This Fury Won’t Fade – Teaser!

CHAPTER ONE

 

Silence suffocates these walls.

Before TEN, smiles and laughter, maybe the occasional tear were the heartbeat and breath keeping the college alive. Now that soul is gone, replaced with animal droppings and swooping spider webs it seems even the spiders have evacuated, leaving their homes to hang lifeless from corners, strung carelessly across doorways.

We’ve taken refuge in some sort of emergency bunker built beneath a school. A real one. Not the fake kind I grew up in. They didn’t kill you on graduation day here.

Being alone makes it easier. The quiet provides a thin blanket of ease that’s just enough to keep me from breaking. I haven’t been able to face them yet, the other confiscated youth. My mom, the girls, and Charles should be back soon. I’d like to see them, but what would I say? To the girls, that they’re father won’t ever come home. That it’s my fault he’s dead. To Charles, that his son has been taken captive by the Commander General of the NTA himself? That I don’t know if he’s alright. An aching spreads through my chest, reverberates out to my limbs. Eyes burning, I clutch at a window sill with shaking fingers to try and steady myself.

My shoulder twinges with phantom pain. The bullet wound has completely healed. There isn’t even a real mark to prove it was ever there, just a tiny spec of scar tissue, and even that seems to be fading. I wish it hurt, truly hurt. At least it would be a distraction from all the other awful things.

Someone’s behind me. I have the presence of mind to tense, hand moving to my gun. But then, I let it fall, recognizing the heavy footfalls. “They’re back.”

How he has the audacity to sound excited, I’ll never understand. “Go away, Ace.”

He sighs, doesn’t move. “It’s Dianna. She –they had her at the rebel camp. She was taken prisoner, but when–”

“What?”

A thousand thoughts are racing through my adrenaline addled brain. Dianna was there. She was a prisoner there and we set off a bomb at the encampment. No. No. I couldn’t take it if anyone else died.

I can’t lose anyone else.

“Whoa, no, no, no. Shit, Jo, come here,” he whispers as if facing a rabid dog, inches himself closer to me until he can take my hand, smiles, “She’s alright. In the chaos after the explosion, she escaped. She followed the NTA to The Inn. Found your mom and the girls making a run for it. She’s downsta—”

I’ve never moved so fast in my life.

I’ve flown down all three flights of stairs inside of fifteen seconds, nearly ripping the door off its hinges in my haste once I hit the underground level. Fifty sets of eyes fix their sights on me. They’re heat seeking missiles and I’m on fire. I don’t care. It doesn’t matter what they think of me, the girl who lost her mind in the heat of battle. The one whose nightmare-induced screams keep them up at night. The only pair of eyes I care to see, that I need to see, are hers. “Dianna?” My voice is a contorted thing, strangled.

She emerges, Charles in tow behind her. The mix of emotions I feel are mirrored on her soot-streaked face. Hope, pain, sadness, and an ocean of relief.

“Hey, Jo.” She says, a half-smile tugging at the corner of her mouth. I run to her, bury myself in the bones of her shoulder. She rubs soothing circles into my back and lets me cry.

“It isn’t your fault.” She whispers into my ear. “None of it is your fault.”

But it is. All of it.

~*~

 

When I enter the little room off the main hallway, I know it’s time and my body stiffens, jaw tightening. Now that Roman is gone, the whole idea of a tactical meeting seems wrong. My mom is busy setting up a health unit where she can screen everyone for TEN on entry to the building, and Logan isn’t back yet, so it’s just Ace, Liam, Chris and Doug, and Dianna and Charles, among a couple others I don’t yet know by name.

Eight people to convince. And I must convince them.

“I’m going after him,” I say in a hushed voice, taking a solid stance across the room from Ace, who sits in a lumpy armchair in the corner.

“No.” Ace says.

Dianna stands, leaving Charles to look bereft on the sofa, and lays a hand on my shoulder, “You mean well Jo—I know that—but it’s not safe.”

“Safe?” I hiss, not at Dianna, but at the very idea of what she’s implying. “What is safe? Do you think it’s any safer here? Nowhere is safe.” Turning my attention back to Ace, I close the distance between us in three steps, “They’ll kill him Ace.”

