true talent and its ability to provide him a future. Winning the national championship is the one accomplishable goal left. He believes in four short months, his lifelong pursuit of soccer ends. Even despite wanting nothing more than a professional career, crippling anxiety convinces him there is no chance—missing a penalty off the post in the U-17 World Cup six years ago saw to that. Royally screwing up in front of scouts at last season’s semifinal sealed the coffin.

 

Off the pitch, his parents proceed through a bitter divorce. His mom stands next to a new face in the crowd; his dad balances being a scorned lover and the family mediator. When he needs his support structure most is the exact moment it began to shatter. Thank God he still has his friends.

 

As team captain, he wants his teammates to succeed where he perceives he has failed—even though he knows the scouts are still watching. Dustin will do everything he can to give his teammates a chance; because if they have a chance to play professionally, maybe so does he.

 

ABSOLUTION is a 77,000 word young adult contemporary novel centered on new adult-aged characters, much like Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl. The story should appeal to readers who appreciate the sport and human drama of Friday Night Lights—and have always wanted it in hardcover—mixed with the vibrant friendships of New Girl.

 

I have provided the requested [info], and a full manuscript is available upon request.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

 

Garrett

 

Notes:

 

Regarding YA/NA -- I know the characters are NA aged, but in comparison to 97% of NA on the market, it's not the same genre at all. I also feel like there is zero market for this book in normal adult publishing, so I don't think I could pursue general fiction. I've sought a lot of feedback on how to say thematically more in line with YA, and just yesterday a published friend suggested using the Rainbow Rowell line to show that I understand the mixed markets and show that it's still marketable/can be sold. Thoughts?

 

As for the TV comps, there's not many YA sports novels and I don't feel like there is much valid comparison with say Winger. 

 

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Good morning! I've been having a bit of trouble with my query letter and a trusted friend of mine directed me here. I've got to get to work for a bit, but I'm hoping to spend some time this evening learning more about the community and engaging with the folks around here. I want to thank you in advance for any and all feedback.

 

----------

 

Functional, undiagnosed depression turned college senior Dustin Esposito into an emotional disaster. At least he knows that’s what he is. Most of the time.

 

Plagued by vivid memories of a colossal, public failure on soccer’s global stage, crippling anxiety leaves him doubting his one undeniable talent. He squandered a crucial opportunity to play professionally and he knows he won’t get a second. Recently named team captain, he enters his final season with one objective: win the national championship. His chance may be over, but his teammates still have a shot at a future in the game. He desperately needs to go out on top to assist their dreams, if not to also silence his own self-judgmental thoughts.

 

At the same time, he is dealing with the emotional fall-out of his parents’ crumbling marriage. His home no longer feels like a safe place from the overwhelming failure of the field. He can’t escape anywhere. Dustin sees that everything important in his life is ending, coming to the conclusion that at the final whistle, he’s alone. He has no idea what’s supposed to come after the dream fails.

 

 As the season progresses, the depression boils to the surface—slowly, and then all at once. So when he gets one final shot at redemption, Dustin reaches out for the lifeline he can’t quite convince himself that he’s worthy to grasp. With his friends at his side—challenging him to confront his darkest demons and loving him despite being a hot mess—he slowly begins believing in himself again.

 

But beliefs are meant to be tested, and the world is a cruel teacher.

 

 ABSOLUTION is a 77,200 word young adult contemporary novel. The story will prove compelling to readers who appreciate the sport and human drama of Friday Night Lights, along with those who appreciate the complex and vibrant friendships of New Girl

 

____________

 

Thanks again!



#2 Testome

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Posted 08 March 2017 - 05:47 PM



Good morning! I've been having a bit of trouble with my query letter and a trusted friend of mine directed me here. I've got to get to work for a bit, but I'm hoping to spend some time this evening learning more about the community and engaging with the folks around here. I want to thank you in advance for any and all feedback.

 

----------

 

Functional, undiagnosed depression turned college senior Dustin Esposito into an emotional disaster. At least he knows that’s what he is. Most of the time. This is vague.  No details. No reason to read on.

