Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Query Clinic is Open! (or Help Us Help You & Help Us)

Tip of the Day: You still have time to email your queries for our Query Clinic next week! Send them to author2author.blog AT gmail DOT com, and stay tuned this week and next to comment on other queries.

So I was going to post the query that landed me my last agent in 2009. It's for an MG manuscript that we subbed to editors and got good responses from -- including a revision request -- but alas, we did not receive any offers.

That said, I still love this book and think it is even stronger after the revision I did on spec, so in case I ever try to sub it on my own or epub it, I'd like to share a new version* of this query for feedback. Between all the MG readers at my library who ask for more books like IT'S RAINING CUPCAKES and CUPCAKE DIARIES, I think I would have an audience.


*The reason I say "a new version" is because OMG, the original one that I queried agents with is waaaaay too wordy! So here's a pared down version of the pitch for BAKE, SET, MATCH. Thanks in advance for any input/advice!

Twelve-year-old Dana Hawthorne's best friend moved away, but she's not letting it derail her summer. She's working at her parents' bakery, making friends with new girl Beth, and playing on the junior tennis team. Sure, some things aren't perfect, like the fact that Beth's dad is really sick, and that one of the twins she beat onto the tennis team is out to get her. But overall Dana can handle it because she can handle anything.

Until things get worse. The twins spread rumors that pit Beth and Dana against each other and can destroy the bakery's already slow business. Dana has to save the bakery before her family loses their house, but without Beth at her side, she's not sure she can come up with a good plan let alone execute it. Then Beth's dad gets sicker and Dana needs to decide what is important: being right, or being there for her friends and family.


Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

5 comments:

Kate Fall said...

This is a great query. Have you decided that mentioning why Beth's father is sick would be too hot-button? Seriously, this book and query are done! That's just an amazing thought. :)

DeenaML said...

Thanks, Kate! That's a good question. I looked through some of my old rejections on the ms from editors and it looks like some thought there was "too much" going on (cancer, tennis, bakery, new bff), so I thought I should downplay it so it's not a "cancer book." Then again, someone might be looking for a cancer book!

(And for the record, I also had rejections saying the story was good but the writing not tight, and the story not having enough going on, lol!)

Rhonda Stapleton said...

Okay, my thoughts/questions on this are in caps--see below!

Twelve-year-old Dana Hawthorne's best friend moved away, but she's not letting it derail her summer [DOES SHE MISS HER FRIEND, AND DOES IT IMPACT THE BOOK ANY?]. She's working at her parents' bakery, making friends with new girl Beth, and playing on the junior tennis team [GOOD--I LIKE THIS INFO]. Sure, some things aren't perfect, like the fact that Beth's dad is really sick [I THINK THIS LOWERS THE STAKES OF HER DAD'S HEALTH AND MAKES IT SEEM LESS BAD THAN IT IS--MAYBE REWORD? BECAUSE HER DAD BEING SICK IS PROBABLY ON A DIFFERENT STRESS/STAKES LEVEL THAN THE TENNIS STUFF], and that one of the twins she beat onto the tennis team is out to get her. But overall Dana can handle it because she can handle anything [I THINK I'D DELETE THE PART AFTER "IT"--IT FEELS A LITTLE TELLING].

Until things get worse. The twins spread rumors that pit Beth and Dana against each other and can destroy the bakery's already slow business [I GUESS I WONDER, WHAT KIND OF RUMORS ARE BEING SPREAD? TELL A LITTLE BIT HERE? BECAUSE THIS IS GREAT CONFLICT]. Dana has to save the bakery before her family loses their house, but without Beth at her side, she's not sure she can come up with a good plan let alone execute it [NICE]. Then Beth's dad gets sicker and Dana needs to decide what is important: being right, or being there for her friends and family [THIS LAST SENTENCE IS A LITTLE PREACHY FOR ME...AS IN, IT FEELS LIKE A "LESSON" STORY. I'D RECONSIDER THE WAY YOU WORD THIS BECAUSE IT COMES ACROSS IN A REALLY OBVIOUS WAY--WE KNOW SHE'S GOING TO DECIDE TO BE THERE FOR FRIENDS/FAMILY].

DUDE, THIS IS GREAT! BEST OF LUCK! HOPE MY THOUGHTS HELP!!

Andrea Lipomi said...

It sounds really good! I might find a different word to sub for "slow", maybe "struggling"?

DeenaML said...

Thanks, Rhonda, for the detailed help!!! You bring up some really good points! I'll let A2A readers know if this goes out into the world again.... :)