Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Queries, Agents and Publishers

I was recently asked about queries and that brought back all kinds of bad memories! Querying agents has got to be every author's worse nightmare. Writers are artists and as such are whimsical not marketers. But we are a large bunch and clog up agent's inboxes and publishers with our creations. So to be able to put out creations out there, we have to polish our business side.

I was lucky in the sense that I went through the process of sending queries with one of my good friends Naomi De la Torre www.organicmotherhoodwithcoolwhip.com

Having a buddy who understands and is ready to hear you rant or watch you bounce off the with excitement is, in my opinion, essential! It keeps you motivated and focused.

Like so many people who are trying to get their book under the right pair of eyes, I did a lot of research on how to write a good query. I wrote and re-wrote it more times than I can count, but in the end I settled on this one.

I'm sharing it now because I loved reading the queries that others were writing, and I found that the most helpful blogs were the ones that had sample queries on them.

With this said I have to add: I don't think my query was particularly good.
In fact I don't really know what a good query is. I read so many queries that I found confusing and uninteresting that had managed to get an agent's attention, that in the end I was led to believe that a lot is hinged on whether the agent's bean burrito was good or not. Or if their skim mocha cappuccino was particularly hot at that moment or not.

So I'm not going to pretend like I can give you any advice, other than...Buena Suerte! and Valla con Dios!

Query for VEILED (draft # 426)

Silvina B. Niccum

My address
My e-mail
My phone #

July 19, 2010

Agent’s Address

Dear Ms. ________:

“I have always existed, not just me but all of us, the un-embodied spirits who wait to live.”

VEILED is the first of a proposed three part fantasy about Tess, and the evolution of her soul. Tess is an unborn spirit, who is about to embark on a much awaited journey into mortality to a brand new planet called Earth. She is chosen by the Eternals for an important mission, and is put under a rigorous training, which exposes her to some of her darkest fears and insecurities. These experiences, however, enhance her gift as a discerner of thoughts and reader of auras—thus helping her become one of Heaven’s most powerful angels.

But even angels falter, and deep inside her a gnawing fear is growing. Will she meet her soul mate in life? Will their love be strong enough to overcome the forgetting effects of the Veil? And, is she prepared to take on the responsibility of keeping the most dangerous renegade and leader of the Fallen Angels at bay during mortality?

In this 107,000 word YA fantasy, the supernatural, the spiritual, mortal, and the out-of-this-world intermingle quite naturally as twelve feet tall Cherubs with feathered wings and half-lion, half-human Seraphs take center stage as the superhero watchdogs of the universe. With a good moral and uplifting message about the never ending quest of finding oneself and that one true love—VEILED will capture the interest of “Ghost Whisperer” fans and C.S. Lewis’ “Chronicles of Narnia” readers alike.

I was born and raised in Argentina and at the age of fourteen, my family moved to the United States. I later attended the University of Utah where I studied Spanish Literature. I now live in Dallas, Texas with my husband, and am a proud homeschooling, yoga stretching, treadmill running, 6 a.m. writing mother of three. I am also a member of the Writers’ Guild of Texas.

I appreciate the time you have taken to read my query and would be delighted if you were interested in representing me before a publisher. This is a simultaneous submission. Sample chapters and a full manuscript will be provided upon request. Please feel free to call me at _______ or ____________.

Silvina B. Niccum


  1. I am curious to know what queries are? I did self publishing for my first three books, but as my story continues, I am working on my final book of two and wondered if you had any input on getting a publisher as well. Let me know,
    sincerely, Cathy

  2. If you want to be published through a publisher you have to either query an agent or query a publisher directly. To go straight to a publisher you usually have to know someone who can patch you in or look on the publisher's web site and see if they accept unsolicited queries.
    Good Luck!!!

  3. Just read your post over at Naomi's. I'm so glad to find some writer's advice! I've tried to get a children's book published (unsuccessfully), but a query for picture books is WAY different than a query for a novel. Of course I haven't written the novel yet. I guess that's step #1. ;)

    Congratulations on your book, and I can't wait to read more about your publishing process!

  4. Thanks for sharing this! I'm just going through this process - and real life examples are EXTREMELY helpful. Loved your gp on Naomi's blog!

  5. I am so happy that Naomi pointed me here. I am bookmarking this.

    Thank you, and lovely to meet you.

  6. Glad I could help. Good luck you guys!

  7. This is so helpful. I'm with The Empress. You are now officially "bookmarked."

  8. Thanks!!! I know this would have been helpful to me back then too.