 

Plagued by vivid memories of a colossal, public failure on soccer’s global stage some details would be nice., crippling anxiety leaves him doubting his one undeniable talent. He squandered a crucial opportunity to play professionally and he knows he won’t get a second. Recently named team captain, he enters his final season with one objective: win the national championship. His chance may be over, but his teammates still have a shot at a future in the game. He desperately needs to go out on top to assist their dreams, if not to also silence his own self-judgmental thoughts.

 

At the same time, he is dealing with the emotional fall-out of his parents’ crumbling marriage. His home no longer feels like a safe This is vague. How is it unsafe exactly? a divorce isn't specific enough place from the overwhelming failure of the field. He can’t escape anywhere. Dustin sees that everything important in his life is ending, coming to the conclusion that at the final whistle, he’s alone. He has no idea what’s supposed to come after the dream fails.

 

 As the season progresses, the depression boils to the surface—slowly, and then all at once. This is vague. So when he gets one final shot at redemption, What was his one shot at redemption?Dustin reaches out for the lifeline he can’t quite convince himself that he’s worthy to grasp. With his friends at his side—challenging him to confront his darkest demons You may need to do a better job of showing his darkest demons. and loving him despite being a hot mess—he slowly begins believing in himself again.

 

But beliefs are meant to be tested, and the world is a cruel teacher. This is a weak and cliched ending.

 

 ABSOLUTION is a 77,200 word young adult contemporary novel. The story will prove compelling to readers who appreciate the sport and human drama of Friday Night Lights, along with those who appreciate the complex and vibrant friendships of New Girl

 

____________

 

Thanks again!

The main problem with this I think is the vagueness.  I feel like you've glossed over all of the details that we need. Also college senior is way too old for YA.



#3 Garrett Lemons

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Posted 09 March 2017 - 09:16 AM

The main problem with this I think is the vagueness.  I feel like you've glossed over all of the details that we need. Also college senior is way too old for YA.

 

Thanks for your feedback! I was under the impression that the query letter can withhold details (whereas the synopsis cannot) to protect some surprises from the plot. Is that not the case? Or is it more how I've constructed this particular query by withholding too many?



#4 Novelarnia

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Posted 09 March 2017 - 03:48 PM

Hello!  Thanks so much for your edits on Harbinger.  I think I've got a final draft ready due to the feedback you and many others have given me, so I really appreciate the contribution!! :D 

 

Now, onto your critique!!

 

Good morning! I've been having a bit of trouble with my query letter and a trusted friend of mine directed me here. I've got to get to work for a bit, but I'm hoping to spend some time this evening learning more about the community and engaging with the folks around here. I want to thank you in advance for any and all feedback.

 

----------

 

Functional, undiagnosed depression turned college senior (This reads weird.  As if you're classifying "functional, undiagnosed depression" as a career / type of person, rather than a condition of the mind.  It's the same as saying, "Snarky butcher turned private eye Dustin Esposito--"  Get what I'm saying?  I'd rephrase!  ...Also, if it's undiagnosed depression, how does Dustin know enough to mention it in his query?  I always assume queries are third person limited from your MC's POV, so this threw me off...  If that makes sense. XD ) Dustin Esposito into an emotional disaster. At least he knows that’s what he is. Most of the time.

 

Plagued by vivid memories of a colossal, (delete comma) public failure on soccer’s global stage, crippling anxiety leaves him doubting his one undeniable talent. (I love this!) He squandered a crucial opportunity to play professionally and he knows he won’t get a second. Recently named team captain, he enters his final season (where?  In college? Rephrase.  "he enters his final college season") with one objective: win the national championship. (Very clear goals here.  Awesome job!) His chance ("at a soccer career") may be over, but his teammates still have a shot at a future in the game. (delete everything after "have a shot."  This is an awesome way to express his personality, too; how even though he's down and out, he's not sulking--he's determined to try his best for the benefit of his teammates.  Definitely the kind of protagonist we want to root for!) He desperately needs to go out on top to assist their dreams, if not to also silence his own self-judgmental thoughts. (The last line said this perfectly, and now you're reiterating what we already know.  Delete this sentence.)

