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 Judy Clemens. This great query connected her with her agent, Uwe Stender.
When six teenagers play Tag in present-day Chicago, there’s a twist from the childhood version…if you get Tagged, you get Dead. The three “Its” have their reasons for buying a place in the Game: surgically-enhanced Brandy is dying to destroy a naturally beautiful girl; untalented Robin desires his target’s position on the school basketball team; and brainiac Charles craves a battle against an intellectual equal.
Three hand-picked innocents play as “Runners,” under threat to their loved ones should they refuse to participate: lovely, small-town Laura; superstar athlete William; and Amanda, gamer extraordinaire. These three want only one thing…to survive. As soon as the Runners receive the “Go” on smart watches locked onto their wrists, the Game rockets them through the city, from the El to Michigan Avenue to the Lincoln Park Zoo. There is no time to rest; every thirty minutes the Runners’ coordinates are transmitted to the Its, which diminishes the Runners’ chances of ever reaching Home Base alive.
The Game will not end until someone is Tagged, so the Runners must choose how to play: will they accept death, murder their Its, or find a way to use their individual strengths to stop the Game before anyone dies?
TAG, YOU’RE DEAD is an 80,000-word YA Thriller that alternates among the POVs of all six players in the Game.
I entered the first version of this query in Query Kombat on Twitter, and after making changes throughout the process ended up the Runner-up of the contest! A great contest during which I made lots of new friends and got a much stronger query.
Judy Clemens is the author of the Stella Crown and Grim Reaper mysteries, as well as the stand-alone LOST SONS. She lives in Ohio with her husband, two kids, and two cats. For more on Judy, check out her website, follow her on Twitter or Facebook.