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 authors say 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 pleased to share today’s successful query from Meredith Jaeger. This great query connected her with her agent, Jenny Bent.
Because you particularly enjoy women’s fiction, I’ve been keeping an eye on your #MSWL tweets! Based on the two below, I think my novel, SARAH’S HEIRLOOM, will be a great fit for you:
#MSWL historical fiction (for adults) with a strong female lead and lots of plot #MSWL high concept women’s fiction, with a strong plot, great pace and lots of emotion. Like THE LIFE LIST by @lnelsonspielman
SARAH’S HEIRLOOM is women’s fiction and complete at 81,000 words, the past and present woven together in a plot-driven dual narrative. San Francisco, 1876. German immigrant Hannelore Schaeffer hugs her best friend Margaret goodbye after a long day mending dresses at the tailor shop. But when Margaret doesn’t show up for work the next morning, Hanna fears the worst. Braving the squalor of the Red Light district and daring to enter the mansions of Nob Hill, Hanna stops at nothing to find her missing friend.
San Francisco, 2015. Spirit of the City associate editor Sarah Havensworth is hiding a painful secret from her past. Having married into San Francisco’s most prominent family, she plans to keep it hidden forever. When she’s assigned an article on San Francisco’s infamous Barbary Coast, Sarah discovers the disappearance of two seamstresses in 1876. The deeper Sarah digs, the more she suspects the Havensworths have secrets of their own. In the process, she finds that she and Hannelore might be linked in unexpected ways, and that her heirloom emerald engagement ring holds the key to the answers.
This book will appeal to fans of Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio, The House Girl by Tara Conklin, and fans of the BBC show The Paradise.
I sent out about 40 queries. I love the tag #MSWL (Manuscript Wish List) on Twitter because it really helped me target agents who were looking for exactly what I had written. Even though Jenny liked my title, Sarah’s Heirloom, we changed it to The Dressmaker’s Dowry when submitting to publishers. Choose a catchy title, but be prepared for it to get changed a few times! 🙂
Meredith is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area. She was inspired to write The Dressmaker’s Dowry by her own engagement ring, which is an heirloom from 1903. Like her character Hannelore Schaeffer, Meredith is also the daughter of a European immigrant, who moved to California in search of a better life. The Dressmaker’s Dowry will be published by William Morrow (Harper Collins) in 2017. Meredith lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, their cat, and English bulldog. She is currently at work on her next novel. She is represented by Jenny Bent of The Bent Agency. For more on Meredith, check out her website or follow her on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.