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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Carbonell

The Query Letter That Got Me My Agent

Hello to whoever is reading this!


So, I am updating this blog post as it's a new site and there is a bit of discourse online about gatekeeping the querying process. I have a few blog posts up on my editing website (FOR FREE) that detail what a query letter is, what should go into, and a synopsis plus some other tips - link is here: https://editingtales.com/helpful-tips/.


Please note that information regarding query letters is typically easy to find for free. I am not trying to address any of what I have seen online but please know that you shouldn't have to pay someone hundreds of dollars for information that is free online. It's okay to want a crash course in querying, especially for newer writers when you don't know where to look but the fact of the matter is - just because you land an agent, does not guarantee immediate publication for your story. Now, this is not to slam anybody, but again, just know that there are cheaper and FREE options to help you.


Hiring editors is a luxury that not many people can afford - we're writers. If you have the funds then by all means, live your life! But please don't think you need to spend a wild amount of money on a querying course to be published.


Again, most resources are free online.


Before I get any comments, yes, I do offer editing services to edit queries, manuscripts (fulls & partials), and a lot more. I even offered a query crash course but it was only $45.00 and was essentially a downloadable reference guide that broke down everything even further than my blog posts had with a lot of examples plus an AMA call included to clear up any additional questions. I no longer offer this service as it feels odd to offer something that is free online no matter the interest (I had done a Twitter/X poll at the time).


So with that said, let's dive into this repeat post from my old website.


Below is the updated query letter I wrote that gained me 24 full requests, 4 partial requests, and 3 offers of representation.


Just to clarify a few things, this letter is bit more detail heavy and different from the standard QL as I was previously agented and had went out on submission with the previous version of this book.


Dear [AGENT],


I hope you are doing well!


Following an amicable split from my previous agents, I’m currently seeking representation for my YA Paranormal book VAMPIRES ARE THE WORST, complete at 75,000 words. This book was previously on submission with seven editors, where it received one R&R but was also withdrawn from three editors once I severed my contract with my agents. I wanted to mention that I have completely revamped this book after receiving feedback and editing guidance from _______ with _______, and I am also allowed to submit this book to her once I am agented.


After moving to Barnum’s Grove for her senior year, all seventeen-year-old Delila wants is to be allowed out of the house after the sun goes down. She spent her childhood training with her grandfather to ward off supernatural creatures that don’t exist. Now, finally away from his influence, maybe she can find enough time to make new friends, binge-watch shows with her mom, and maybe, snag a hot boyfriend before prom.


However, after multiple run-ins with the super-hot but super-sus Kross Saint John, her reading of an old vampire book from a local bookstore, and discovering the gaps between her grandfather’s lies, Delila learns those supernatural creatures may not be so imaginary. Vampires are coming to the Grove, and they’re not exactly visiting for the small-town charm.

To save the town she’s come to love, Delila will have to return to the combat training she’s tried so hard to get away from, teach her newfound friends how to fight, reconcile with her deceitful grandfather, and try to keep her mom as far away from the danger as possible without having her suspect anything. If her plan fails, she’ll stand to lose more than just a lot of blood. Delila’s ready to fight, but she’s not exactly ready to discover the connection that truly lies between herself and the vampires.


VAMPIRES ARE THE WORST has series potential. It encompasses the strong mother-daughter bond and small-town charm of Gilmore Girls with the sarcastic light-hearted tone of The Lost Girls by Sonia Hartl.


I am a Latinx writer with a bachelor’s degree and Distinction in Professional Writing from Western Connecticut State University. During my time there, I had a few short stories published in their literary journal. I also previously interned with ArtHouse Literary as a literary assistant. When I'm not writing, I can be found cuddling with my two dogs and watching hours of reality TV.


Thank you so much for your time and consideration. I truly appreciate it.

Amanda Badillo


My Query Letter Breakdown


Intro paragraph:

Being that I was previously represented by agents from the same agency and had also went out on submission with this book, I wanted to make known a few different details. 


One: that I represented previously. 


Two: I was out on submission to seven editors


Three: this book is completely different from the version I went out on submission with originally


Four: I reached out for help and feedback from a well-known editor who helped me to realize what my book was missing!


I also made sure to include the needed details of the book; the age category, genre, word count, and title.


Second-to-fourth paragraph:

A detailed blurb about my story that gives just enough info the be enticing but doesn't spoil anything within the story itself. Remember, your story blurb should read like a book's jacket cover - it tells you the premise of the book, not everything that happens. Your blurb should leave the agents/readers wanting more.


Fifth paragraph:

This placement doesn't really matter; some people put the comp titles (comparative titles) in the first paragraph but I chose to put it here as I felt it flowed a little smoother.


Last paragraph:

My author bio detailing a little bit about my writing credentials and myself. If you don't have writing credentials that's perfectly okay! You can just tell the agent a quick little blurb about yourself, nothing too long.


Pitch Events in Query Letter's

After PitDark this past May, I received a few likes from other publishers/acquiring editors, and I added that list to my query also making mention to another list of editors that I had from past events who have shown interest in the project. 


Summary


Every query letter is different and every journey is different. I'm incredibly lucky and blessed for the interest I received in my book at the time. Please remember that an offer of rep does not guarantee publication and it can sometimes take over a year or more to get a deal unless you are very lucky (in terms of timing in the trad-pub market) and have a strong/solid book. Overnight/two week deals are AMAZING but they are not the norm so please don't be discouraged. Also, PLEASE remember that writing/publishing is very subjective. What doesn't work for one editor/agent may work for another. Stay strong.


I'm happy to answer any and all questions.



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