“She’s right. And you know he would come for us if the situation were reversed,” Liam pipes up, “I’ll go with her. I intercepted a transmission last night. I know where they have him.”

My heart is a hammer driving nails through my lungs. Liam knows where he is. I could kiss him. I could kill him for not telling me sooner.

There are shadows in Ace’s eyes, and an exhaustion in the set of his shoulders. I can see the weight of his newly inherited position taking its toll. “You’re right, he would have come for any of us. But do you think he’d want us risking our lives to save his? Would you want him to do the same?” He sighs, dragging himself upright, “What we need to do is gather supplies. We have a newborn infant here and not enough formula to last long. We gotta post a watch schedule. Erica is on the roof right now, alone. Jax is on guard, alone. And we need to help Amy get her lab set up. If anyone gets sick right now, she doesn’t have the shit she needs to treat them. We were only able to salvage so much. We can’t organize a rescue mission right now.”

At the mention of my mother’s name, a fistful of guilt is crammed down my throat, left to fester in my stomach. I won’t soon forget the look on her face when I ran to Dianna, and almost immediately forgot she was right there. Standing off to one side, looking like someone scooped her heart out with a soup ladle.

I was glad to see her, that she was alright, but in that moment I needed my best friend, the only true one I’ve had for years. But if my mom hadn’t made it back, I—well, I don’t know what it would’ve done to me. The idea of losing her, after only just finding her, makes my chest hurt. In that moment, I resolved to make things better between us. She may not understand me, and I may not understand her, or the choices she’s made, but things like that don’t matter anymore. They can’t. I should be grateful for the fact that I still have a mother at all. The child born on the eve of the raid at The Inn will never meet her mother.

“He’s right, we need all available hands on deck here right now,” Charles says and the lack of emotion on his face as he condemns his son to torture is the spark that lights the gasoline in my veins.

“He’s your son!” I shout, backhanding a wooden chair to the floor. It clatters against the concrete and swallows all other sound from the room. “Don’t touch me.” I tell Dianna as she attempts to comfort me, “He’s your son too. Are you just going to leave him there?” My eyes are filling with hot tears and I’m powerless to stop the trembling in my limbs, “They’ll torture him, Dianna.” And then I allow myself to say aloud the one thing I’ve managed to stop myself from thinking, “They might have tortured him already.”

She has no reply, but I can see the pain I’ve caused her in the narrowing of her eyes, and the way her chin quivers.

“You’re all cowards,” I say. I know it isn’t fair, and it isn’t entirely true. But right now, I don’t care.

“Not all of us can heal a bullet wound in a couple hours, Jo.” Ace says.

Charles is immediately on his feet, “Is that true?” he asks me. “Has it accelerated that much?”

When I don’t answer, he begins to pace, “We’ll have to run tests. I’ll need some blood samples. If you could allow—“

“That’s hardly a priority right now Charles,” Dianna says.

I’m beyond words. Beyond reasoning. And they must know, they have to know even without their permission, I will go after him.

Like he came for me.

Liam turns his attention to Ace, “We have Dunne. If I can get within range of their closest two-way signal, we can see if the Commander is willing to trade.”

“Ethan for Dunne.” I whisper, mostly to myself. It could work. My lips spread into the ghost of a smile. The first I’ve had in days. “Ace?”

Ace nods, pursing his lips together as he considers the approach, “Ok. But I’ll be honest, I think Ethan is more valuable to them than Dunne is to us. And even if they did agree, how are we supposed to know they’ll make good on their word?”

“Is that a yes, then?” I ask, a little too much fire in my words, and I’m left wondering what happened to our easy conversations, our inside jokes? Will we ever be whole again, or is this what we’re left with… clipped voices, and war-hardened faces, with ghosts in our eyes.

“Yes, but I got one condition.”

“Name it.”

He doesn’t speak until he’s able to securely latch his eyes onto mine, “If this doesn’t work… you have to swear to me you won’t go after him.”

Pre-Order it HERE!

