The winner of the audio version of Jerry Spinelli’s THE WARDEN’S DAUGHTER is Stephanie Jordan – Congratulations!
Since I know so many of you are busy working on your query letters, I thought this information from Pub(lishing) Crawl might help you to write a good query before you send it out.
Tips for Best Query Practices
- Emotional distance from your work is best (we know this is hard!)
- Don’t go too broad; the more specific the better
- You don’t need to include absolutely everything about your book in your query—just enough to entice the agent into wanting more
- The shorter, the better: sweet spot is 250 to 400 words
- Let your story speak for itself; don’t talk about your book (show, don’t tell!)
- Try to limit the number of characters you’re naming in your query (they generally say no more than 3): the protagonist, the antagonist, major ancillary character
- Also, you may write a flawless query, but the agent may still pass because it’s simply not their taste
SETUP: A brief “laying of the scene”: setting, premise, etc. The “status quo”, as it were.
INCITING INCIDENT: A disruption of the status quo (e.g. a stranger comes to town)
CONSEQUENCES OF INCITING INCIDENT: How the world has changed after the Inciting Incident
THE MOMENT THE PROTAGONIST BECOMES PERSONALLY INVOLVED: What it says on the tin
The SETUP but when INCITING INCIDENT happens CONSEQUENCES OF INCITING INCIDENT occur, so then THE PROTAGONIST BECOMES PERSONALLY INVOLVED.
All of this together gets across what the stakes are, and that’s what generates tension and interest in a story.
Hope this helps!