 

At the same time, he is dealing with the emotional fall-out of his parents’ crumbling marriage. His home no longer feels like a safe place from the overwhelming failure of the field. (Maybe "Once a safe place, his home is a new kind of playing field, where he's the ball kicked between teams."  Something to draw a comparison to the soccer lifestyle would be awesome. :D ) He can’t escape anywhere. Dustin sees that everything important in his life is ending, coming to the conclusion that at the final whistle, he’s alone. He has no idea what’s supposed to come after the dream fails. (Once again, this sentence can be deleted.  I think you could trim up the last three sentences here, too.  Make them more succinct.  Something like, "Dustin feels like there's nowhere to turn, and no future to anticipate; at [insert age here], he's already a has-been.")

 

 As the season progresses, the depression boils to the surface—slowly, and then all at once. (I'm not sure how necessary the mention of depression is.  It's super evident within the query that he's feeling pretty hopeless, so now it feels like you're waving the theme around like, "Hey, agent, look at me and how deep / meaningful this book will be!"  Instead of letting them draw that conclusion on their own.  Delete?) So when he gets one final shot at redemption, Dustin reaches out for the lifeline he can’t quite convince himself that he’s worthy to grasp. With his friends at his side—challenging him to confront his darkest demons and loving him despite being a hot mess—he slowly begins believing in himself again. 

 

But beliefs are meant to be tested, and the world is a cruel teacher. (This all, again, feels very long-winded.  You can crunch down these two paragraphs in like, two sentences.  "But just as his team heads to the national championships, a new opportunity presents itself.  If Dustin can overcome the doubt of his abilities and worth, he just might have another shot at the life he's always wanted."  Or rephrase to incorporate whatever this special opportunity is.  Remember, agents love specifics in queries, so sweeping statements like "a new opportunity" are a turn-off for them.  What's the opportunity?  Tell us!)

 

 ABSOLUTION is a 77,200 (Just say "77,000."  Agents know you're rounding up or down) word young adult contemporary novel. The story will prove compelling (Don't presume to know what's compelling to your readers.  Rephrase to soemthing like, "The story will appeal fans of Friday Night Lights, and incorporates the complex and vibrant friendships of New Girl."  I also would be pretty wary to include a movie and TV show comparison, but no book comparisons.  That's my personal preference, though, so see what others say...) to readers who appreciate the sport and human drama of Friday Night Lights, along with those who appreciate the complex and vibrant friendships of New Girl

 

____________

 

Thanks again!

 

This book sounds awesome!  I would definitely delete the mention of depression--like I said, it's super obvious he's depressed based on what's happened to him.  But we LOVE that he's depressed, and yet totally determined to make his teammates' dreams come true, even when his won't.  Play up that angle, and you're good to go!!



#5 Testome

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Posted 09 March 2017 - 05:25 PM

Thanks for your feedback! I was under the impression that the query letter can withhold details (whereas the synopsis cannot) to protect some surprises from the plot. Is that not the case? Or is it more how I've constructed this particular query by withholding too many?

We don't need to know everything, but I just felt I wasn't getting a clear picture of what your mc was going through while reading.



#6 RosieSkye

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Posted 09 March 2017 - 08:01 PM

Good morning! I've been having a bit of trouble with my query letter and a trusted friend of mine directed me here. I've got to get to work for a bit, but I'm hoping to spend some time this evening learning more about the community and engaging with the folks around here. I want to thank you in advance for any and all feedback.

 

----------

 

Functional, undiagnosed depression turned college senior Dustin Esposito into an emotional disaster. At least he knows that’s what he is. Most of the time. (This last bit dilutes any sense of drama you've instilled in the first sentence.)