Marked by Time – THE FIRST FIVE

Prologue

I stared at the wall before me and took a brief moment to catch my breath. I was drenched in sweat and my body begged me to just stop moving. I didn’t listen. I wouldn’t. I was addicted to the rush of adrenaline surging through my veins, addicted to the anticipation of the fight. I thought my daily run was energizing. This made it look like I had been lounging on my sofa eating junk food instead of exercising for the last hour.

“Let’s go, Sky!”

 

 

I smiled, keeping my expression hidden from my training partner, before having to take a quick side step.

“Getting frustrated?” I made the mistake of letting a gasp come out in my taunt.

“Getting tired? Come on, Sky, your human’s showing.”

I used the wind to leap at least ten feet into the air to avoid his next blow. I turned to face him when I landed. He had moved the targets off to the side and was slightly crouched. I smiled and got into a similar stance. My muscles ached, but my blood hummed.

 I came alive.

 

“Not even close!” I shouted back. “Bring it on,” I said to myself more than him. He smirked slightly and I shivered in anticipation of the onslaught I was about to receive. He moved forward, more fluid than water and more aggressive than fire.

The dance began.

 

CHAPTER 1

“You’ve got to be kidding me.” My books were scattered all over the floor and the front of my jacket was covered in mud. A group of nearby students laughed as I piled everything in my arms and took off, the voices shouting my name all the motivation I needed to dart back into the covered hallway and keep running.

 

 

All I wanted was to get home without having to deal with them, but the second I got out of Spanish class, they were on me like a pack of wolves. I kept running, my hair coming free from its easy ponytail and my shoes trying to find traction on the slippery tile until I made it out to the grassy patch that connected the two buildings of my high school.

After having hidden in my house for the past three weeks during winter break, actively avoiding Camille’s and Melanie’s attempts at contact, they weren’t going to make getting home easy. I started weaving between people and slipping around corners as I made my way to the second building. I skidded through the doors and was almost trampled by the eager students who were leaving, having to juggle the books in my arms so they wouldn’t fall again. Behind me, the girls were facing the same issue as they tried to catch up.

“Skyler! Sky!” The high-frequency voices rose above the chaos that was the hallway of my bleak high school. They bounced off the white walls and ricocheted off the green, metal lockers that lined the sides. I kept running in the opposite direction, hoping they would stop shouting my name for the world to hear and that I could make it to the bathroom without getting caught.

 

“Sky!” The voice was coated in sugar, disguising its malicious nature.

“Skyler!” The second was whinier, but I expected as much.

The hallway quieted just a bit, and the two voices screeched my name loud enough for the entire hallway to go silent and part so I was in the line of sight of Camille and Melanie. I tried to follow the crowd, but it was too late. They saw me. I sighed and plastered on a smile sweeter than a piña colada. My cheeks hurt and I hoped my smile didn’t look like a grimace. Please, please, please don’t bother me. I’m almost home.

 

I straightened my back and slowed to a fast walk, my squeaky shoes marking my path. Behind me, I heard two pairs of heels frantically trying to catch up as the crowd of happy teenagers collapsed into the aisle they made and continued packing up their homework. So much for being left alone. Is it bad I was hoping they would slip?

Camille reached me first. “Hey, Sky.”

 

My smile miraculously stayed intact as I sent her a nod of acknowledgment. I must have looked pretty convincing if neither one of them commented. However, I noticed Melanie was sporting her “I know something you don’t” face, but that façade swiftly cracked.

“Hey, Mel. What’s up?” I asked her.

She suddenly looked as though she ate something spicy. Her face reddened and sweat dripped down the side of her temple. She started playing with her fingers and wouldn’t make eye contact.

“Uh, n-not much.”

“You okay? You look a little flustered.”

 

In typical Melanie behavior, she rapid-fired her response, “Thanks for your concern, but I’m fine- great, actually- now that Camille is letting me help with your surprise birthday party.” I heard Camille slap her hand to her forehead. “You weren’t supposed to know that last part,” Mel added when Camille looked at her with a glare that would scare the Devil.

