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Covers, Blurbs, 1st Line, Query > YA Fantasy Query Letter - Requesting Advice

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message 1: by Alana (new)

Alana | 13 comments Hey all,

I've crafted a query letter and would love some feedback. Please see below:

Dear [Agent Name],

Koyta Strongheart overcame all odds to get where she is today: her half-blood status, the doubt of her peers. Her moment of finally feeling normal in her element-wielding, Nature-protecting society shatters when her spirit wolf, Shen, is abducted from her in the night. Her leaders brand her as Unfinished--a god without power--and ignore her pleas that her power and spirit were stolen, not lost. But Koyta isn’t going to waste time listening to the apathetic Elders and she sets off on a seemingly futile quest to reclaim her wolf, her power, and her only way to belong. Koyta realizes that there is not just one bad apple within her people, but Nature Herself is crumbling into darkness across the land. And she must find strength in the human side of herself she’s always hated in order to untangle the threads of what is happening to her precious world and conquer the darkness.

OF THE DARKEST NATURE is a Young Adult Fantasy novel with series potential, complete at 178,000 words, which will appeal to readers of Lord of the Rings and Princess Mononoke.

[personalization to agent here OR at the top]

Despite living in the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles, I am drawn to the world of fantasy, and write about forests, mountains, and magic. When I am not with my dog, you can find me playing video games or getting punched in the face during boxing class. I maintain a writing blog along with a healthy living blog I co-run with my husband,

Thanks for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.


[my name]

message 2: by Keith (new)

Keith Oxenrider (mitakeet) | 1166 comments Probably not going to like this...

Your word count is almost certainly going to be a show-stopper for a debut author. Adult fantasy tops out at 120K while YA is much shorter (perhaps no more than 90K).

You don't make it clear that the first is stand-alone. While agents/publishers love the potential of a series, your first needs to be complete enough that readers will be satisfied if that's all they ever get.

Your blurb is a monolithic block and just that may cause agent's eyes to glaze over. What's wrong with the one from here:

You have comparables, which is good, but you picked ones that are too popular. You need to select something that sold well, but isn't a household name. Fun, eh?

It's good you already have an author web site, but the rest of your author information isn't likely to contribute. Think about it this way: whatever goes in your query has to be focused on selling your book. Is what you wrote likely to cause any book sales? If not, the query is not the place for it. If the agent asks for your MS and likes it, then is the time to get to know one another.

On the positive side, what you have is short, which is good, and I didn't notice any spelling/grammar issues. All that being said, something tuck in the back of your mind: essentially every successful query (e.g., got an MS request) violates the supposed requirements in one egregious way or another.

Good luck!

message 3: by Jean (new)

Jean Roberts | 18 comments I think you need to work on the query.

I had to re-read the first sentence several times to figure out what you are saying. I think the sentence needs to be written to make it clear what she overcame and where she is today. As written it sounds as if where she is today is: half-blood status etc. I assume that these are the obstacles that she has overcome.
So maybe write: K.S. overcame all odds, her half-blood status and the doubt of her peers, to get to where she is today.

Speaking of Today. Where is she today? Is today the day her wolf was abducted, the day she found out about the bad apples.....?

'Her moment', was that all it was, a brief moment?

Remove all adverbs from your query. If you use them for your query, I'd assume that you've used them in your writing.

The leap from finding out there's more than one bad apple, which makes the assumption that she knows that there was at least one, now there's two or more, to 'nature is crumbling into darkness' seems a bit of a stretch, kind of like saying "I knew we were out of milk but every grocery store in the world just disappeared.

Your last sentence is long and wordy; you might try to condense it and tighten up the writing.

The agent doesn't have to know exactly what you're talking about, but they shouldn't have to keep rereading your query to make sense of it.

This might seem picky but you only get one shot at an agent and they will use any excuse to scroll past your query.

message 4: by Alana (new)

Alana | 13 comments Thank you both for the great feedback! Much appreciated.

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