 

Plagued by vivid memories of a colossal, public failure on soccer’s global stage, crippling anxiety leaves him doubting his one undeniable talent. He squandered a crucial opportunity to play professionally and he knows he won’t get a second. Recently named team captain, he enters his final season with one objective: win the national championship. His chance may be over, but his teammates still have a shot at a future in the game. He desperately needs to go out on top to assist their dreams, if not to also silence his own self-judgmental thoughts.  (First off, I feel like I'm drowning in descriptors here (marked in blue.)  I'm having trouble even getting the gist of what you're saying because unnecessary adjectives keep getting in the way.  It's enough to know that he's plagued by memories; you don't need to specify that they're vivid.  If he's playing soccer at the on the global stage, it's clear that his talent is undeniable, and that this his failure was public.  You don't need to clutter up your query with words that don't buy you anything.  Secondly, his motivations feel clunky. By specifying that he no longer has a shot at playing professionally, you again dilute any sense of drama.  So he's trying to help out his teammates - it's nice of him, but as a reader I don't particularly care whether his teammates have a future in soccer.  I'd keep this about your MC trying to overcome his anxiety.)

 

At the same time, he is dealing with the emotional fall-out of his parents’ crumbling marriage. His home no longer feels like a safe place from the overwhelming failure of the field. He can’t escape anywhere. Dustin sees that everything important in his life is ending, coming to the conclusion that at the final whistle, he’s alone. He has no idea what’s supposed to come after the dream fails.  (I'd just add in the fact that his parents are divorcing somewhere above.  We know he suffers from anxiety, so it stands to reason that his parents' divorce would exacerbate it.)

 

 As the season progresses, the Dustin's depression boils to the surface—slowly, and then all at once. So when he gets one final shot at redemption, Dustin reaches out for the lifeline he doesn't believe can’t quite convince himself that he’s worthy to grasp. With his friends at his side—challenging him to confront his darkest demons and loving him despite being a hot mess—he slowly begins believing in himself again.

 

But beliefs are meant to be tested, and the world is a cruel teacher. (I'm not sure what you're saying here. What else stands in his way after he starts regaining his self-worth?  I'd end this along the lines of: "If Dustin can't get his anxiety under control, then XYZ will/won't happen.")

 

 ABSOLUTION is a 77,200 word young adult (I'm assuming since he's a college senior that Dustin is 21-22 years old. YA generally stops at 18, so I think you'd do better calling this NA) contemporary novel. The story will prove compelling to readers who appreciate the sport and human drama of Friday Night Lights, along with those who appreciate the complex and vibrant friendships of New Girl (Do you mean the television show? You might want to include the authors of your comp titles to avoid confusion.) 

 

____________

 

Thanks again!

 

 

Hope this helps!



#7 thewindseer

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Posted 09 March 2017 - 08:29 PM



Good morning! I've been having a bit of trouble with my query letter and a trusted friend of mine directed me here. I've got to get to work for a bit, but I'm hoping to spend some time this evening learning more about the community and engaging with the folks around here. I want to thank you in advance for any and all feedback.

 

----------

 

Functional, undiagnosed depression turned college senior Dustin Esposito into an emotional disaster. At least he knows that’s what he is. Most of the time.  [My first impression: You've got a strong voice here, but the abundance of descriptors in that first sentence makes it difficult to digest.] 

 

Plagued by vivid memories of his colossal, public failure on soccer’s global stage, crippling anxiety leaves college senior Dustin Esposito is left doubting his one true talent. [I actually like this sentence much better as a hook. Once again, you include an abundance of adjectives that could be trimmed for easier comprehension. "Undeniable" seems contradictory, given that he is doubting himself and thus his talent is not undeniable. Watch out for misplaced modifiers as well;"crippling anxiety" shouldn't be the subject of the first clause.] He squandered a crucial opportunity to play professionally and he knows he won’t get a second. Recently named team captain, Dustin enters his final season with one objective: win the national championship. His chance may be over, but his teammates still have a shot at a future in the game. He desperately needs to go out on top to assist their dreams, if not to also silence his own self-judgmental thoughts. [Great voice up until this last sentence, which is clunky. I would find a way to shorten this part: "to go out on top to assist." "Assist" feels like a stiff verb choice here. Likewise, "self-judgmental thoughts" sounds too clinical.]

 

At the same time, he's dealing with the emotional fall-out of his parents’ crumbling marriage. His home no longer feels like a safe haven away from the overwhelming failure of the field. He can't escape. [You're losing the voice a bit.] Dustin sees that Everything important in his life is ending, coming to the conclusion that and at the final whistle, he’s alone. He has no idea what’s supposed to come after the dream fails. [Love this phrasing.]

