Monday, August 30, 2010

Here's a query...

Today I wanted to share my query letter with you. I've made a major revision on this story, thanks to an agent's suggestion, and I'm getting ready to send out some query letters. I know we all hate the old query letter, but any suggestions would be appreciated. Here's where we are so far.

Dear Agent:

People disappear in the bayou. And that’s exactly what thirteen-year-old Robin Sherwood needs to do — before her Uncle Conrad snips her toes off with his trusty rusty garden nippers. Forget tetanus. Getting to the bayou is going to be a real challenge if that happens.

When her parents’ private plane disappears in the swamp, Robin’s uncle moves in as trustee of the multi-million dollar Sherwood Estate. It doesn’t take long for Robin to figure out there’s something not quite right about Uncle Conrad — besides having a metal claw where his left hand used to be. But his obsession with The Lone Ranger and the fact that he knows every episode by number? That’s just weird.

Weird changes to crazy when he explains the bizarre game he has planned — a game that will leave Robin dead and Uncle Conrad the sole heir to the Sherwood fortune. In order to escape his devious plan and its deadly consequences, the bayou may be Robin’s only chance. It’s a risky choice, but becoming alligator bait seems a lot less terrifying right now than what’s waiting for her in the cellar.

LOST IN THE BAYOU is a 46,000-word upper MG thriller. It comes complete with a younger brother, a rusty lunchbox, and little bag of blueberries. I would be happy to send the full manuscript for your consideration.

Thank you, and I look forward to your reply.


  1. Interesting. I'd look into it, but that's just wee little me. It does make me thing of An Series of Unfortunate Events though.

  2. I like it. Easy to follow. Simple format. Scary bad guy. Heroine willing to take some chances. Sounds like a fun story. I'd lose the bit about the blueberries and younger brother. Too cutesy, but that's just me.

  3. Hey there! Been a while since I've dropped by.

    I've seen earlier versions of your query and this one works so much better! I can easily follow the plot, it's suspenseful and yet it actually had me chuckling in a couple parts (always a good thing!). Personally, I like the bit at the end about the rusty lunchbox and the younger brother, but I have a quirky sense of humor.

    The story itself isn't something I'm usually drawn to, but the query shows you can write and you have a good grasp on the plot, so if I was an agent, I'd probably check the sample pages to see if I wanted to read on.

    Great work! Bravo!

  4. This reads really well. Still, I'm distracted by a couple of things. Your use of trusty rusty sort of bugged me. I'd cut the word trusty -- especially since you use Trustee in the next paragraph. Also... take a close look at your use of bayou and swamp. Here in Louisiana they're one and the same (at least to some of us) so I wonder if you could identify the swamp the plane crashed in ... just give it a name like Dead Man Swamp or a Louisiana swamp ... just so your agent/editor/reader will know it's a different place from the bayou. As for the last paragraph... I don't understand what you mean by little brother, rusty lunch box...blueberries... do you mean those things are also in the book? Might take another look at that. But excellent job. I'd read the book... :) Hope it sells. I wish I knew where it takes place. Do you not need to give that info in your query? If I was an editor or agent, I'd want to know. Good luck!

  5. It read great to me. I didn't mind the 'trusty rusty' but then again, I love stuff like that.

    I also loved the part about the blueberries and younger brother, but the word rusty with the lunchbox was a little repetitive as you used that word in 'trusty rusty'. Maybe delete one.

  6. The story itself isn't something I'm usually drawn to, but the query shows you can write and you have a good grasp on the plot, so if I was an agent, I'd probably check the sample pages to see if I wanted to read on.

  7. I love reading query letters and this is a really good one! I love the idea of ending it with "It comes complete with a younger brother..." but instead of rusty lunch box and little bag of blueberries, I recommend more specific plot-related features, like the younger brother. Otherwise the agent might think he/she will get a lunchbox with berries in it if they make a request??? I'd definitely be reading more.


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