“I thought I told you two I didn’t want a big party- or any party.”

“And I thought I told you that having a big party would be the best way to announce to the school that you’re part of our group. It has to outdo all the others!” Camille shot back.

“Guys, I appreciate the offer, but I kind of prefer to stay out of the spotlight. I’m fine with how things are now.”

Camille flipped her hair. “Sky, look, I know you’re saying you want to be left alone, but I think you would benefit from officially joining us. And just think of the party possibilities! I know it’s over a month away, but your birthday is right around Valentine’s Day. I’m picturing red and pink decorations and a red velvet cake with white frosting.” Her eyes glazed over as she stared into her daydream.

15 Most Anticipated YA Books Coming Fall 2017

1. RENEGADES by Marissa Meyer

Release Date: November 7th

Blurb: The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone…except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.

Pre-Order Here

 

 

 

 

 

2. THIS BODY WON’T BREAK by Lea McKee

Release Date: September 5th

 

Blurb: The truth doesn’t always set you free.

Orphaned as a child, Joanna has lived her entire life in the care of the New Terra Alliance. On the verge of turning eighteen, Joanna eagerly awaits her release into what remains of society.

It was a beautiful lie.

Joanna was never meant to leave. She is part of the August Harvest, slated to die before the month’s end. With a rogue soldier’s promise to find her a way out, Joanna dares to hope. But if the NTA finds out what she knows, it won’t only be her own life at stake, but the life of the handsome soldier who has vowed to set her free.

Pre-Order Here

 

 

 

3. ROYAL CAPTIVES by Michael Pierce

Release Date: October 13th

 

Blurb: Victoria’s journey continues in the heart-pounding second book of the Royal Replicas series.

Pre-Order Here

Get Book 1, Royal Replicas Here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS by Julie C. Dao

Release Date: October 10th

Blurb: Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her.

Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng’s majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high? Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and  exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins–sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.

Pre-Order Here

 

 

 

5. HEART OF MIST by Helen Scheuerer

Release Date: August 25th

Blurb: In a realm where toxic mist sweeps the lands and magic is forbidden, all Bleak wants is a cure for her power.

Still grieving the death of her guardian and dangerously self-medicating with alcohol, Bleak is snatched from her home by the Commander of the King’s Army, and summoned to the capital. But the king isn’t the only one interested in Bleak’s powers.

The leader of an infamous society of warriors, the Valia Kindred, lays claim to her as well, and Bleak finds herself in the middle of a much bigger battle than she anticipated.

Pre-Order Here

 

 

 

 

 

6. EVEN THE DARKEST STARS by Heather Fawcett

Release Date: September 5th

Blurb: Kamzin has always dreamed of becoming one of the Emperor’s royal explorers, the elite climbers tasked with mapping the wintry, mountainous Empire and spying on its enemies. She knows she could be the best in the world, if only someone would give her a chance.

But everything changes when the mysterious and eccentric River Shara, the greatest explorer ever known, arrives in her village and demands to hire Kamzin—not her older sister Lusha, as everyone had expected—for his next expedition. This is Kamzin’s chance to prove herself—even though River’s mission to retrieve a rare talisman for the emperor means climbing Raksha, the tallest and deadliest mountain in the Aryas.  Then Lusha sets off on her own mission to Raksha with a rival explorer who is determined to best River, and Kamzin must decide what’s most important to her: protecting her sister from the countless perils of the climb or beating her to the summit.

Pre-Order Here

 

7. FRACTURE by Nina Walker

Release Date: October 19th

Blurb for Prism (Book 1 of the Color Alchemist Series): What if color held the secrets to powerful magic?

Forced to move into the palace, Jessa begins training as a Color Alchemist under the direction of the kingdom’s most eligible bachelor, Prince Lucas. As an alchemist, Jessa must capture and harness the color of living things. Every color has a unique purpose, except red. Red is the untapped magic no one can access—until Jessa.

Prince Lucas is running out of time. His mother is deathly ill and healing magic hasn’t worked. When Lucas suspects someone is using alchemy to control her, he sets out to discover the truth, no matter the cost.

