Friday, April 16, 2010

Let's Talking About Querying and a Contest

It's Friday, everyone...woo-hoo!

I want to give a special welcome to some new readers who may find their way over to my blog from the guest post I did on Matt Rush's blog today.

Matt has a great blog that I encourage all of you to check out. He focuses on the query process (ugh...the nightmares of querying still haunt me. It's such a wild ride!). He shares his own experience with querying and features a signed agent's query letter each Friday. Today it is my letter...yay!

You can go over to his blog to read my letter, but I wanted to share the wonderful response I got from Lina Sion (my super agent at Global Literary Management) offering representation. Nothing is better than an e-mail like the following:

Dear Rachele,

I finished reading CANARY and I was very impressed with the writing as well as the juxtaposition of the Blog with the narrative. I found the character of Kate very well developed, you can feel the angst that is so characteristic of teenagers. The plot is executed quite well and is totally believable notwithstanding the edgy aspect of it.

I would love to speak with you and see if we can work together.

Let me know when is a good time to call you.

Lina Sion

Seriously, how great is that? Needless to say, I was beside myself!

Now my book is on submission (fingers crossed) and I can't wait until I get an e-mail telling me that my book has sold.

You can check out my query on Matt's blog, but I wanted to make a comment about what I didn't include...the hook. I feel like the hook is one of the most important elements of a query, but after getting feedback from an agent (see Matt's post), I combined my information and it still seemed to work. It was a crazy gamble, but it worked out in the end. However, I would advise you to use a hook. Get that agent's attention. Don't be like me!

Here's my original hook:

Kate is propelled into the world of privilege when her dad becomes coach of one of the state’s top high school basketball teams, but when a player violates her trust, she must decide whether to stay silent or expose the corruption, destroying her father’s career and bringing down a town’s heroes.

What about you? What is your hook?

I'm offering to critique 10 queries and draw two winners for a 30 page manuscript critique. I'm not an expert, but I am a high school English teacher and MFA student so I do have lots of experience offering advice.

The Rules:

1) You must be a follower

2) If you'd like the chance to have me look at your query letter or manuscript, post your hook in the comment section by midnight Wednesday (April 21).

3) You can have an extra chance at being drawn each time you tweet, blog or Facebook this contest (just post which you did in the comment section)

I'll draw ten winners randomly for query critiques and two winners for the 30 page manuscript critique.

Now go enjoy Friday!


Slamdunk said...

Congrats on the good feedback from the letter and best wishes with your writing Rachele.

FantasticFiction said...

Morning Rachele. Very cool of you to hold this contest! I always look out for as much critique as possible and having you shred my query would be great! Great blog by the way. Ok so here is my hook.

Vitiosus is the prince of the Lasserta, a nation of cold-hearted beings striving for power. Raised by his father with a hatred and anger towards humans, Vitiosus is a dark warrior feared by all, yet he finds himself longing for the opposite; peace and freedom.

Matthew Rush said...

I don't think it would be fair for me to enter the contest (plus I already have an agent critiquing my first 30 from a contest I already won).

However, I'll share my hook just for fun! And to see what people think:

Fifteen year old Lee Ruccio is a reluctant juvenile delinquent who arrives at reform school fearing the worst but eventually discovers esoteric mysticism and arcane magic hidden beneath the hard-knock surface.

It's still not very good. It also doesn't HAVE to be s single sentence, but I updated it to be one for some contests.

Anyway thanks so much for sharing your query with us Rachele!

FantasticFiction said...

I blogged about your contest:

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

Great. Thanks for the opportunity. :) Here's my hook:

Jane’s a devoted mother and a hard-working wife, dedicated to her day job, but still harbouring hopes of becoming a rock star. With her guitar in her hands she feels real—but as she reaches for her dreams, one moment shatters her world for ever.

Angie Paxton said...

Rachele, I just came over from Matthew Rush's blog. Congratulations on getting an agent and having your book out on submission. Good luck! If I had something ready I'd totally enter your contest, but alas I don't.

Jen said...

Beautiful blog and what an amazing contest! I saw your guest post so naturally wanted to come over for a visit!!

I love the sparkles and buttons such a fun blog!!

Kara said...

Great contest!

My hook:

Seventeen year old Maggie thinks she's found the perfect guy in Andy, a lifeguard and pre-med student, until she learns his master of bitchcraft ex-girlfriend (and Maggie's childhood enemy) is pregnant with his kid.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I popped over from Matthew's blog after reading your guest post - loved it! Now I want to read your book!

