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YA East African Contemporary Fantasy

Fantasy Multi-Cultural Young Adult Adventure

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#1 rachaelwthewriter

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Posted 07 July 2018 - 11:37 AM

GO TO POST #5 FOR CURRENT REVAMP
Note: Thank you so much to anyone who helps me with editing my query letter, it really does mean a lot. As a thank you, I will return the favor and critique others as much as I can. :)
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Dear [INSERT AGENT NAME HERE],
 
I noticed on your Publishers Marketplace page that you represent quite a few young adult books with magical elements. Because of this, I am submitting for your consideration AFRICAN PRIDE, a WORD COUNT HERE-word YA East-African Contemporary Fantasy novel that will appeal to fans of Tomi Adeyemi’s Legacy of Orisha Series set within modern times.
Karasi Shujaa remembers when her mother told her stories of how the Ngai gods used to walk among the earth, filling it with their magic. From blessing the faithful and cursing the faithless, the gods were always there to watch over the African savannahs and their Children. Chosen as their most beloved and loyal follower, Karasi’s mother is given a unique and secret task. But that secret was forced into the light on the night of her murder at the hands of poachers, leaving Karasi without a mother and the gods without a mlezi.
 
Selected to fill her mother’s shoes, Karasi struggles with balancing her duties as mlezi and mending her complicated relationship with her father who has turned his back on the gods. When the murderers of her mother steal a sacred lion cub, Karasi is forced to leave her home, and enter a new world that she’s never known to bring it home before the spring solstice. Danger lurks within this new world, from poachers who want her head on a platter to dark creatures on the prowl. But as Karasi hunts for the cub, she begins to realize that greatest danger may be herself, as she struggles to control her powers and her growling feelings for a boy forbidden to her. 
 
I have been an active member of the Wattpad community for almost three years where I'm one of the leading members of their Teen Fiction department. Previously I published adult novels with the small press After Hours under the pennames E.V. Evergreen and Andromeda. Below are the first ten pages of my manuscript. Thank you for your time and consideration.
 
Sincerely,
AUTHOR NAME HERE


#2 Sataris

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Posted 07 July 2018 - 02:26 PM

 

Note: Thank you so much to anyone who helps me with editing my query letter, it really does mean a lot. As a thank you, I will return the favor and critique others as much as I can. :)
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Dear [INSERT AGENT NAME HERE],
 
I noticed on your Publishers Marketplace page that you represent quite a few young adult books with magical elements. Because of this, I am submitting for your consideration AFRICAN PRIDE, a WORD COUNT HERE-word YA East-African Contemporary Fantasy novel that will appeal to fans of Tomi Adeyemi’s Legacy of Orisha Series set within modern times.
 
Always some disagreement on where this should go, but personally I'd cut the first two lines and stick your comps at the end.
 
Karasi Shujaa remembers when her mother told her stories of how the Ngai gods used to walk among the earth, filling it with their magic. From blessing the faithful and to cursing the faithless, the gods were always there to watch over the African savannahs and their Children no caps. Chosen as their most beloved and loyal follower the way this break is structured makes us think that Karasi is the follower until we're told otherwsie, Karasi’s mother is given a unique and secret task I think you want details here if you're going to mention it—we dont have any background on what the secret entails, so it just feels a bit vague. But that secret was forced into the light on the night - awk of her murder at the hands of poachers, leaving Karasi without a mother and the gods without a mlezi. caps for this one
 
It might be more powerful if you started with something like "when Karasi's mother dies, she must take her place as X." Starting with the MC reminiscing/giving background seems to be delaying the character stuff a bit too much to be hooky 
 
Selected to fill her mother’s shoes, Karasi struggles with balancing her duties as mlezi and mending her complicated relationship with her father who has turned his back on the gods. this seems interesting but ultimately secondary to the job she has to do When the murderers of her mother steal a sacred lion cub, Karasi is forced to leave her home, and enter a new world that she’s never known to bring it home before the spring solstice or X will happen. Danger lurks within this new world, from poachers who want her head on a platter why do they want her dead? to dark creatures on the prowl supernatural or?. But as Karasi hunts for the cub, she begins to realize that greatest danger may be herself, as she struggles to control her powers what powers exactly? and her growling feelings for a boy forbidden to her. this seems like it needs to be worked in earlier to really grab our attention, 
 
I have been an active member of the Wattpad community for almost three years where I'm one of the leading members of their Teen Fiction department. I'd personally only list Wattpad if you've won their awards/hit high reader metrics/you have an established fanbase there. Previously I published adult novels with the small press After Hours under the pennames E.V. Evergreen and Andromeda For what it's worth, i did a quick search and I couldn't find any books at After Hours  listed under your pen names - I don't doubt that you've published with them, but an agent might be skeptical if they aren't listed (and they will probably look into these books/sales numbers). I could have just missed it though. I did find some kindle books on Amazon under EV Evergreen, but those are the sorts of books you only want to draw attention to if your sales numbers are impressive (again hinting at an established reader base). Your numbers very well may be worth talking about, but figured id mention it just in case. Below are the first ten pages of my manuscript. Thank you for your time and consideration. #ownvoices?
 