Pre-Order Here

Get Book 1, Prism Here

 

 

 

8. THE GLASS SPARE by Lauren DeStefano

Release Date: October 24th

Blurb: Wilhelmina Heidle, the fourth child and only daughter of the king of the world’s wealthiest nation, has grown up in the shadows. Kept hidden from the world in order to serve as a spy for her father—whose obsession with building his empire is causing a war—Wil wants nothing more than to explore the world beyond her kingdom, if only her father would give her the chance.

Until one night Wil is attacked, and she discovers a dangerous secret. Her touch turns people into gemstone. At first Wil is horrified—but as she tests its limits, she’s drawn more and more to the strange and volatile ability. When it leads to tragedy, though, Wil is forced to face the destructive power within her and finally leave her home to seek the truth and a cure.

 

Pre-Order Here

 

 

9. TAKING FLIGHT by Kellie McAllen

Release Date: September 30th

Blurb: After years of being an outcast, Lexus finally has a chance to reinvent herself at Magna Virtus Academy, a school for students with special powers. But she never dreamed she’d go from social reject to the star of the school. When Lexus develops a unique ability no one else has, half the students envy her, and the other half are fighting to be her new partner. Add in not one but two hunky boyfriends trying to share her affections, and Lexus is definitely in over her head.

As if all of that wasn’t overwhelming enough, something strange is going on with their kind, and Lexus’ ex-partner Jaxson wants her and her boyfriends to forget the fact that he tried to kill them long enough to help him uncover the mystery behind their missing parents.

Pre-Order Here

Get Book 1, Flightless Bird, Here

 

 

10. THIS DARKNESS MINE by Mind McGinnis

Release Date: October 10th

Blurb: Sasha Stone knows her place—first-chair clarinet, top of her class, and at the side of her Oxford-wearing boyfriend. She’s worked her entire life to ensure her path to Oberlin Conservatory as a star musician is perfectly paved. But suddenly there’s a fork in the road in the shape of Isaac Harver. Her body shifts toward him when he walks by, and her skin misses his touch even though she’s never known it. Why does he act like he knows her so well—too well—when she doesn’t know him at all?

Sasha discovers that her by-the-book life began by ending the chapter of another: the twin sister she absorbed in the womb. But that doesn’t explain the gaps of missing time in her practice schedule, or the memories she has of things she certainly never did with Isaac. Armed with the knowledge that her heart might not be hers alone, Sasha must decide what she’s willing to do—and who she’s willing to hurt—to take it back.

Pre-Order Here

 

11. INTO THE BRIGHT UNKNOWN by Rae Carson

Release Date: October 10th

Blurb: Leah is poised to have everything she ever dreamed of on the long, dangerous journey to California’s gold fields—wealth, love, the truest friends, and a home. Thanks to her magical ability to sense precious gold, Leah, her fiancé Jefferson, and her friends have claimed rich land in California Territory. But their fortune makes them a target, and when a dangerous billionaire sets out to destroy them, Leah and her friends must fight back with all of their power and talents.

Leah’s magic is continuing to strengthen and grow, but someone is on to her—someone who might have a bit of magic herself. The stakes are higher than ever as Lee and her friends hatch a daring scheme that could alter California’s history forever.

Pre-Order Here

 

 

 

 

12. THIS BODY WON’T BREAK: Part 2 by Lea McKee

Release Date: October 3rd

Blurb: Freedom comes at a price.

Joanna has escaped. She’s finally free, but there’s no time to celebrate. The soldiers of the New Terra Alliance hunt her across unregulated land. A land filled with its own host of perilous dangers. Against the odds, Joanna pushes on, but she’s haunted by the faces of all the O-Negatives she left behind.

In less than thirty days they’ll all be dead. Harvested.

To have any hope of saving them, Joanna must join forces with a rebellion teetering on the edge of an uprising. But when she’s reunited with the one person who ever cared about her, and the mother she didn’t know she had, she’ll have to decide if she’s ready to give up her only chance at freedom.

