Friday, July 15, 2011

The Query Letter

Sorry for my absence on Wednesday. This has been a busy week—I have started querying agents about my manuscript The Rose of Coracus! And part of that process is writing the dreaded query letter. How do you sum up years of hard work and revision and a 75k+ manuscript in 200 or so words? I don’t have answers. I don’t know if my query letter will get me an agent or not. I do know (excuse the cheesiness) that I’ve done my best and I’m trying hard and will keep trying hard until it works out. After all, “A published author is an amateur who didn’t quit.”* So, drum roll, here’s the letter that will hopefully set me down the path to publication:

Dear [agent],

Shayna won’t let anyone—from her parents to King Morader himself—tell her she can’t explore the city of Coracus just because she is Hilla, part of the hated ethnic group. She has been snubbed by merchants and even assaulted, but could always dance away her anger as the most admired performer in the bustling market square.

Growing up Prince Johnathan had obeyed when told never go near the Hilla. But the desire to know all of his future subjects leads him to see beyond the capital’s walls.

The passion in her dancing catches his eye; his chivalry helps her to trust him. Soon Johnathan is escaping the palace to dance with Shayna in smoky taverns and show her the world she couldn’t know as a Hilla. Even if those who see them disapprove—verbally and violently. They weren’t supposed to meet, let alone fall in love.

But when Shayna leads a Hilla rebellion demanding equal treatment and Johnathan joins her, the couple must choose: sacrifice their relationship so Johnathan maintains the crown and can one day secure rights for the Hilla, or stay together in an increasingly dangerous world.

The Rose of Coracus is a stand-alone 77k high fantasy young adult novel in the vein of Tamora Pierce and Kristin Cashore. It is envisioned as part of a non-sequential series with recurring characters.

By night I write and by day I’m an editorial assistant at Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins Publishers, so I am surrounded by children’s books nearly 24/7 and couldn’t be happier. [Sentence about why I’m querying particular agent.]

Thank you for your time and consideration. 


Laurel Symonds
[contact information]

And thanks to lovely author Jodi Meadows (Incarnate, Jan. 2012) for giving me feedback on the letter!

*Author and Lit. Agent Mandy Hubbard

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