Exciting! I've joined in a Blog tour this past week in which a bunch of other writer/bloggers will visit and comment on and critique each other's query letters. For those not synced in with the publishing world, that is the letter an author sends to a literary agent (think real estate agent for manuscripts) asking for representation. Once an agent takes you on, then you have a toe in the door for the market. The agent is the one who storms the Publishers and convinces them (usually without a sword at the throat) to turn your story into a bound book for all the masses to read.
But the only way to get an agent is to convince them with the power of your pen (or PC/Mac). So let's get down and dirty. Here is the latest version of my query letter. Read on:
Anna-Maria de Savonie’s first romance ended badly with drugged wine, daggers and quite a bit of blood. Unsavory rumors still swirl about Anna, and there hasn’t been a nuptial nibble in nearly three years. Now seventeen, she is about to be offered up as the matrimonial prize in her father’s jousting tournament. Resigned to her fate, Anna attempts to be the demure princesa her father and the suitors expect, but one man gets under her skin and unravels her charade.
Cornelius didn’t give a tinker’s patch for the crown of Verdebois, but a series of suspicious deaths in his family have left him the crown, attempts on his life and the need to find bride; none of which he desires. After being soundly rejected by Anna-Maria, he gallops away towards home. But, he never reaches his kingdom. Instead, Cornelius returns a fortnight later, beaten, beggared and in disguise. Letters soon arrive from the new regent of Verdebois announcing Cornelius’ death and demanding recompense – a crippling amount of gold, or the marriage of Anna to a cruel Verdeboyne noble.
“Neil”, disguised as a down-on-his-luck minstrel, offers a life amongst the roaming players if Anna marries him. When she accepts, Neil doesn’t reveal his true identity; he wants to woo the stubborn beauty without the courtly trappings. And if he stays incognito, it will be much easier to discover who is attempting to usurp his throne.
THE CHESTNUT MAID is a YA adventure/romance of 100,000 words with two alternating points-of-view set in the late medieval period. It is the first of a trilogy as Neil works to reclaim his kingdom and Anna searches for her true place in the world and in Neil’s heart.
[Here’s the part I’m really struggling with…I don’t know what to put in for my background /education/etc. This part is the real hash. I’ve had so many versions, then I cut/delete again. I only have and Associates Degree and I’ve been married and raising kids for the past twelve years. J]
Always interested in the humanities, I received a degree in Fine Arts from BYU-Idaho. I have been an avid reader of YA fiction for the past twenty years and started seriously writing my own stories over the past four years. I adore Shannon Hale, love reading Tamora Pierce and fell head-over-heels for A.C. Gaughen's "Scarlet" this past spring. I am currently a member of the SCBWI and this manuscript was requested after a pitch session with a representative from Chronicle Books. I am just polishing it up before sending it off.
So let me know...What's the verdict? What do I keep? What do I toss? What's unclear? And what was so totally awesome?