 

As the season progresses, his depression boils to the surface—slowly, and then all at once. So When he gets one last shot at redemption, Dustin reaches out for the lifeline he can’t quite convince himself that he’s worthy to grasp. [What do you mean by "lifeline"? Are his friends that lifeline? Make that answer clearer.] With his friends at his side—challenging him to confront his darkest demons and loving him despite being a hot mess—he slowly begins believing in himself again.

 

But beliefs are meant to be tested, and the world is a cruel teacher. [I like a dramatic and ominous last line; it promises conflict.]

 

ABSOLUTION is a 77,200-word young adult contemporary novel. The story will prove compelling to readers who appreciate the sport and human drama of Friday Night Lights, along with those who appreciate the complex and vibrant friendships of New Girl[Intriguing comparisons! I don't mind that they're TV shows, either.]

 

____________

 

Thanks again!

 

This is an impressive query, and I'd pick up the book based on your description alone, even though I'm not a soccer fan in the slightest. The narrative voice comes through for the most part, and that's this draft's greatest strength. Shape up some of the phrasing, and I think you've got yourself a great query!

 

I would greatly appreciate your feedback on my query, if you have the time: http://agentquerycon...ity-mg-fantasy/



#8 Garrett Lemons

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 08:52 AM

Hello!  Thanks so much for your edits on Harbinger.  I think I've got a final draft ready due to the feedback you and many others have given me, so I really appreciate the contribution!! :D 

 

Now, onto your critique!!

 

 

This book sounds awesome!  I would definitely delete the mention of depression--like I said, it's super obvious he's depressed based on what's happened to him.  But we LOVE that he's depressed, and yet totally determined to make his teammates' dreams come true, even when his won't.  Play up that angle, and you're good to go!!

 

Thank you for your feedback and congrats on having a finished query (I made one comment on it, otherwise it's there)! I'm taking your feedback this morning and working on an updated one. I'd love to see what you have to say about that one if you ever want to stop by once it's updated.



#9 Garrett Lemons

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 08:54 AM

We don't need to know everything, but I just felt I wasn't getting a clear picture of what your mc was going through while reading.

 

 

Hope this helps!

 

 

This is an impressive query, and I'd pick up the book based on your description alone, even though I'm not a soccer fan in the slightest. The narrative voice comes through for the most part, and that's this draft's greatest strength. Shape up some of the phrasing, and I think you've got yourself a great query!

 

I would greatly appreciate your feedback on my query, if you have the time: http://agentquerycon...ity-mg-fantasy/

 


Thank you for all your feedback! I'm reciprocating where I can (and if I can't find it, please feel free to direct me, I want to pay it forward), and I hope to take all of your feedback and have an updated version here shortly.



#10 Garrett Lemons

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 10:05 AM

Updated the main post.



#11 Linnet_Crawford

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 11:19 AM

Great query! I don't know much about sports-centered fiction, but I'll do my best :). About the YA/NA discussion - that's a really tricky question. It would be nice if you get a chance to ask an agent directly (some have blogs/twitter and might do Q&A). Are you sure it couldn't be marketed as Adult? A quick goodreads search turns up books like "The Art of Fielding" which seem to be about college sports

Updated Draft (3/10/17):

 

 

 

Dear [Agent]

 

[Concise sentence on why I’m querying them specifically.]

 

Plagued by vivid memories of his colossal failure on soccer’s global stage, college senior Dustin Esposito doubts his one true (I don't know about this word choice...maybe "doubts the one talent he has always relied on" or something along those lines? talent and its ability to provide him a future. Winning the national championship is the one accomplishable goal left. He believes in four short months, his lifelong pursuit of soccer ends. I think you could cut this...the phrasing is a little awkward, and I think the idea was captured well enough in the previous statement. Even despite wanting nothing more than a professional career, crippling anxiety convinces him there is no chance—missing a penalty off the post in the U-17 World Cup six years ago saw to that. Royally screwing up in front of scouts at last season’s semifinal sealed the coffin. Awesome! You've really made me root for him. 

