Friday, March 23, 2012

Query Clinic #5: Book Blogger Version

Tip of the Day: Want to win some Hunger Games swag? Check out Susan's giveaway!

It's my turn to take on the query, but this time it's for those authors who already have a book out, or one upcoming.

My guest today is Susan Kaye Quinn. Her novel, Open Minds, debuted last November and she's already breaking sales records (which is not a surprise to me because Open Minds rawks!).

But Susan had to start out just like the rest of us. As a debut, she had no readers beyond her circle of friends, family, and writers. She reached out to book bloggers with this letter (my comments in red):

Dear Lisa,
My name is Susan Kaye Quinn and I write novels for young adults. I see from your website Books for Company that you enjoy young adult as well as paranormal stories, and I hope you will be interested in my paranormal YA novel Open Minds (Book One of the Mindjack Trilogy). 
 I'm of the grab-em-by-the-throat-and-don't-let-go school. If it were me, I'd put the tagline and book description at the top of the letter. Putting 'Review Request' in the subject line of the email lets the blogger know exactly why you're contacting them. Not a huge deal, and some bloggers might want to be told at the beginning why you chose them. It certainly isn't enough to make a blogger stop reading. ;)
When everyone reads minds, a secret is a dangerous thing to keep.
Sixteen-year-old Kira Moore is a zero, someone who can’t read thoughts or be read by others. Zeros are outcasts who can’t be trusted, leaving her no chance with Raf, a regular mindreader and the best friend she secretly loves. When she accidentally controls Raf’s mind and nearly kills him, Kira tries to hide her frightening new ability from her family and an increasingly suspicious Raf. But lies tangle around her, and she’s dragged deep into a hidden world of mindjackers, where having to mind control everyone she loves is just the beginning of the deadly choices before her.

You totally want to read Open Minds now, don't you? Susan does a great job of drawing the reader in with the description of her book. This is the single most important piece of work you will write. If a reader isn't gripped by your book's description, they won't want to read it.
If you are interested in reviewing, I would be happy to send you an Advance Reader’s Copy in the format of your choice (Kindle or Nook).
 Here's a sticky part for indie & small press authors - we may not have paperback copies available for review. Sometimes this is a problem for book bloggers, sometimes it isn't. When I query bloggers, I check out their guidelines. Often they will list which ebook format they prefer. If they do list one, I say something along the lines of, "Per your preference on your website, I'd like to gift you a Kindle edition of ..." It shows them you really did your research.
 If you are not willing to give away a paperback, don't even mention it. For indies & small press authors, the cost of paperback copies can come right out of our pocket - something that can get very expensive over time. 
Open Minds releases on November 1st, and I’m coordinating a Blog Tour for Open Minds from Nov. 1-18. If you decide to review and can participate in the Open Minds Blog Tour, that would be fantastic, but a review before or after release would be wonderful as well. In addition, I’m open to sponsoring an e-book giveaway of Open Minds and would be happy to participate in any promotional events like guest posting or interviews. Open Minds is posted on Goodreads, and you can find out more about me and my previous books from my website. The Mindjack Trilogy has its own website, where more information about the upcoming release can be found.
Susan does a great job here of giving the blogger the option to join her tour. There's no pressure on the blogger to read the book by tomorrow (yes, some authors do make requests like that - and they shouldn't). The only thing I don't see is a date to contact her by if the blogger wants to participate in the tour. It's just a courtesy so both of you know what's expected and by when. A blogger emailing you to say they want to participate in your tour isn't the same as imposing a deadline for reading the book.
 In the past, I've had bloggers participate in my tours who haven't read the book yet. An interview or guest post is sufficient for some, with a review to follow in the near future. 
Thank you very much for your time and consideration! Please let me know if you would like me to send you a copy for review.
All the best,                 
Susan Kaye Quinn, Author
 Susan Kaye Quinn grew up in California, where she wrote snippets of stories and passed them to her friends during class. She pursued a bunch of engineering degrees and worked a lot of geeky jobs, including turns at GE Aircraft Engines, NASA, and NCAR. Now that she writes novels, her business card says "Author and Rocket Scientist" and she doesn't have to sneak her notes anymore. All that engineering comes in handy when dreaming up paranormal powers in future worlds or mixing science with fantasy to conjure slightly plausible inventions. Susan writes from the Chicago suburbs with her three boys, two cats, and one husband. Which, it turns out, is exactly as much as she can handle.

Susan has pictures of her other books here, but unfortunately I was unable to get them to upload properly. :(((
Life, Liberty, and Pursuit (a teen love story) by Omnific Publishing
Summer Breeze Anthology
Open Minds (Available November 1st!) on Goodreads now

All in all, this is a fantastic query letter. Susan really did her homework. She was thoughtful and considerate when presenting her work to the blogger.

Everyone needs to remember that bloggers need to be treated with respect, just like an agent or an editor. 

Megg, Miss Enchanted ePubber 


Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Thanks for hosting me, Megg! And you make a great point about the e-copies vs. paper copies. When there wasn't a preference stated, I sent this form of the letter. When they preferred Kindle (or whatevs), I stated that in the letter, as you indicated. In general, I didn't query many bloggers that said they only took paper copies. Fortunately, there are many (more every day) who are happy to take ecopies, and even prefer them (I think they get buried in paper books!!).

Megg Jensen said...

I also had a basic query (like this) that I could tailor to a blogger's interests.

This was such a great query! I spent more time just talking about stuff than actually critiquing it. LOL! :D

Kate Fall said...

Thanks a lot to both of you. I hope a lot of writers come look at this post; there's great information here. (And this sounds like an awesome novel.) Megg, maybe one week you can tell us how you keep track of your book blogger query responses and follow up.

DeenaML said...

This book sounds great, and I love the cover! My only thought is that I'd end the pitch para with a little more oomph than the dangling "her":

But lies tangle around her, and she’s dragged deep into a hidden world of mindjackers, where having to mind control everyone she loves is just the beginning of the HER DEADLY CHOICES.