Ask Daphne! About My Query L

ghostshoeOMG, guys, I misnumbered all of the AMQ posts in the 40s. They should have been “XLwhatever” instead of “XXXXwhatever.” Will the ancient Romans ever forgive me? Anyway, on to today’s back-to-normal AMQ post, with ghost shoes.

Dear Daphne Unfeasible,

I am writing to you to consider my 80,000 word young adult novel, GHASTLY NIGHTMARES because of your interest in YA fiction and impeccable taste in shoes.

When Lily Fowler wakes up in her coffin in the tiny town of Ostrander, Minnesota as a ghost and is told she is now a mix of electromagnetic fields, belief, and soul, she panics and immediately takes the fastest route home. Unfortunately, this means sprinting straight through a political rally in a parking garage full of ghosts, poltergeists, and boggarts, causing their first impression of her to be somewhat on the negative side. This impression strengthens when they find she still spends time with Jake, her next door neighbor who believes in ghosts.

To top things off, she is arrested for breaking and entering her own home by two bumbling idiots, and sentenced to a year of work in a corporeality research lab and with a local political campaign. When Lily finds herself linked to a person who has recently been killed, and then attacked by someone with an axe while she is trying to go bungee jumping with her best friend Jake, she must find a way to balance finding out who is trying to frame her as a criminal and why, doing all the things she never got to do while she was alive, and quashing a burgeoning crush on Jake, the only person who has always stood by her.

This is my first novel.

Thanks for your time,
N.N.

In the case of this query, I almost want to know more about the WORLD that the book is set in, and a little less about what happens. I mean, it seems like ghosts in this world are vastly different that the accepted understanding of what that term means. Plus, there’s a whole bureaucracy about the afterlife, or so it seems. Who tells Lily that she’s a ghost, after all? What does a bad first impression with a “parking garage full of ghosts, poltergeists, and boggarts” mean for her? Who are the “two bumbling idiots” that arrest her?

N.N., I have no doubt that you KNOW all of this, but I think the query could use a few more clues.

With that said, I think Lily as a character is a little short-sheeted as well. We get that she “panics” when she’s first told she’s ghost, but beyond that, we have no sense of how she reacts to her new circumstances, and what she feels. How does Lily take it that Jake can still see her? What does that mean to her, and by extension, how will your reader feel about their relationship?

Going back to the format of the query, I’d love to know a little bit more about you. Even if you don’t have any publishing credits to include, I think most agents are always happy to get a short bio from the authors querying them.

Readers, what do you think?

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