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 Audrey Lockwood. This great query connected her with her agent, Marlene Stringer.
Henry Thorp is a seventeen-year-old con artist working the Manhattan streets in 1847. Along with Thomas and Mary Doyle, his best friends and partners in crime, Henry swindles naïve travelers fresh from the docks—old, young and beautiful alike. But when Thomas is murdered, the only clue to his death is a ticket to board The Never Silent, a ship with a covert destination. Henry impersonates Thomas to take his place on the ship in the hope of finding his killer.
But Henry soon learns that Thomas kept one vital secret from him—he was part of an ancient society descended from the Norse who gained magic through the sea, and Thomas himself could hear other people’s thoughts. Now Henry must use every confidence trick he knows to convince an entire crew of magicians that he too is no ordinary human but instead a powerful reader. Between the risk of discovery, the peril of a murderer walking about the ship and the looming threat of pirates roaming the Atlantic, the next life lost could be Henry’s. He’ll need all his wits to solve Thomas’s murder and return home… to the streets he knows and to Mary, the girl he just might love.
THE NEVER SILENT is a 90,000 word YA historical fantasy. It could be described as Pirates of the Caribbean meets Holly Black’s WHITE CAT.
I found out about my agent (Marlene Stringer) from my critique partner when we traded agent lists. I randomly decided to research the agents with online submission forms first, and Marlene was top of the list. I really liked everything I saw about her. I sent in my query, and within a few hours she requested the full ms. A few days later she emailed again to set up the call! I was so impressed with her response time–I’d never had an agent get back to me so quickly–and to have her response be a positive one! I was almost sold solely based on her speedy response, and then we had a great conversation on the phone that convinced me the rest of the way that she was right for me.
Audrey Lockwood was raised on two types of books: math puzzles and stories of magic and fantasy. She graduated from William and Mary with a degree in mathematics, then promptly did a 180 in her career path to write novels. She loves to travel, preferably to places with ancient ruins to explore. She’ll try anything creative—including music composition, crocheting and chocolate making—but so far writing is the only thing to stick long-term. She’s mostly harmless, but has inherited a strong competitive nature that shows up around the board game table. She lives in Virginia with her husband, son and cat. You can find her on Twitter (@write_lock) or check out more on her website, alockwoodbooks.com.