If you ask any writer about the process of connecting with their agent (or publisher), the majority will say the most difficult part was querying. Not only the actual process of sending out the letters/emails, but formulating the query itself. In fact, I’ve heard more than a few writers say that writing their query took them almost as long as drafting their book!
Some people have the talent of being able to summarize their book in a few sentences. But for those who don’t, I wanted to provide a resource so writers could learn what works, and what doesn’t, in a query.
With that in mind, I’m please to share today’s successful query from writer EM Castellan. This great query connected her with her agent, Erin Niumata of Folio Literary Management.
Between trying to make a living as a flower girl, dodging local gang leaders and hiding the fact that she is almost deaf, sixteen-year old Lily Scott has enough problems as it is, thanks for asking. The last thing she needs is a strange epidemic killing all the flowers in 1862 London. All of a sudden out of a job and threatened with starvation in the streets of Whitechapel, Lily decides she can’t trust some British Museum scientists in top hats to help.
Hell-bent on solving the mystery of the dead flowers, Lily quickly finds herself in over her head as children disappear, books self-combust in libraries and newspapers mention words like “dark magic”. Soon panic sweeps across the city, and Lily’s investigation becomes deadly when bombs go off everywhere she turns. From East London where the fog takes on a life of its own, to the gardens of Buckingham Palace turned into a haunted forest, Lily needs to follow the clues and sort this mess out before society collapses and she loses everything – for good.
LILY IN THE SHADOWS is a 65,000-word Historical Fantasy that will appeal to readers of Leanna Renee Hieber’s STRANGELY BEAUTIFUL series or Cassandra Clare’s THE INFERNAL DEVICES series.
Query Tidbit from EM: I’ve read MANY posts by writers who signed with their agents only a couple of months after sending out their first query. It’s not necessarily the norm. Even if you’re querying successfully (i.e. you’re getting requests, positive feedback and R&Rs), the querying process can take a long time. Out of the 13 agents who read my full manuscript, the quickest one took 1 week and the slowest one 4 months. Their average reading time was 10 weeks. The time between my first full request and my offer of rep from Erin was 6 months. Waiting for a reply from agents can feel frustrating at times, but getting a book published really IS a slow business. Better get used to it early 😉
EM Castellan is a writer of YA Fantasy novels. She lives in an English castle, travels extensively, reads voraciously, listens to music from bands few people have heard of and watches too many movies to count. In case you are wondering, she also has a full-time job, so she mostly writes at odd hours and drinks a lot of tea. She is represented by Erin Niumata of Folio Literary Management. She is a member of the British Fantasy Society as well as SCBWI British Isles. For more on EM, check out her her blog, Facebook,Twitter,Tumblr or Pinterest.