ANYWAY - I (erica) won a contest and got an agent critique on my query letter. I didn't ask permission to post it and
First - this is my completed ms that I've queried and revised and now sent out a few more queries on. I have lots of different versions and have had fair success on partial requests along with a couple of fulls. You know the whole "query widely" idea that gets lots of talented authors their agents? Yeah, I believe that in theory. In reality, I can do about 3 rejections at a time. Hey, I'm a busy girl. :)
SO - here's what I sent (it wasn't my very latest version, but close). I'll redline some of the (paraphrased) advice I got. Hopefully she doesn't mind if I share her name - the agent who did my critique was Molly Jaffa from Folio Literary and while the following are some of her ideas, the words (even the redlines) are mine. Do with them what you will:
The last thing Kenz Grayson wants to do is switch high schools right before her senior year. Especially if it means going back to the town where she buried her family secrets (along with her father) seven years before. Unfortunately, that's exactly what her mom's making her do. Why oh why is she making her do it? Be more specific, erica! With little hope for the year ahead, she goes, and watches another chapter of her life close behind her. yeah, duh, we already know that. cut this sentence.
Things change when Kenz meets Lincoln James. Even after she's warned that he's a total serial dater, she finds him irresistible. Why? Pretty much every YA romance has an irresistible guy in it. How is mine different? It doesn't take long before they're not only dating, but almost inseparable. Except that's when Kenz starts noticing just how many things are blocking her way to becoming happy again. Then again, with a car accident that almost kills her mom, a sexual abuse allegation against Lincoln, and the truth behind a super-secret surgery in his past--she has a lot to worry about. She didn't like my list. Some of this should maybe go in the beginning as the hook.
Kenz is well known for choosing flight over fight. This isn't evident in the rest of the query, so why bring it up now? I need to explain it better at the beginning before throwing this is there. This time, she's determined to take a stand, even if it's against herself. While I love this line, I'm getting that other people don't know what it means. Be more specific.
A NEW DAY is a YA contemporary romance, complete at 64,000 words. It will appeal to readers who also enjoy books such as The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen and The Book of Luke by Jenny O'Connell. Okay, so this shows where my book would be shelved, but it was pointed out that these books are a few years old and I should bring up some newer ones in my comps. *sigh* *I love these books*
Note: She said that my query could go a long way with some agents simply because it was well-researched. So remember, just like in elementary school - neatness counts. Use paragraphs, vary your sentence lengths, use comparable titles, and personalize it to the agent your sending to. Good luck everyone! And don't get sick from all the candy!!