Sunday, January 31, 2010



Dear Mystery Agent,

I am seeking representation for my YA novel, ZOMBIE IS AN INFLAMMATORY WORD (AND I RESENT THAT).

Vera Carnegie’s parents just gave her the biggest news of her life.

Well, sort of. If she had a life. And the news? Vera is totally and completely dead. As in doornail. She has been since age five, when she drowned in a fishing pond and a crazy voodoo guy trapped her soul in a pickle jar. Soon, she’ll stop aging and be stuck forever.

At first, Vera is devastated. But then, in her Mortally Challenged Support Group, she comes to realize that being dead has a couple of perks. Dead people, for example, make great models and Hollywood actresses since they don’t technically have to eat. And they make even better spies, since dead people obviously can’t die again. So what if she can’t go to college? She can become the female James Bond or the next Calista Flockhart.

But then Vera realizes that her parents—who aren’t religious or even vaguely spiritual—have accidentally misplaced her soul. Or rather, sold it on EBay. Which is kind of crappy, because the only way Vera’s body will die is if someone releases her soul.

As luck would have it, Vera’s soul sells to her worst enemy—Aldous Loxley, the resident school weirdo. Aldous knows exactly what Vera’s soul is and doesn’t plan on giving it back any time soon. In fact, he has some pretty crazy ideas of his own….

With the help of her new (dead) best friend Melissa and her beautiful but stupid (living) boyfriend Alan, Vera must save her soul—or die. For good this time.

ZOMBIE IS AN INFLAMMATORY WORD (AND I RESENT THAT) is about 43,000 words. The full manuscript is available upon request.

I currently live in Nashville, TN and work as a freelance writer and private tutor.

Thank you so much for your time and I hope to hear from you soon.



  1. I love this. I love the voice and the concept - very quirky.

    My comment on the query itself is that it could be tighter to pack more punch. Pick spy or actress to shorten that paragraph. And I would take out 'In fact, he has some pretty crazy ideas of his own….' and lead straight into the 'with the help'.

    Overall, you have a query with voice, which shows the ms has voice - an agents dream. Best of luck!

  2. Your query had me laughing out loud. It's hysterical, and I'd love to read the book. You have a great voice and the story sounds fun. The only thing I'd suggest is to tighten your query. Also, I don't know if I'd mention having had another agent. Depending on why you left, it could open a can of worms.

    Best of luck.

  3. Ha! Very funny. I agree with the above posts, make things a bit tighter. I also wouldn't mention previous representation. I think it leaves the agent wondering, "Well, what happened?"

    I hope this gets published, I'd love to read it! Great work.

  4. Like the other commentators I REALLY REALLY love this. I hope this gets published because I'll be one of the first in line to get it. My only suggestion is I think your query starts at "Vera is totally and completely dead." That seems more of a hook to me then the sentences that preceded it and like the other commentators it could use a little tightening and I'd leave the other agent out, unless you have published work. I'd mention that. The details, IMO, should go after your blurb.


  5. Hey, I'm not going to go into detail because I've read this novel, but I just wanted to mention that reading this AFTER the novel, I noticed something intersting. In the query Vera sounds dismissive of college, as if being a supermodel or spy would be better for her, but I know that in the book, the fact that she can't go to college is a big deal to her. I don't know if it's worth changing to include that part (I know what your query response has been like), but I thought it was worth noting that being so important to her, it could have been more important in the query too.

    But goodness knows the voice in this is soooo strong, and it pitches the story really well. Good luck

  6. What a voice! And I agree with Jasouders about where to start your query. That would be the best hook. Then, tighten, tighten. It reads a little like a synopsis. Also, absolutely no mention of a previous agent. Of course, if this project was repped and sent to publishers, your new agent will need to know where the manuscript was sent. Cross that bridge when you come to it. :)

  7. I too agree with jasounders about where to start your query. It is the punchiest line and would drag us along.

    Sounds like a lot of fun!

  8. This is great. It sounds really funny, and I love your voice. My only concern is that 43K sounds too short for YA (perfect for MG, though). You have such great voice, I know 43K would really leave me wanting!

  9. OMG I love this query so hard. This could be the funniest pitch I have ever seen before.

    Great job :)

  10. This is practically pitch perfect, imo. I can't think of a single criticsm to make. :) Zombies aren't something I'm even interested in, and I really want to read this story.

    Good luck!

  11. Nothing else to add. I love it too. A great query with a great hook.

    Good luck.


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