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 Whitney Gardner. This great query connected her with her agent, Brent Taylor.
Thank you for the book recommendations on Twitter! I checked out your bio on Publisher’s Marketplace and I immediately thought of sending you my contemporary, illustrated YA novel, HERE.
When your favorite after-school activity is tagging walls, friends are a liability. Julia learned this the hard way, when she covered up the slur about her best friend with a beautiful (albeit illegal) mural. Sprayed right across the back of the Kingston School for the Deaf.
Her best friend snitches, her principal expels her, and her mothers set Julia up with a one way ticket to a mainstream school in the suburbs. Utterly deserted, the only thing she has left is her art. Not even Banksy himself could get her to give that up.
Out in the ‘burbs, she paints anywhere she can, ready to claim some turf and make a new name for herself. A tag on a sign, a piece on an overpass. An artist can’t help but create, but Julia soon learns that she might not be the only vandal in town.
Someone has been adding to her tags, making them better, and showing off. She expected her art might get painted over by cops, but she never imagined getting involved in a graffiti war. Now, Julia must show up her rival or face being painted into obscurity. But when her opponent takes it a step too far, Julia has to decide between anonymity or getting caught.
HERE is an honest look into the life of a girl who is trying to make her mark on the world, and ends up making her first life long friend. It’s THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN meets EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP. It has been read by interpreters and Deaf beta readers to ensure a full and accurate picture of Julia’s experience as a Deaf girl. I’ve drawn sample images from the book which can be viewed here: [link redacted]. It is complete at 58,000 words. You will find the first ten pages below.
In this query you can see that my book used to be titled HERE. It’s since been changed to YOU’RE WELCOME, UNIVERSE.
And I always queried with a one out, one in mantra. If I got a rejection, I would query someone else the same day. It was not the first book I queried either. It took me a while to find the perfect agent for my work. It was worth it, Brent is the best.
Whitney Gardner is an author, illustrator, and coffee addict. Originally from New York, she studied design and worked as an art teacher and school librarian before moving to Portland, Oregon, where she lives by a bridge with her husband and two pugs. In the rare moment Whitney isn’t writing or drawing, she’s likely to be reading comics, knitting, and tending to her garden or apiary. YOU’RE WELCOME, UNIVERSE is her debut novel and is coming out in Spring 2017. Find her: @heywhitney on Twitter and @heywhitneywrites on Instagram.