Sincerely,
AUTHOR NAME HERE

 

I think this is a good start for your query-for the next draft, I'd try to focus in on what exactly she has to do, and what's going to happen if she fails. Currently the main plot line is reading like this:

 

Mother dies, MC forced to replace her (though we don't know what her exact duties are)

Murderers steal a cub, MC must venture into a new land to get it back (we could use details on what will happen if she fails here, and possibly what she'll have to give up to succeed)

 

so it's a little thin right now; if you're going to include the love interest, does he have a hand in what she has to do? will getting the cub back require hurting him or betraying her gods? etc

 

I hope that was helpful! best of luck.


No current query.


#3 rachaelwthewriter

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Posted 07 July 2018 - 03:05 PM

Thabks so much for your suggestions, I already can see what you mean and will make the revisions when I can. After Hours publications is a small press (my time with them was a mixture of highs and lows.... very low lows....) but other then that I dont hav anything about myself, other then that I'm a college student. I did a quick "ask a agent" a while ago, and they said anything writing related is kinda ok, but if it's not big or anything, just simply it. That goes with the Wattpad thing too, it's not much, but it shows I know a little bit of the YA market.

Other then that, Cabot wait to get to work on revisions.

I think this is a good start for your query-for the next draft, I'd try to focus in on what exactly she has to do, and what's going to happen if she fails. Currently the main plot line is reading like this:

Mother dies, MC forced to replace her (though we don't know what her exact duties are)
Murderers steal a cub, MC must venture into a new land to get it back (we could use details on what will happen if she fails here, and possibly what she'll have to give up to succeed)

so it's a little thin right now; if you're going to include the love interest, does he have a hand in what she has to do? will getting the cub back require hurting him or betraying her gods? etc

I hope that was helpful! best of luck.



#4 W.P.

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Posted 08 July 2018 - 06:27 AM

Karasi Shujaa remembers when her mother told her stories of how the Ngai gods used to walk among the earth, filling it with their magic. From blessing the faithful and cursing the faithless, the gods were always there to watch over the African savannahs and their Children. Chosen as their most beloved and loyal follower, Karasi’s mother is given a unique and secret task. But that secret was forced into the light on the night of her murder at the hands of poachers, leaving Karasi without a mother and the gods without a mlezi. ((I feel like it could start stronger. The conflict and stakes are clear and the premise very interesting, but too much of the beginning is unnecessary exposition. We don't need to know all that much in the query. everything between "used to walk among" and "the gods were always there" is not needed and its removal would seriously improve the flow of the query. Also, queries should be as active as possible, so starting it with "Karasi remembers" makes it very passive. My suggestion is to go to the core of the story right away. I think all we need to know is that Karasi's mother had been given by the Ngai gods a secret task, but after her murder at the hands of poachers, Karasi is to take her mother's place and her duty as mlezi. Which can easily be condensed into one sentence. the rest of the details are book-details. not meant for the query.))

 
Selected to fill her mother’s shoes, Karasi struggles with balancing her duties as mlezi and mending her complicated relationship with her father who has turned his back on the gods. When the murderers of her mother steal a sacred lion cub, Karasi is forced to leave her home, and enter a new world ((what world? I'm very confused)) that she’s never known to bring it home before the spring solstice. Danger lurks within this new world, from poachers who want her head on a platter to dark creatures on the prowl. But as Karasi hunts for the cub, she begins to realize that the greatest danger may be herself, as she struggles to control her powers and her growling ((growing? if it's a pun I'm not sure it works)) feelings for a boy forbidden to her. ((Not sure about ending it with romance. the whole query was about family and the gods, and now it ends on a boy we never heard of? sounds very odd to me. You were promising one story and now are hinting at another genre. Maybe mention the boy or her feelings earlier so it doesn't come out of the blue?))
 
 
​Hi! What an interesting premise. :) Definitely enjoyed your query, but I do think the first paragraph could be condensed and the second one further explained. 
 
 
If you had the time, could you please take a look at my query as well? http://agentquerycon...ntasy/?p=357968


#5 rachaelwthewriter

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Posted 08 July 2018 - 12:04 PM

Revamp: #1
Dear [INSERT AGENT NAME HERE],
 
After poachers kill Karasi Shujaa's mother, she is selected by the Ngai gods to become their new mlezi. Now her life consists of hunting poachers, fighting dark spirits, and trying to make her 9 PM curfew. When a sacred lion cub is stolen, Karasi is ordered to bring it home, but things get complicated when her father sees her using her powers and sends her away to live with her grandparents. 
 
Although forced into the role of the all-American teenager, she is haunted by dreams of the destruction that will come if the cub isn’t returned by the spring solstice. Running away from her grandparents’ house, Karasi’s travels take her to the black markets of San Francisco, Shanghai, and finally back home. Karasi realizes that the greatest danger may be herself, as she struggled to control her powers and her growling feelings for a boy forbidden to her.
 
AFRICAN PRIDE is a WORD COUNT HERE-word East-African YA Contemporary Fantasy novel that will appeal to fans of Tomi Adeyemi’s Legacy of Orisha Series, set within modern times.
 
