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 Tom Torre. This great Middle Grade query connected him with his agent, Dawn Frederick at Red Sofa Literary.
I am writing you today seeking representation of my 54,000 word middle-grade adventure novel, COPERNICUS NERDICUS. It targets readers who are gamers at heart by bringing to life video game elements while combining the hilarious adventures of Michael Buckley’s NERDS series, with the robotic action packed pages of J.V. Kade’s BOT WARS.
Thirteen-year-old gamer, Copernicus ‘Nic’ Wilhelm, has one chance to win fifty thousand dollars and prevent his dad from losing his laboratory to the devious inventor, Geoffrey Zorn–The Digital Zone video game tournament. But when Geoffrey Zorn unveils a new virtual gaming console called EVO to be used in the finals, Nic only has a week to master a futuristic robotic fighting game.
Easy enough for Nic, that is, until the game fights back.
When EVO transforms into a short-circuiting attack robot, the term video game realism takes on a completely new meaning. With the help of his friends, Nic re-programs the rampaging robot, but that wasn’t the only problem. EVO was also installed with a brainwashing microchip by the vile criminal organization, C.O.R.E (Coalition of Rogue Engineers) in order to kidnap tournament contestants, including Nic’s best friend, and transform them into pilots for an army of kid-controlled robots straight out of the game.
With the police now controlled by C.O.R.E too, Nic and his friends must pummel their way through C.O.R.E troops using everything from stink bombs to slime cannons in order to rescue the contestants and discover proof of Zorn’s involvement in the mind control plot. Meanwhile, a fleet of robotic drones is preparing to invade Nic’s hometown of Twin Valley, and ultimately the world. Nic is in a race against time to put a stop to C.O.R.E and ensure the tournament goes on, before his gamer guile and new robot’s battery, runs out.
I revised my query a total of 8 times before I settled on this final version. I’m still not completely happy with it LOL. Don’t think I ever will be!
Final querying stats : Queries Sent : 62
Full Requests : 12
Offers of Rep : 3
Tom is an IT whiz by day (just think of one of those guys from Office Space), and a comic book artist, video game buff, and middle-grade writer by night. After a few stints as colorist in the comic book industry, he completed his first major middle grade novel, COPERNICUS NERDICUS, which combines his love for video games and robotic warfare. Under the wings of expert literary agent, DAWN FREDERICK of RED SOFA LITERARY, he is now in the “submission trenches” – submitting both COPERNICUS NERDICUS and his latest middle-grade conquest, LUCAS PEREGRINUS and the ESCAPE FROM MANUKI ISLAND.
When he isn’t locked away in his man-cave watching The GOONIES for the 347th time, or catching up on some geek-news on Kotaku, he’s probably busy cooking up some chaotic food dishes for his wife and his 100 lb doberman named Braveheart’s Dantes Inferno. Yes…that’s his dog’s real name.