Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Query Clinic Continues

Tip of the Day: don't forget to email us your query letters for our Query Clinic so we can post them to talk about. Even if it's just the "jacket cover" description and not a full query that will work. We basically want to show lots of examples of the "meat" of the query to help people in writing descriptions for their own book. 

Not sure if I've posted this specific query on this blog before or not. But it's still one of my favorite books, even though I haven't send this particular query out for more than 3 years.

I would like to invite you to read my 63,000-word contemporary young adult novel DON’T ASK ALLY and consider representing me.

Who said advice is better to give than receive? When 16-year old Ally Harrison inadvertently gives relationship advice to one-half of The Couple of the Century in a Robertsville, Indiana theme park, her face appearing all over the national tabloids as the “new Dr. Phil” is the least of her problems. After her misinterpreted advice causes the reconciliation of rock star Jet Michaels and Nicole Porter, Ally’s Jr./Sr. High School classmates build her a homecoming float and her best friend starts an underground relationship counseling empire from the school bathroom.

However, when Nicole Porter goes missing, Ally learns quickly that sometimes it’s better to keep your mouth shut and your advice to yourself. But can Ally keep her mouth shut long enough to figure out where Jet Michael’s girlfriend really is? And can she keep her mouth far enough away from the moist lips of her prime suspect: Luke Porter, the brother of the missing girl?

My previous writing credits include newspaper and newsletter articles, media releases, press kits, and advertisements for universities and non-profit organizations. I have a B.S. in Journalism, a M.S. in Public Relations, and currently work in a library as a teen program planner. 

I would be happy to send sample chapters or the entire manuscript upon request. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.


Normally the first paragraph is customized to that specific agent based on what they are looking for. This query did receive a number of partial and full requests, mainly because of timing, since I was querying when teen chick lit was much hotter and easier to sell. I even did three revision requests for agents, but nothing panned out for a number of reasons. I ultimately stopped querying to focus my efforts on my other books, but would love to go back to this book and do a few more revisions based on some later comments to clean up the book further. Plus, this was my second book and it's amazing to see how much my writing has improved since that time and I think with more edits it could be a much stronger book and might do well as an Indie-pubbed ebook, because of it's combination of romance and mystery.

Before that happens I'd love a new title for it that fits more with the romance element of the novel. So any title suggestions are welcome in the comments section as well! And feel free to give me any suggestions. Even if I decide to epub the book a good description is still key.

--Emily, Miss Querylicious


Kristina Springer said...

I might change the main character's name to Sage and title it SAGE ADVICE. :-)

Emily Marshall said...

ooh...I like that Tina!

Kate Fall said...

Tina, that's a great idea. Playing with the fame idea in the title would be fun too. "Ally Smith, relationship wrecker of the famous." OK, that's pretty long, maybe not! And I have to say I love the "moist lips of her prime suspect" line. Talk about blending romance and mystery! I think I'd like to know why Ally goes hunting for the missing girl, though. What's at stake for her?

Emily Marshall said...

Kate...good point about making what's at stake for Ally more clear. I thought it was sort of implied in the query that she feels responsible (even though that's only one of the reasons), but maybe I think that because I know that's what happens :) This is why having multiple people look at queries are so helpful!

DeenaML said...

"Moist lips of the prime suspect" might be my fav line of the year. :)

What I love about this query is how it gets across the strong witty voice, and the Hollywood star hook. It is also a missing person mystery, which is a nice mix for the genre!

I do wish this type of book would boom a bit again to temper the dark books on the shelves now, but that said I agree that this could be a fab self-e-pub title for you for that same reason!

Kristina Springer said...

Longer title might not be a bad idea either. I'm reading now-- How My Private Personal Journal Became a Bestseller.