 

Off the pitch, his parents proceed through a bitter divorce. His mom stands next to a new face in the crowd; his dad balances being a scorned lover and the family mediator. When he needs his support structure most is the exact moment it began to shatter. This is slightly awkward - maybe "Dustin's support structure is shattering in the exact moment he needs it most." Although I think you could probably just cut it - it's "telling" rather than "showing," and you've already shown us in the previous line. Thank God he still has his friends.

 

As team captain, he wants his teammates to succeed where he perceives he has failed—even though he knows the scouts are still watching. Dustin will do everything he can to give his teammates a chance; because if they have a chance to play professionally, maybe so does he. This is really intriguing, but I think it needs to be clearer. Is he sacrificing his chances at redemption to push his teammates forward? Maybe it's just the phrasing, but I'm getting a little lost about what his plan/main problem is. This is the part of the query where you really need to lay out the stakes. 

 

ABSOLUTION is a 77,000 word young adult contemporary novel centered on new adult-aged characters, much like Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl. (I understand what you're going for, but if your story does not compare thematically or tonally to Fangirl, I think it might just be confusing)The story should appeal to readers who appreciate the sport and human drama of Friday Night Lights—and have always wanted it in hardcover—mixed with the vibrant friendships of New Girl.

 

I have provided the requested [info], and a full manuscript is available upon request.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

 

Garrett

 

Notes:

 

Regarding YA/NA -- I know the characters are NA aged, but in comparison to 97% of NA on the market, it's not the same genre at all. I also feel like there is zero market for this book in normal adult publishing, so I don't think I could pursue general fiction. I've sought a lot of feedback on how to say thematically more in line with YA, and just yesterday a published friend suggested using the Rainbow Rowell line to show that I understand the mixed markets and show that it's still marketable/can be sold. Thoughts?

 

As for the TV comps, there's not many YA sports novels and I don't feel like there is much valid comparison with say Winger. 

 

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 


Any thoughts on my query are super appreciated!  Here: http://agentquerycon...ong-ya-fantasy/


#12 Garrett Lemons

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 11:35 AM

Great query! I don't know much about sports-centered fiction, but I'll do my best :). About the YA/NA discussion - that's a really tricky question. It would be nice if you get a chance to ask an agent directly (some have blogs/twitter and might do Q&A). Are you sure it couldn't be marketed as Adult? A quick goodreads search turns up books like "The Art of Fielding" which seem to be about college sports

 

Thank you for your feedback! Would "demonstrated talent" work in that first sentence? Like to imply it's the one he should know he has?



#13 Saints

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 09:33 AM

Plagued by vivid memories of his colossal failure on soccer’s global stage, college senior Dustin Esposito doubts his one true talent and its ability to provide him a future. (Not sure how strong of a hook this is. Not weak, but it could be stronger.)

 

Winning the national championship is the one accomplishable realistic/worthwhile goal chance/opportunity left. He believes in four short months, his lifelong pursuit of soccer ends. Even despite (awkward) wanting nothing more than a professional career, crippling anxiety (if Dustin is suffering from Anxiety Disorder, or some sort of PTSD, I'd make it clear here. Some agents are actively looking for this) convinces him there is no chance—missing a penalty off the post in the U-17 World Cup six years ago saw to that. Royally screwing up in front of scouts at last season’s semifinal sealed the coffin.

 

Off the pitch, his parents proceed through a bitter divorce. His mom stands next to a new face in the crowd (love this!); his dad balances being a scorned lover and the family mediator. When he needs his support structure most is the exact moment it began to shatter. Thank God he still has his friends (this sounds a little obvious/cliche. You might not need it).

 

As team captain, he wants his teammates to succeed where he perceives he has failed—even though he knows the scouts are still watching. Dustin will do everything he can to give his teammates a chance; because if they have a chance to play professionally, maybe so does he. (Maybe remind us here what's at stake - if he loses this game, he loses his future type of thing?)

 

ABSOLUTION is a 77,000 word young adult contemporary novel centered on new adult-aged characters, much like Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl. The story should appeal to readers who appreciate the sport and human drama of Friday Night Lights—and have always wanted it in hardcover—mixed with the vibrant friendships of New Girl.

