Last week, I saw a reference to a particular literary agency on my Twitter feed. I clicked over to their website and saw that not only did they apparently represent work like mine, they represent another writer who used to work with the same editor as me at Pocket. They had very clear and specific submission guidelines, and I have a completed manuscript, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to at least send them a query. They listed their response time to query emails as 2 weeks, so I figured I had nothing to lose. Last Friday, I sent them an email, and yesterday, they emailed me back – they want to see the first three chapters!
Nothing more may come of this – they may read my chapters and decide they aren’t interested after all. But I’ve made it over a hurdle, and it was almost entirely painless. My only hesitation in sending the query in the first place was a childish but horrible fear of more rejection – I couldn’t face one more no. So getting a positive response so quickly is a very, very good thing.
Btw, I absolutely loathe writing queries – I hate being my own advertiser; it just feels wrong. And I know a lot of other writer peeps who feel the same, some of whom have been known to check in here at the blog. So for the record, here’s the one that worked for me this time:
Dear Ms. XXXXX –
The best, most accurate pitch line I can give you for my new novel, American Starlet, is “Valley of the Dolls as written by Flannery O’Conner.” The fictional memoir of Scarlett Cross, the daughter of a Hollywood movie idol and a fashion model from Tupelo, Mississippi, it’s lurid and tragic, trashy and satirical. Scarlett witnesses her mother’s brutal murder at the age of four, and she spends the next thirty-plus years (and three installments) fighting to first forget then to discover how and why it happened. American Starlet, a manuscript of 109,626 words, briefly touches on her childhood before moving on to her adolescence and young womanhood, including her rise as an actress in her own right and the start of her stormy lifelong romance with on-again, off-again husband, two-time Sexiest Man Alive Romeo Kidd. Book 1 is complete, and I have detailed synopses for two sequels, American Actress and American Movie Star.
Before Scarlett, I wrote six historical/paranormal romances published by Pocket Books – The XXXXX Agency client XXXXXXX and I used to share the same editor, Lauren McKenna. A Falcon’s Heart, This Dangerous Magic, and Wicked Charms were published under the name Jayel Wylie, and A Falcon’s Heart was dubbed a “Desert Island Keeper” by All About Romance. My Demon’s Kiss, The Devil’s Knight, and Dark Angel are medieval vampire romances I wrote as Lucy Blue – German editions of those three books were released in 2011 and 2012, and I’m still collecting royalties from e-book sales.
Until the agency was sold earlier this year, I was represented by Russell & Volkening. Timothy Seldes was my agent through the first six books, and Joy Azmitia worked with me on the first draft of American Starlet. I originally went with Joy to FinePrint Literary Management, but she has left there and has left being an agent, so I’m looking for new representation. I found your website through Twitter, and I think my work could be a good fit for your agency.
Thanks very much for your attention and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Very basic. Paragraph 1 = this is what the book is. Paragraph 2 = this is who I am. Paragraph 3 = this is how I know about you and why I think you might be interested in me. Be confident; be honest; be ready if they ask for more. I’ve already sent off the three chapters – I’ll keep y’all posted on how it goes. Again, they might very well say no, and I might very well end up publishing this thing all on my own, and that will be just fine. But it’s still really nice to hear yes – I highly recommend it.