Pre-Order Here

Get This Body Won’t Break: Part 1 Here

 

 

13. A LINE IN THE DARK by Malinda Lo

Release Date: October 17th

Blurb: Jess Wong is Angie Redmond’s best friend. And that’s the most important thing, even if Angie can’t see how Jess truly feels. Being the girl no one quite notices is OK with Jess anyway. If nobody notices her, she’s free to watch everyone else. But when Angie begins to fall for Margot Adams, a girl from the nearby boarding school, Jess can see it coming a mile away. Suddenly her powers of observation are more a curse than a gift.

As Angie drags Jess further into Margot’s circle, Jess discovers more than her friend’s growing crush. Secrets and cruelty lie just beneath the carefree surface of this world of wealth and privilege, and when they come out, Jess knows Angie won’t be able to handle the consequences.

Pre-Order Here

 

 

 

 

14. CROWN’S SHIELD by Frost Kay

Release Date:

Blurb: Despite her resolve to cut ties with the rebellion, Sage Blackwell is forced to turn to her old allies…But when the ultimate betrayal puts her in an impossible position, she has to make a life changing decision:

FREEDOM OR PEACE?

From the moment he meets Sage, Crown Prince Tehl Ramses finds himself confronted with one surprise after another- and he hates being the fool. Ensnared in the rebellion’s intricate web of trickery and blackmail, Tehl is forced to take desperate measures:

WAR OR COMPROMISE?

Pre-Order Here

Get Book 1, Rebel’s Blade, Here

 

 

 

 

15. SHIFTER’S UNIVERSITY by Kayla Tirrell

Release Date: November 7th

Blurb: Claire Pratten has a secret—one that she’s never shared with a soul. Whenever she is frightened, her “other” self comes out. Normally she has no problem hiding what she is, but lately life at her foster home has gotten harder and keeping her secret is getting tougher.

Logan Fairmont is a dragon shifter and more than accustomed to looking out for himself—and others. In fact, he is one of the few Imperium University students tasked with spending weekends in the city, searching for young shapeshifters on the edge of revealing their magic to the human race. When he finds Claire, Logan knows she will need the help of the University and its teachers to blend into society.

He thinks he knows what she is.

But magic is never quite so simple.

Pre-Order Here

 

 

 

The Query – 10 Things you need to know

What is a QueryAgent Query

A query letter is your resume, it’s also your sales pitch, but above all, it’s your one shot to lure an agent or a publisher into asking to read more of your work. A query consists of the following parts:

The Hook

This is 1-3 sentences, and it’s meant to grab the readers attention. Agents read hundreds of queries every month, if not thousands. Make them want to keep reading yours.

Examples:

  1. ‘When Nix’s father locates a good map of Honolulu in 1868, she knows she’s in trouble.’ This is from Heidi Heilig’s query for The Girl From Everywhere.
  2. ‘Seventeen-year-old Joanna Claymore is the only orphan who’s figured it out. All it took her was some digging, and the guilty conscience of Ethan, a New Terra Alliance soldier, to learn the truth.’ This is from my own query, which has garnered me 5 full requests, and 2 Partial requests so far.

The Pitch

This is the ‘meat’ of the query letter. The pitch is where you boil your 60k-100k novel down to 8-10 sentences. Your pitch does not have to give away everything! Think of a good movie trailer, it gives you an idea of the plot, a sense of the characters, but doesn’t give away the ending. The movie trailer’s main goal is the same as your queries, it makes you want to watch the movie. My best advice for writing your pitch would be to focus on what makes your book unique. Avoid cliches at all costs. Your pitch should also reflect the ‘voice’ or ‘tone’ of your novel. If your novel is a comedy, your query should probably make me laugh.

The Tag & Bio

This is where you put the title of your book, the word count, and the genre of your book. This is also where you add a bit of personalization to each individual agent you send your query letter to. If you have any publishing credentials you can add them here as well. Here is an example:

  1.  After devoting my career to maintaining and promoting the YA sections of three bookstores worldwide, I am happily submitting my own contribution to the genre.  I am submitting to you because of your enthusiasm in discovering, and working with first-time authors. THIS BODY WON’T BREAK is a fast-paced 72,000 word YA sci-fi which may appeal to fans of Rick Yancy’s The 5th Wave, and Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds.