 

Sorry for all the red, lol. Like I tell everyone - take the suggestions with a grain of salt. Especially the word/sentence edits. As someone who played soccer competitively, I felt the pressure Dustin is under just from this query alone; that's pretty strong for just the letter!



#14 theboldfox

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 12:34 PM

Dear [Agent]

 

[Concise sentence on why I’m querying them specifically.]

 

Plagued by vivid memories of his colossal failure on soccer’s global stage, college senior Dustin Esposito doubts his one true talent and its ability to provide him a future I find this last part of the sentence a little clunkyEven despite Although he wants nothing more than a professional career, he missed a penalty off the post in the U-17 World Cup six years ago saw to that.    and royally screwed up in front of scouts at last season’s semifinal sealed the coffin.Winning the national championship is the one accomplishable goal left. He believes in four short months, his lifelong pursuit of soccer ends. he can hang up his cleats for good. (something to show your writing style more) 

 

 Thank God he still has his friends.  

 

As team captain, he wants his teammates to succeed where he perceives he has failed. Everyone likes to remind him that even though he knows the scouts are still watching. Dustin will do everything he can to give his teammates a chance; because if they have a chance to play professionally, maybe so does he.

 

But, off the pitch, his parents proceed through a bitter divorce. His mom stands next to a new face in the crowd; his dad balances being a scorned lover and the family mediator. When Dustin needs his support structure most is the exact moment it began to shatter.

 

ABSOLUTION is a 77,000 word young adult contemporary novel centered on new adult-aged characters, much like Rainbow Rowell’sFangirl. The story should appeal to readers who appreciate the sport and human drama of Friday Night Lights—and have always wanted it in hardcover—mixed with the vibrant friendships of New Girl.

 

I have provided the requested [info], and a full manuscript is available upon request.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

 

Garrett

 

I don't mind the reference to Friday Night Lights. I'm finding a few contradictions in your query, like "he knows the scouts are still watching" but in four months he gives up soccer forever. I think reordering the information will make it seem like he's got his eye on winning this one last big game, but there are things that might interfere with that happening from his private life. 

 

If you have a chance, please have a look at my revised query, which is liked to in my signature below.

 


Good karma! Please have a look at my query if you have a moment: http://agentquerycon...s-ya-dystopian/


#15 CM_Fick

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 03:10 PM

Updated Draft (3/10/17):

 

(This opening doesn't read like a true hook. There's a lot of backstory here, and while important, should be in the next paragraph. the hook should outline the conflict and how your character plans to overcome that conflict)

Plagued by vivid memories of his colossal failure on soccer’s global stage, (this seems like a mouthful - even to read) college senior Dustin Esposito doubts his one true talent and its ability to provide him a future. Winning the national championship is the one accomplishable goal left. (I'd start with this sentence--- x-year-old Dustin has one goal left to reach - winning the national championship. He is, however, plagued by memories of his colossal failure -- broadcast live across the globe. Or something to that effect.) He believes in four short months, his lifelong pursuit of soccer ends. (why?) Even despite wanting nothing more than a professional career, crippling anxiety convinces him there is no chance— that when he missed that missing a penalty off the post in the U-17 World Cup (really necessary for this part of your query?) six years ago, he screwed up his shot at impressing the scouts there to see him win. (again, something along these lines would flow better IMO)   saw to that. Royally screwing up in front of scouts at last season’s semifinal sealed the coffin.

 

Off the pitch, his parents proceed through a bitter divorce. When he needs his support structure most is the exact moment it began to shatter. (I'd move this sentence up, and just say, "After his parent's bitter divorce...") His mom stands next to a new face in the crowd; his dad balances being a scorned lover and the family mediator. Thank God he still has his friends.

 

As team captain, he wants his teammates to succeed where he perceives he has failed—even though he knows the scouts are still watching. Dustin will do everything he can to give his teammates a chance; because if they have a chance to play professionally, maybe so does he. (This doesn't seem cohesive.)

