Friday, January 7, 2011

An update, and the winning query.

Hey everyone. Everything with Michael is going swimmingly. We're working on edits for my manuscript, and we're expecting to go on submission by about February. We're also drawing up synposises for this book and for its sequel. Still all a little surreal, but I think it's finally starting to sink in.

So, I thought I'd show everyone the query that won my agent as well as the stats that got me there. This was probably the quickest querying experience I've ever had, which is good, as I'm impaitent as hell.

So, I wrote about eighteen queries in the search for the perfect query. And I'm not being witty, either, there was about eighteen complete queries written, not counting the ones I started and then abandoned. When I did send out my queries, I sent out five. This was mostly to test my query, see if I would get any bites, and if no agents responded to it, I would go back and rewrite it. UGH.

So I sent out five in the first day, at about nine am. (I did send another one a few hours later.) Michael was the first one I'd queried, because of his wonderful thread on absolutewrite here.

So, Michael responded to my query in a few hours. The rest a couple of days later. Out of the six queries, here are my stats:

Offer: 1
Partial request: 1
Rejections: 3
No response: 1

Of course, that no response could turn into something, but I'm not going to wait on pins and needles. Anyway, I recieved the partial request today, which I had to email them back and tell them I was sorry I couldn't send anything, as I've already accepted representation elsewhere.

Now, I know a lot of you are probably freaking out about the stats. This is NOT the norm. Most writers send out quite a few more before they get picked up. The books I've shopped around before this were brutalized with rejections and every once in a while, I would recieve a full or partial request. The only reason I'm still not querying for this is because Michael snatched me up really quickly, which I am very grateful for.

Now, the winning query:

Dear Mr. Michael Carr,

Eighteen-year-old Adam Fenn, heir to the Compound’s seat of power, is perfect. At least, he thought he was, until an assassin tears open his stomach and reveals he’s more metal than man.

In Adam’s world, perfection is everything, and the artificial organs that keep him alive mark him as anything but. Terrified he’ll be deemed imperfect and put to death, Adam flees the Compound’s Walls and embarks on a wayward journey to Heaven. He’s positive the power of Heaven can make him human—if it’s real. But the road is littered with dangers, including starvation, insanity, and the imperfect, who just may decide Adam’s more useful to them dead.

When Heaven starts to look like a lie and revolution stirs, Adam must free the Compound from his father’s tyrannical rule or let perfectionism destroy the new life he’s built for himself. But Adam’s not sure he can go back, because going back means facing his father—facing himself—and finally learning the truth behind the Compound, the Walls, and his family’s twisted past.

SHELL is a young adult dystopian novel complete at 93 000 words. I am interested in working with you because we spoke briefly on Absolute Write in your forum “Agent Q&A” and was very impressed that you would volunteer your time to help writers out. As per your guidelines, my first five pages are pasted below.

Thank you for your time and consideration, Mr. Carr. I hope to hear from you soon.


Katie Carson

Even though it won me my agent, I'm STILL not happy with it. Ever the writer's life, eh? I think the main reason it garnered interest is because my opening pages were posted with it, and I'm quite fond of them.

So, take from this what you will. Hopefully you'll all land yourself with your dream agents soon.

Happy querying!



  1. Hi there! Stumbled upon your blog while reading the Ask Agent thread on Absolute Write, and wanted to offer my congrats to you!! :)Best of luck to you with your edits and as you go out on submission! Can't wait to read more about your journey!

  2. That's a fantastic query, Katie, and again, I'm excited to see SHELL on the shelves. Congrats!!