Monday, November 25, 2013

A Successful Query & Another Query Crit Opportunity

Details on another opportunity to get your query critiqued are at the end of this post--just enter through the Rafflecopter!

But before we get into the critiquing, I thought I'd share the query that got me my agent (if you follow that link, be aware there are some f-bombs in the post--which I would never use on Operation Awesome!).

An even earlier version of my pitch for Crow's Rest is viewable here, in a video I submitted to Pitch University. A pitch I wrote before I'd even started the book, mind you. And there is some useful info in the comments, so be sure to check out those.

By the time I'd finished writing the book (and rewriting the ending), the focus of the pitch had changed to make it clearer that Crow's Rest is urban fantasy rather than paranormal:

Crow's Rest is a 72,000-word young adult urban fantasy novel with the wry humor of Kiersten White’s Paranormalcy series and the dark fantasy feel of Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series.

Sixteen-year-old Avery arrives for a visit at her Uncle Tam's, eager to rekindle her summertime romance with her crush-next-door, Daniel. Instead, she discovers Daniel's body has been taken over by a corbin, a Fae which usually crosses into our world by inhabiting crows.

The corbin, Lonan, warns her that some of his kin are no longer satisfied with crow bodies. Or even the occasional accommodating human. They want to come here in their natural forms, with their full, terrible powers intact. It’s happened before, leading to the fall of Rome and the Dark Ages, but this time Lonan has been sent to stop them.

But in exchange for Avery’s help with his mission, she insists he bring Daniel back. They make a deal for the two boys to share Daniel’s body, switching between personalities in an uneasy truce. Until she starts to fall for the charming Lonan and realizes that even if they do save the world, only one of the boys will get sole custody of the body—leaving her heartbroken either way.

(Substituting an earlier version of this line here, since the one that ended up in this query is spoilery) Meanwhile, she discovers her family’s roots reach deeper into Faerie than she ever imagined, proving crucial to the survival of both worlds. 

I am a PAL member of SCBWI whose past publishing credits include a MG short story, “Hornworms", in Hunger Mountain, a YA short story called "Ebb Tide" which took third place in the WOW! Women on Writing Spring 2010 Flash Fiction Contest, and numerous nonfiction pieces in such magazines as Birds & Blooms and Sierra Heritage Magazine. In 2012, I received our SCBWI Regional Chapter’s grant to attend the International Conference in Los Angeles, based on sample pages of Crow’s Rest. I also contribute to the group blog, Operation Awesome, and started an auction in 2012 called Pens for Paws, which offers critiques and swag from agents and authors to raise money for a no-kill cat sanctuary, Fat Kitty City.

I had a pretty decent request rate with this query before agent/attorney Eric Ruben offered representation. And incidentally, Eric participates in both #AskAgent and #tenqueries on Twitter, which are great resources for writers polishing their queries.

And without further ado, the query critique details! Once again I'm calling for brave souls who would like to get their query critiqued by me (Angelica), and other OAers who will chime in as their schedule allows. Plus, the public can add their thoughts and encouragement in the comments.

The Rafflecopter will be open through December 1st, and the critiqued query will go up on December 9th. We need a contact in your entry, but it's okay to disguise your email from bots by formatting it like youremail (at) gmail (dotcom).

So if you're up for joining us in this experiment, you must sign up below. And then leave a comment telling us what age/genre your book is. This last bit has no bearing on whether you are selected since Rafflecopter does the choosing for us, but it's always interesting to see what you're working on. We will be emailing the winner and announcing their name on Twitter and Facebook on December 2nd, so it's worth your while to follow those accounts!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Great opportunity - thanks!

    I'm writing a MG sci-fi/adventure. Preparing to query book 1, NaNo'ing book 2!

  2. The project I have in the query stage is New Adult Urban Fantasy.

    (My NaNoWriMo WIP is high fantasy. On the side burner is the sequel to the NA UF.)

    Heads up:
    Prewritten tweet was one character over. :/

    1. Thanks, Lenni--hopefully it's fixed now. I've seen that happen in contests I've entered before.

  3. I have a MG Sci- fi adventure. First in a series of two or three.

  4. I'll be using a query for a MG Fantasy, but I also have a MG Contemporary that I'm sending out.

  5. Middle grade science fiction adventure.

  6. Querying a NA Fantasy :)

  7. Middle grade fantasy - magical realism.

  8. Middle grade with a sports influence

  9. Congratulations Wendy! Please send us your query at OperationAwesome6 (at) gmail (dot com)


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