Children’s writer’s query letter

April 14, 2008 at 2:08 pm Leave a comment

Last night, during my critique group, we analyzed two member’s queries.  One was a picture book query and the other, a middle grade novel.  One theme became evident: Before you send your query out, besides the obvious grammatical and spell check fine-toothing, make sure your book description sounds like a book jacket blurb.  Show you know, not only what constitutes strong marketing skills and tension-filled paraphrasing, but also what hooks an editor to want to read more.  This will rise your query above the chaffe and reveal you as a seasoned professional, whether you are or not.  An excerpt woven into your plot description doesn’t hurt, either– something like …Just as Billy sank into exhausted sleep, sandwiched between two quilts from the bed, he heard a flapping outside the window.  As he pulled up the window shade, a shadow winged past in the darkness.  Then, his father’s voice: ‘I did nothing wrong, nothing wrong.  Always remember.’ Billy bolted up, belly twisting, nose burning from the urine smell.  As “mistai” the owl, had his father come to him in a dream?  Or, was the ghost his father? (Excerpt from query for “Ghost Over Boulder Creek”– a middle grade history/mystery.)

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