Between reading my own queries, and Laurie’s as her assistant I get to read a lot of these emails. Even though I always read every single email in its entirety a sound and interesting query letter can sway me to ask for a partial or a full.

If you write funny realistic YA, finding a way to make me chuckle by using your character’s voice means a lot to me. If you are writing dark paranormal, giving me chills could make the difference. I consider these things winning at querying.

I know what you’re thinking. IT IS HARD TO DO THAT. And that is okay, you don’t have to make me emote. You can also write a very professional letter that shows your chops. I know its hard, but with practice you will get it!

Still worried? Don’t want to screw up that initial email with your dream agent? I have not one but two links for you.

Jay Kristoff’s article is extremely eye opening and shows how to use humor in a query letter.

C.J. Redwine has an ebook simply titled Query: Everything You Need to Get Started, Get Noticed, and Get Signed that will be most beneficial to those who are nearing the query period.

Good luck! May the force and the odds and whatever else always be in your favor!

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Query Hell

I thought it might be fun to take a break from the writing and think about what I will eventually say when it comes time to look for an agent. As unpublished writers, we tend to build our dream team and long for sending out that first letter (to probably be rejected) (over and over again). So I wanted to share an early draft of my query letter with you and let you comment on what you like or don’t like about it to help me revise that later. If you post yours let me know so I can return the favor.

Dear Agent McAgentson,

I am writing today to query my YA cyberpunk Terra Nova which is completed at 65,000 words.

I live in the Silicon Valley and am married to a Senior UI Prototype Developer who works for Yahoo! doing very secret things. Tech and industry secrets are a huge part of my day to day life.

If I were to sum Terra Nova up in one sentence I would say:

If your Sims were sentient, would you play God?

Longer Summary:

When Joel is asked by long-time friend Chrissy if he would like to move from San Francisco to Japan and work for the largest virtual reality landscape company in the world he quickly agrees.

Upon starting his job and finishing his first prototype -Mika – A London tour guide- he realizes something is off at Terra Nova.

Mika is sentient and Joel is asked to delete her and her landscape from the system.

This command from the higher ups sends Joel on a journey of right vs. wrong – full of life or death decisions and situations. Secrets and betrayal lurk behind every closed door – real or virtual- and there is seemingly no where to go that Terra Nova can’t reach him.

Will Joel be able to complete his mission and save Mika before time runs out?

I have been blogging about kidlit at Bookalicio.us for four years. I also write for the San Francisco Book Review and YA Warehouse. I partner my blog with my local independent bookstore Hicklebee’s in sunny San Jose California. I also record podcast reviews for Brain Burps and video blog at Youtube Channel InterrobangYA, I am a judge in speculative fiction for the Indie Lit Awards. I have a short story in the unCONventional anthology coming in January of 2012. Member of SCWBI, a critique group, NCIBA, NCCBA and NBCC.


Pam van Hylckama Vlieg

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