There is a TON of information out on the web about crafting a good query when looking for an agent. Heed the advice and do your homework.
While crafting an interesting query is super important, obviously writing a novel that has fabulous hook, interesting plot, and dynamic characters supercedes all of the letter writing factors in the world. That said, before I was agented, I enjoyed reading queries that actually worked. So, with that in mind, here was my "golden ticket" - the email that helped that first door creak open just a tiny bit, which led to my eventual signing with Eric Myers with Dystel & Goderich Literary Management (DGLM). The book title mentioned in my query letter was eventually renamed WANTED: DEAD OR IN LOVE and was published by Merit Press in July, 2014.
In summation, I followed the advice I had read online, had my query critiqued by my SCBWI pals, and went over it many times to make sure there were no grammatical errors. Here were the things I think I did right:
- Spelled the agent's name correctly (seems like a no-brainer, but I hear this happens frequently)
- Led with an interesting hook
- Told him how I knew of him and showed I had researched his preferences
- Gave a short description of the novel's basic plot, characters, and goals
- Kept my bio short since I didn't have any writing credits at the time
- Included a sample chapter in the body of the email, NOT as an attachment (I've read that agents delete all emails with attachments without opening, worried about viruses).
Dear Mr. Myers,
From inside the mind and coffin of Clyde Chestnut Barrow, circa 2012:
I let my anger fester like an infected wound until I reach a place of pure hatred for the son of a bitch who set me up. Someone told the coppers where I’d be and at what time, which narrows it down to about ten or so people, most of ‘em family. Soon as I learn out how to escape this hellhole, I’m going to figure out which rat squealed and I’m going to kill the bastard. Make ‘em suffer too.
An eye for an eye my daddy always tole me, and I’ve always been a dutiful son.
Even if it turns out that it’s him that did it to me.
Your preference for thrillers as listed on the Literary Rambles website (and our mutual secret passion for Survivor!) makes me think we might be a great match. I’m hopeful that my YA paranormal romance-thriller, GANGSTER OF LOVE (devilishly complete at 66, 666 words) gets under your skin and infects your mind.
Following three arrests, seventeen-year-old Monroe Baker must stay out of trouble for a year or face a daunting felony conviction. When she impulsively steals the slugs that killed Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow from her father’s gangster memorabilia collection and shows them to Jack, a boy she meets at a party, the two unwittingly awaken the spirits of the dead outlaws. When Bonnie and Clyde possess the unsuspecting teens, it becomes a matter of life and death for Monroe and Jack, who must find a way to force the dangerous gangsters from their body, sending them back to the grave before they lose themselves completely. But when passions collide, alliances may change. Who will be left to reign as the true gangsters of love?
GANGSTER OF LOVE is a YA with crossover potential that mixes fact with fantasy to showcase the edgy grittiness of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, whose romanticized crime spree of the 1930’s continues to fascinate readers of all ages. The story is told in alternating first-person viewpoints––Monroe and Clyde’s––keeping the suspense high as secrets are kept and truths revealed.
During my non-writing time, I'm a full-time teacher and hold a Master's degree in education. I'm also the SCBWI district co-rep for the far north suburbs of Chicago. I've included sample pages below for your perusal. Thank you for your time.
Sincerely, Kym Brunner
***** Sample pages - Gangster of Love ***** (Check out the actual first pages of WANTED: DEAD OR IN LOVE here: First Pages )
Thanks for stopping by! KYM
Kym Brunner dreams entire novels in her head, but needs about a year to write it all down. She wishes there was an app for this. She’s addicted to chai tea, going to the movies, and reality TV. When she’s not reading or writing, Kym teaches 7th grade full time. She lives in the Chicago area with her family and two trusty writing companions, a pair of Shih Tzus named Sophie and Kahlua. She’s repped by Eric Myers of Dystel & Goderich Literary Management
Wanted: Dead or in Love, Merit Press, June, 2014
One Smart Cookie, Omnific Publishing, July, 2014
Flip the Bird, HMH Books for Young Readers, Coming Fall 2016