Query Letter Critique

Original Query Letter

 

Nikki Evers assumed the crimes were random coincidences. Fires on campus. Convenient store robberies. Gang killings. Great stories for the school paper. But when her best friend Brycin disappears, presumed dead, and she gets a text that reads:

 

Nikki, I’m alive. Talk to Clay. He knows what’s going on. Please find me before its too late…

 

Nikki’s not sure what to do. Clay French is off limits. Not because he rides a motorcycle or has an amazing tattoo. His girlfriend is her best friend.

Nikki’s been in love with him since the sixth grade when they played spin the bottle. His kiss stayed with her even now, but it was the words he whispered in her ear that still pulled on her heart.

 

Teaming up with Clay is the only way Nikki can find Brycin. When Nikki’s almost killed and Clay saves her life, she uncovers a dark secret that threatens to destroy everyone, including herself.

 

Her secret crush on Clay keeps her at a distance with him, but Nikki is about to discover he’s searching for more than her missing best friend. He’s after her heart, too.

I FOUND YOU is a YA Contemporary Thriller with romantic elements, completed at 57,000 words

 

***

I am a stay at home, homeschooling mother with six children. I have been writing since I was sixteen and been involved in the publishing industry for the past five years.

 

I am a literary agent intern for (Redacted literary agencies). I have worked as an editorial intern for an indie publisher and been an editor for children’s books published on the Android phone. I’ve recently been accepted as an intern for (Redacted publishing house).

 

Query Letter After I Got My Grubby Paws On It

 

Nikki Evers assumed the crimes were random coincidences. Fires on campus. Convenient store robberies. <This should read ‘Convenience store’ Gang killings. Great stories for the school paper. But when her best friend Brycin disappears, presumed dead, and she gets a text that reads:

 

Nikki, I’m alive. Talk to Clay. He knows what’s going on. Please find me before its too late…

 

Nikki’s not sure what to do. Clay French is off limits. Not because he rides a motorcycle or has an amazing tattoo. His girlfriend is her best friend. I. Love. This. Opening. It’s a bit unorthodox what with the text message bit, but it works and really lends some immediacy to the query. So good! That said, wouldn’t finding her missing, presumed dead, best friend override any hesitation about teaming up with Clay?

Nikki’s been secretly in love with him since the sixth grade when they played spin the bottle. His kiss stayed with her even now, but it was the words he whispered in her ear that still pulled on her heart. I don’t think we need most of this paragraph. It’s backstory and it takes away from the thriller-like pacing of the query. Suggestion: Nikki’s been secretly in love with Clay since the sixth grade, and getting close with him now could be dangerous. But Teaming up with Clay is the only way Nikki can find Brycin.

 

Teaming up with Clay is the only way Nikki can find Brycin. When Nikki’s almost killed and Clay saves her life, she uncovers a dark secret that threatens to destroy everyone, including herself. <As much as I’m loving this query, it gets a bit vague here. Can you be more specific?

 

Her secret crush on Clay keeps her at a distance with him, but Nikki is about to discover he’s searching for more than her missing best friend. He’s after her heart, too.

I FOUND YOU is a YA Contemporary Thriller with romantic elements, completed at 57,000 words

 

*** <I would remove this.

I am a stay at home, homeschooling mother with six children. I have been writing since I was sixteen and been involved in the publishing industry for the past five years. I hate to say it but I would cut most of this paragraph. Agents wants to know your writing credentials, and your day job (unless it relates to your subject matter), number of children, and how long you’ve been writing aren’t writing credentials. The next paragraph is great. I would take ‘I have been involved in the publishing industry for the past five years’ and slap that at the top of the next paragraph.

 

I am a literary agent intern for (Redacted literary agencies). I have worked as an editorial intern for an indie publisher and been an editor for children’s books published on the Android phone. I’ve recently been accepted as an intern for (Redacted publishing house).

 

Thanks so much for sharing this outstanding query. If I were an agent I’d be all over this in a heartbeat. Good luck! 

Posted in query critique, query letter, writing advice

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