In closing be sure to add your thanks for the agent’s time and consideration. Beneath your name is a great spot to add links to your social media accounts along with your contact information.

 

Now that you know what a query is, and more importantly, a query letter’s purpose, I have compiled a list of 10 Tips to make your query the best it can be

 

  • REFRAIN FROM BOASTING

Don’t say your book is the next best-seller. Do not, under any circumstances, boast about your own writing when querying agents. Let them decide for themselves.

  • ALWAYS FOLLOW SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

Read each individual agent’s (or publisher’s) submission guidelines before sending your query letter. Some will ask for you to enclose sample pages with your query letter. Others will ask for a synopsis along with your query. Some want the query to be formatted a certain way.

  • TELLING AGENTS YOU’VE SELF-PUBLISHED

Telling an agent you’ve self-published accomplishes nothing. But, if you’ve self-published and done VERY well with the work you’ve self-published, that’s a different story.

  • DON’T MAKE SHIT UP

It’s ok to be a debut author. It’s ok to not have a history in publishing. It’s ok if you’ve never met the agent at a conference before. Don’t make shit up, and don’t sugar-coat the truth either. If you are uncomfortable calling attention to the fact that you are a debut author in your query, then just don’t say anything at all.

  • ADDRESSING YOUR QUERY PROPERLY

Check, and then double-check the spelling of the agent’s name before you hit send. And under no circumstances do you address your query letter ‘Dear Agent’ or ‘Dear Editor’. This implies you haven’t taken the time to do your research, and if you don’t have the time to do your homework, why should they invest their time in you?

  • PERSONALIZE, PERSONALIZE, PERSONALIZE!

Check the agent’s profile on the agency’s website. Check their ‘Manuscript Wishlist’ if they have one. Check their profile on Publisher’s Marketplace. Check their Twitter. Maybe they like to read books with strong female protagonists, maybe they specialize in working with debut authors. Use it. Put it as the reason you’ve queried them within your query letter. It shows you’ve done your homework.

  • VAGUENESS AND THE CLICHE

Avoid being vague in your query. Avoid using cliches. Just don’t do it.

  • THE ESSENTIAL INFO

Don’t leave out any essential information! The query MUST contain your novel’s word count. It must also identify the genre of your novel (your target market). If the tag doesn’t include this information, the agent will likely pass because it means you don’t know how to identify where your novel fits in the market. Or maybe it means you have a huge word count and are afraid they’ll be put off by it. They won’t know why you didn’t include it, but they won’t stick around to find out.

  • CHECK, AND THEN DOUBLE CHECK FOR SPELLING AND GRAMMATICAL ERRORS

If you can’t perfect a half page of writing in the areas of spelling and grammar, what does this say about your ability to write a novel? Critique groups are great for this, among other problems. I have included some links at the bottom of this page to some websites and groups I’ve found useful.

  • SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

We live in a digital age. A big part of the publishing industry is moving towards digital. You have likely read a lot of about ‘Building an Author Platform,’ which I will cover in my next post. Regardless of what you may think, it IS important. It shows the agent you are serious about your writing, and about yourself in the industry. It shows you have taken the first steps in getting your name out there, and that you know a thing or two about self-promotion. Even if you only have a small following on Twitter or Instagram, or a simple author website, just showing you have made an effort makes all the difference.

  • DON’T GIVE UP

Send your queries out in small batches of 5-10. If you don’t get any bites, it means you need to rework your query. But don’t get discouraged.

The Twilight Series was rejected 14 times

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks was rejected 24 times

A Wrinkle in Time was rejected 26 times

Gone with The Wind was rejected 38 times

And now there are more agents, more publishers, more people to reject you. Jack London had a stack of rejections that was over 4 feet tall.

Don’t give up. The ones who persevere are the ones who publish.

Some websites I’ve found helpful during the querying process:

Absolutewrite.com/forums

Goodreads Groups

Publishers Marketplace

Manuscript Wishlist