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 A.J. Pine. This great query connected her with her agent, Courtney Miller-Callihan.
Twenty-one-year old Jess used to be that girl. You know, in a sorority with the perfect boyfriend, her future all mapped out, until one night that should have been magical–that was magical–wound up shattering everything.
Now one night is all Jess thinks she’s worth. Her not-so-perfect ex taught her that. Since no guy could want her beyond a night in her bed, that’s how long she gives them. For one night she can have someone’s arms wrapped around her and not wake up alone. For one night she can pretend that she’s still that girl, that the arms around her are still his.
But when Jess’s physical therapy internship introduces her to Adam Carson, star of the university basketball team recovering from knee surgery, he reminds her how much more she has to offer. Maybe she can resist his chocolate brown eyes and witty charm, but his beautiful heart is no contest. He’s not like the other guys. He’ll take her any way he can get her, even if she draws the line at friends. But crossing the line unleashes Jess’s secret of what happened little more than a year ago. Jess cares about him too much to keep up the lie, but the truth breaks her heart wide open again…and Adam’s too. For any chance at happiness, Jess must let go of her past, stop blaming others for what she lost, and believe in a future of more than one-night-stands.
ONE NIGHT is a New Adult contemporary romance, complete at 69,000 words. It will appeal to fans of Cora Carmack’s FAKING IT and Brooklyn Skye’s STRIPPED.
I’m a big fan of Blake Snyder’s SAVE THE CAT techniques. To write this query, I used his log line example that I found on the SAVE THE CAT website and just expanded it to the three paragraph format of the query. I knew that if I included all that was in the log line I’d be hitting the set-up, the conflict, and showing the stakes. I also honed the query online at WriteOnCon, queried my agent after she favorited my #pitmad tweet (Note to writers–you still have to query after a twitter pitch request), and the rest is history!
Just a quick mention that A.J. recently released the third book in her IF ONLY series, titled I DO. Here’s a little blurb…
Sometimes you have to trust your heart to find out what home really means.
Duncan McAllister is marrying Elaina Tripoli tomorrow. Except–he’s missing. Jordan, Noah, Griffin, Maggie, and Miles arrive in Greece for the festivities to find frantic messages from both the bride and groom. Noah and Griffin set off to find Duncan while Jordan, Maggie, and Miles try to salvage what should be a day of celebration before the wedding.
But the Americans have their own baggage. Noah’s got a surprise planned for Jordan that has to go perfectly. Griffin’s keeping life-changing news from Maggie. And Miles–well, he wasn’t looking for love on this trip until a Greek sous chef named Alex rocks his world.
The race is on for Duncan to make it back to Elaina before she decides not to take him back at all. For Noah to make sure his monumental plan goes off without a hitch. For Griffin to tell Maggie the truth without losing her. For Miles to admit that letting himself fall in love is worth the risk.
Happily Ever After waits at the finish line…if the four couples can make it on time.
A.J. Pine writes stories to break readers’ hearts, but don’t worry—she’ll mend them with a happily ever after. As an English teacher and a librarian, AJ has always surrounded herself with books. All her favorites have one big commonality–romance. Naturally, the books she writes have the same. When she’s not writing, she’s of course reading. Then there’s online shopping (everything from groceries to shoes). And a tiny bit of TV where she nourishes her undying love of vampires and superheroes. You’ll also find her hanging with her family in the Chicago ‘burbs. For more on A.J., check out her website or follow her on Twitter.