I have been an active member of the Wattpad community for almost three years where I'm one of the leading members of their Teen Fiction department. Previously I published adult novels with the small press After Hours Publications under the pennames E.V. Evergreen and Andromeda. Below are the first ten pages of my manuscript. Thank you for your time and consideration.
 
Sincerely,
AUTHOR NAME HERE
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
NOTES
I am conflicted on changing my writing background. I did an #Askanagent not long ago, and they said that since this won't be my "writting carrer debut" I should write about any writing background that I have. Although my numbers at After Hours weren't good, they suggested I still write it or else I might be considered 'lying' with my background. I also kept that I am apart of the Teen Fiction department on Wattpad because it has a userbase in the double-digit millions. Other then those two things I don't really have anything intresting about myself and I didn't want to leave that blank. 


#6 gigigriffis

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 02:49 AM

Notes below - and good luck! This sounds interesting. 

Dear [INSERT AGENT NAME HERE],
 
After poachers kill Karasi Shujaa's mother, she is selected by the Ngai gods to become their new mlezi. (Love this first line! But what's a mlezi? I think we need to know right away.) Now her life consists of hunting poachers, fighting dark spirits, and trying to make her 9 PM curfew. (This is great!) When a sacred lion cub is stolen, Karasi is ordered to bring it home, but things get complicated when her father sees her using her powers and sends her away to live with her grandparents in [place]
 
Although forced into the role of the all-American teenager (Oh, was she sent to America? I'd definitely add this at the end of the last paragraph.), she is haunted by dreams of the destruction that will come if the cub isn’t returned by the spring solstice. Running away from her grandparents’ house, Karasi’s travels take her to the black markets of San Francisco, Shanghai, and finally back home [to where exactly?]. Karasi realizes that the greatest danger may be herself, as she struggles to control her powers and her growling feelings for a boy forbidden to her. [Hmm, not sure you need the boy here - I feel like it introduces more questions for me than answers.] [I think the only thing missing here is the final stakes - how specifically is she her own greatest danger? What choice does she have to make/conflict does she have to face to get the lion cub back?]
 
AFRICAN PRIDE is a WORD COUNT HERE-word East-African YA Contemporary Fantasy novel that will appeal to fans of Tomi Adeyemi’s Legacy of Orisha Series, set within modern times.
 
I have been an active member of the Wattpad community for almost three years where I'm one of the leading members of their Teen Fiction department. Previously I published adult novels with the small press After Hours Publications under the pen names E.V. Evergreen and Andromeda. Below are the first ten pages of my manuscript. Thank you for your time and consideration. [This all sounds good! I know you were concerned about the bio, but it reads well.]
 
Sincerely,
AUTHOR NAME HERE

Will you take a peek at my query?

 

Sincerely,

 

Gigi Griffis

Copywriter, Content Strategist, & Travel Guide Author

Blog  /  Website  /  Facebook  /  Twitter


#7 Nessa

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 03:40 PM



 

Revamp: #1
Dear [INSERT AGENT NAME HERE],
 
After poachers kill Karasi Shujaa's mother, she is selected by the Ngai gods to become their new mlezi.[Interesting, but I don't think most people will know what a mlezi is.] Now her life consists of hunting poachers, fighting dark spirits, and trying to make her 9 PM curfew. When a sacred lion cub is stolen, Karasi is ordered to bring it home, but things get complicated when her father sees her using her powers and sends her away to live with her grandparents. [What's wrong with using her powers? Maybe add a little tidbit about why this is such a bad thing.]
 
Although forced into the role of the all-American teenager[Where was she before America?], she is haunted by dreams of the destruction that will come if the cub isn’t returned by the spring solstice. Running away from her grandparents’ house, Karasi’s travels take her to the black markets of San Francisco, Shanghai, and finally back home. Karasi realizes that the greatest danger may be herself, as she struggled to control her powers and her growling feelings for a boy forbidden to her.[Interesting, but I feel like something's missing. Are her powers bad? Why is there a forbidden boy? If you only mention him once, then you don't need to mention him at all in the query.]
 
AFRICAN PRIDE is a WORD COUNT HERE-word East-African YA Contemporary Fantasy novel that will appeal to fans of Tomi Adeyemi’s Legacy of Orisha Series, set within modern times.[Add one more comp.]
 
I have been an active member of the Wattpad community for almost three years where I'm one of the leading members of their Teen Fiction department. Previously I published adult novels with the small press After Hours Publications under the pennames E.V. Evergreen and Andromeda. Below are the first ten pages of my manuscript. Thank you for your time and consideration.
 
Sincerely,
AUTHOR NAME HERE
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
NOTES
I am conflicted on changing my writing background. I did an #Askanagent not long ago, and they said that since this won't be my "writting carrer debut" I should write about any writing background that I have. Although my numbers at After Hours weren't good, they suggested I still write it or else I might be considered 'lying' with my background. I also kept that I am apart of the Teen Fiction department on Wattpad because it has a userbase in the double-digit millions. Other then those two things I don't really have anything intresting about myself and I didn't want to leave that blank. [I don't think you need to include sales numbers unless the agent asks. Mention you're published, that's it.]

 


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