 

ABSOLUTION is a 77,000 word young adult contemporary novel centered on new adult-aged characters, much like Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl. The story should appeal to readers who appreciate the sport and human drama of Friday Night Lights—and have always wanted it in hardcover—mixed with the vibrant friendships of New Girl.

 

I have provided the requested [info], and a full manuscript is available upon request.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

 

 

Hi Garrett, 

 

I swear I typed out a critique the other day for this... Not too sure what happened, since it isn't here. Lets try this again. 

 

You start off with a lot of information. I feel like some of it should be parsed out and reworked into a true hook, while the other info can tell the story in the next paragraph. It feel like this query is top-heavy, if that makes sense. it should be hook, synopsis, closing. Right now it feels like it's hook/ synopsis, family conflict, summary/ stakes, closing. 

 

Now that being said, This is a huge improvement over the one I initially read. 

 

 

I've also updated my query (link below) if you don't mind taking a look. Thanks in advance. 



#16 Garrett Lemons

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 01:02 PM

Sorry for all the red, lol. Like I tell everyone - take the suggestions with a grain of salt. Especially the word/sentence edits. As someone who played soccer competitively, I felt the pressure Dustin is under just from this query alone; that's pretty strong for just the letter!

 

Thanks for your edits and comments!



#17 Garrett Lemons

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 01:03 PM

 

I don't mind the reference to Friday Night Lights. I'm finding a few contradictions in your query, like "he knows the scouts are still watching" but in four months he gives up soccer forever. I think reordering the information will make it seem like he's got his eye on winning this one last big game, but there are things that might interfere with that happening from his private life. 

 

If you have a chance, please have a look at my revised query, which is liked to in my signature below.

 

 

Thanks for the feedback! I'll go take a look at yours as soon as I get done updating mine. :)



#18 Garrett Lemons

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 01:04 PM

Hi Garrett, 

 

I swear I typed out a critique the other day for this... Not too sure what happened, since it isn't here. Lets try this again. 

 

You start off with a lot of information. I feel like some of it should be parsed out and reworked into a true hook, while the other info can tell the story in the next paragraph. It feel like this query is top-heavy, if that makes sense. it should be hook, synopsis, closing. Right now it feels like it's hook/ synopsis, family conflict, summary/ stakes, closing. 

 

Now that being said, This is a huge improvement over the one I initially read. 

 

 

I've also updated my query (link below) if you don't mind taking a look. Thanks in advance. 

 

Thanks for your feedback! I'll go take a look at yours here shortly.



#19 Garrett Lemons

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 01:20 PM

Draft updated in main post.



#20 RosieSkye

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 10:28 PM

Updated Draft: 3/13/17:

 

Dear [Agent]

 

[Concise sentence on why I’m querying them specifically.]

 

Winning the national championship (I'd mention soccer right away here) is the one realistic opportunity Dustin Esposito has left to get noticed. Plagued by memories of his failure on soccer’s the global stage, the college senior finds his future is filled with question marks. Wanting He wants nothing more than a professional career, but crippling anxiety convinces him there is no chance—that missing a penalty in the U-17 World Cup six years ago saw to that. Royally screwing up in front of scouts in last season’s semifinal sealed the coffin. (Just one of these two failures is enough to get the point across.  Having both feels redundant.)

 

Off the pitch, his parents proceed through a bitter divorce. His mom stands next to a new man at Dustin’s games; his dad balances being a scorned lover and the family mediator. Thank God he (who, Dad or Dustin?) still has his friends.

 

As team captain, he Dustin wants his teammates to succeed where he’s failed. The season progresses from win to win and it’s soon clear the scouts are watching. Giving his brothers on the pitch a chance to play professionally will be Dustin’s legacy; they’re talented and deserve the world. But the rumor is they’re the scouts are watching him, too. If he can conquer his internal demons with the same confidence he projects for his teammates, maybe he’s got a shot after all.

 

ABSOLUTION is a 77,000 word young adult contemporary novel centered on new adult-aged characters, much like Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl. The story should appeal to readers who appreciate the sport and human drama of Friday Night Lights, mixed with the vibrant friendships of New Girl.

 

I have provided the requested [info], and a full manuscript is available upon request.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

 

 

 

 

Hope this helps!







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