Despite countless warnings, Scott is stunned when Daddy sends him away to the Naughty Boy Factory for some fixing. Once there, he enters a series of better behavior stations, including the Ear Enhancer, the Mouth Wash, and the TongueTorium, where his listening ears, manners, and cleanliness habits are all “fixed right up”. When he discovers the Hands and Feet Department plans to fix his running, wrestling, and bug smashing tendencies, he has had enough. Scott speaks up, but can he make it home without losing all of the qualities he loves most about being a boy?

Cynthia Watson said...
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Cynthia Watson said...

Thanks so much for doing this!

After the death of her father, Flynn Flood struggles to put her family back together with the aid of a compassionate, noble angel, in spite of the chaos created by two dangerous, dark angels who are eternally hot on his trail; but when her kid sister, Kevin, falls for one of them, Flynn must battle to keep her sister’s first love from becoming her last.

Cynthia Watson said...
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Cynthia Watson said...

P.S. - I just posted a comment about your contest at:

Thanks again!

cipherqueen said...

Great contest! I know I'm new, but I figured I'd post anyway...

Assassin Obsidian Ambros doesn’t “exist” according to the scientific definition of existence, but he’s made a hell of an impact with his life anyway. Having pitted the entire galaxy—and the gods—against himself, he’s effectively earned the title “last enemy.” That is, until an unlikely young man takes it from him. Lyon is blind, deaf, and weak, an angel slated to fall. When the gods brand him as a calamity in the wake of a powerful goddess’s death, Obsidian finds himself employed—rivalries with the gods forgotten—with a mission to assassinate the kid.

Bronwyn Scott-McCharen said...

Very cool idea! I saw the thread on Nathan Bransford's forum and thought I would join in. Thank you for doing this for all of us aspiring authors :)

Here's my hook:

Fifteen-year-old Clara Vargas Leighton is the picture of young, aristocratic, propriety in Chile during the 1980s. But when violent memories of her early childhood are coupled with her innate curiosity, Clara defies society's authoritarian norms and begins her own investigation into both the dictatorship and her own personal history, with shocking and terrible results.

Talli Roland said...

I came over with Cynthia's blog - and I want to say a massive congrats for such a great query and getting an agent!

Great contest, too!

Lisa and Laura said...

I loved your guest spot! What a story...can't wait to hear the next installment.

Bronwyn Scott-McCharen said...

BTW, I posted about the contest on my blog here:

Falen said...

oh! I'm glad i came across your blog, it seems awesome (thanks Mathew!)

Also, yay for fun contests! I'm enjoying reading everyone's hooks.

Here's mine, as it stands so far:

Nineteen year old orphan and outcast, Fox, lives alone in the forest, struggling day to day against hunger, isolation and the elements.
Oh, and the Demons.

eh. still needs work

Erin B said...

Love the look of the blog.

Okay here is my shot:

Things break around Yari. The more complicated the machine the more spectacular its demise. As if her world of technology deprivation isn’t quirky enough, a home she’s “borrowing” is robbed by a misfit group of men - men who turn into dreadful zombies when in the direct light. Now the zombies leader, who’s hunky - when standing in the shade, keeps turning up at her work wanting to talk. Her boss, who knows a thing or two about zombies, wants to exterminate them and that’s just the beginning of Yari’s undead issues…

apalfrey said...

Congrats! And thanks for putting up the contest. I'm over from Nathan's blog. :)

Here's mine.

Seventeen year old Kat is haunted by dreams of people she's never met. Well maybe "people" isn't the right word, a small boy with wings, an elven prince and goblins! None of it could be real. Right? But when Jian, a Dark Fey tries to assassinate her, she discovers her family has lied to her about who and what she is. Unbelievably, she's the 'One' that will keep the Dark Fey from freeing their Master to wreak havoc on the modern day world. It seems her fortune cookie's improbable message was coming true. "You are destined to do great things, but beware of dark influences."

miriam said...

Congrats on the agent and good luck on your search for a publisher. Thanks for offering the contest!

My hook needs work, but here goes:

After nine-year-old Anna's fever causes a brain injury, best friend Pansy tries to become an extraordinary person, in Anna's honor. The problem is, extraordinary doesn't come easy to Pansy like it did to Anna. When Anna's scheduled for brain surgery, Pansy has to figure out who the real Pansy is, who the real Anna is, and how an ordinary person can become an extraordinary friend.

Sandy Shin said...

This is such a wonderful contest! I've tweeted about it here:

In order to take revenge on her father for her mother's death, Faye strikes a bargain with the Beast: he will teach her magic and she will find him his true love. The perfect arrangement crumbles, however, when she finds herself drawn to the Beast. Except she has already kissed him. And failed.

DeliziosoSkincare said...
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FantasticFiction said...

Twittered about the contest:

Erin B said...

Posted on my Yahoo critique group site about this - hope they show as times a tad tight...