Thursday, February 18, 2010

A query that worked

Yes, I know it is far from the best query ever written, but it did get me a full request in Dec. I'm still waiting on the outcome of that (hasn't been enough time yet according to agent's email--they were nice enough to give me a time frame). When I hear about it, I will share with everyone.

I thought it might be fun to see what this query had that might have piqued an agent's interest. So any comments on it is great and would be a wonderful learning tool for everybody.

Dear Agent XOXOXOX

Please note here, I had a personalize greeting to the agent with regards to what he/she liked or possible blogs or something else I followed about the agent. Remember---it is very important to do your homework.

DARK ABYSS follows twenty-one year old Akali Grey as she discovers her solitary existence is nothing more than a fa├žade created to keep others away. It is a fast-paced journey that whisks Akali away as she learns about her true heritage while fleeing from Dallas, TX and overseas to Mainz, Germany.

The simple fact is Akali’s a witch. But although it is a simple fact, it is one that she had no knowledge of until Isaac forces his way into her life.

When Akali is nabbed from her home by Isaac, luckily before she was killed by some unknown assailant, she quickly discerns his plans don’t include the usual bad things that happen to kidnapped victims. Not that that she shouldn’t be worried; after all, he is a vampire. But drinking her blood isn’t on his agenda either. Isaac is desperate for her aid to free his family from an ancient curse, and because of her heritage, only she can perform the ceremony.

Suddenly, Akali’s normal life vanishes and is replaced with a world of creatures like Isaac who want to stop her by any means--well, by drinking her blood of course. Not given any real choice in the matter, Akali is forced to stay with Isaac, who promises to protect her from the others as he leads her to an undetermined future.

DARK ABYSS is complete at 105,000 words and is available at your request. Below are sample pages as per your instructions.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


So now I would like to look at why this query worked. And worked well enough to get a full request.

The first thing I tried to do was keep it really brief and to the point. Not an easy task.

I tried to work a hook. Akali is a witch...doesn't know anything about it.

The next thing I tried to follow was a suggestion that I read on an agent's blog one time---a query letter can be summed into the first 30 pages. I tried to do that. Within thirty pages of my novel, Isaac finds the heroine, Akali. She finds out she is a witch and has to help him with a curse.

The next paragraph I tried to sum up the danger, the conflict. Is it every conflict in the entire novel? No, but it is the main conflict.

And that was my thinking when I wrote this query.

Please comment on the good, the bad, and the ugly of this query letter. I am putting it out there for a learning experience to my fellow writers and to me.


  1. Hi Ebyss,

    My only suggestion would be to add a little more of the tongue in cheek humor, if that runs through your book. "...well, by drinking her blood of course." That's a clever, funny little line, but I don't see anything like that in the first part of your query.

    Congrats and many more congrats on your win! I hope it goes well and you get a big, fat offer of representaion! :)

    xoxo -- Hilary

  2. I happened upon your blog through Twitter and think it's a great resource for beginning writers. Do you live in Dallas? I do. I write for children and adults and am querying a children's book now. (@Kim_Batchelor, @lyricdoherty)