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 where 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 Laura Weymouth. This great query connected her with her agent, Lauren Spieller of Triada US Literary.
A queen crowned in the Woodlands is a queen forever.
These are the words Evelyn Hapwell lives by. Six years ago, Evelyn was swept away to a strange and beautiful kingdom, where she ruled alongside her brother and sister for decades. But the Hapwell children were sent back to their old lives in our own world, and each day, Evelyn wakes up waiting to return to the Woodlands. As it becomes increasingly clear that there will be no triumphal home-going and that she is in fact, a queen in exile, Evelyn struggles to come to terms with how to live in this world, and how to build a kingdom here. Because foreign policy and governing a country are simple enough, but boys and boarding school and friends in post-war England are another matter entirely.
Your sister’s gone missing.
Four words are all it takes to shatter Len Hapwell’s self-imposed exile in America. After fleeing from the fight to keep Evelyn grounded in reality, Len returns to London to find her sister has vanished, and no one knows what’s happened. Riddled with guilt over abandoning Ev, Len searches for answers while dealing with the fallout of Evelyn’s disappearance. To uncover the truth of what happened to her sister, Len will have to confront how deeply troubled Evelyn really was, and the lengths she was willing to go to for a chance at returning to the kingdom of her heart.
A dual point of view YA fantasy complete at 60,000 words, THE ONCE AND FUTURE QUEEN will appeal to older readers of EVERY HEART A DOORWAY by Seanan McGuire. It blends the wonder and nostalgia of childhood portal fantasies such as THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA with the realism and emotional tension of LOOKING FOR ALASKA.
Prior to querying THE ONCE AND FUTURE QUEEN (which is now titled THE WEIGHT OF WORLDS and will be published by HarperTeen in fall 2018), I queried an entirely different MS for a year and a half. While I received a reasonable number of requests, no one ever loved it quite enough to offer. So when I first sent out this query, I was mentally prepared for a long process. To my very great surprise, I received my first offer 10 days after the above query first left my inbox!
Laura Weymouth is the author of the THE WEIGHT OF WORLDS, a YA Fantasy out in Fall 2018 from HarperTeen. Billed as Lev Grossman’s ‘The Magicians’ meets CS Lewis’s Narnia, THE WEIGHT OF WORLDS follows two troubled sisters, bound together by blood and fate, as they struggle to find their place in our world after spending years in another realm of myth and magic. A Canadian exile currently residing in the wilds of Western New York, Laura spends the majority of her time kid-wrangling, chicken-raising, and word-smithing. When not engaged in the previous three activities, you can find her in the garden, consuming copious amounts of tea and trying to convince her husband that a miniature cow would make the perfect family pet. Her online home is www.lauraeweymouth.com. She’s also on Twitter (@lauraeweymouth), Facebook (/lauraeweymouth/), and Instagram (@lauraeweymouth)