Ask Daphne! About My Query — One That Worked!

December 31st, 2010

cowhide-thumb-200x217Happy Almost New Year, all! To ring in the new year, and celebrate the old, I wanted to share with you a query that worked — Rebecca Petruck’s query for her middle grade boy book, then entitled BLUE MOO, now to be known as A WEIRD KIND OF NORMAL. Enjoy!

Ms. Testerman,

I’ve been “attending” WriteOnCon the last few days and appreciated your frank and funny advice about query letters. I hope you will be interested in my middle grade novel, BLUE MOO.

BLUE MOO is a 56,000-word coming-of-age story set in the world of 4-H steer competitions. (I’m from Minnesota–we know cows.) It begins when eighth-graders Diggy Lawson and Wayne Schley discover they have the same father. BLUE MOO is the tale of how the boys go from being related to being brothers.

Diggy’s life may not be typical, but he’s content. He hangs out with Pop and the county’s farmers, raises steers to compete, and daydreams about July Johnston, high school senior and girl of his dreams. Hardly anyone teases him anymore about how his mom abandoned him on Pop’s doorstep and skipped town on a tractor.

Then Wayne gets dumped at Pop’s, too. Suddenly, Diggy has a half brother messing things up. Wayne rattles Diggy’s easy relationship with Pop, threatens his chances at the state fair, and horns in on his girl. Diggy believes family is everything, but he’s pretty sure Wayne doesn’t count.

The first ten pages of BLUE MOO won first place in the SCBWI Carolinas Writing Contest, judged by Sarah Shumway, Senior Editor at Katherine Tegan Books.

I am a graduate of the Creative Writing MFA program at UNC Wilmington, editor of the SCBWI Carolinas quarterly newsletter, and member of the NC Writer’s Network. My work has appeared in Our State magazine.

My professional background is in PR and marketing, having promoted new fiction and nonfiction authors with [redacted] and marketed magazines online for [redacted]. Additionally, I was president of my 4-H chapter in fifth grade. This is a multiple submission.

I look forward to hearing from you about BLUE MOO.

Sincerely,
Rebecca Petruck

Of course, the pages were also compelling, but the query had enough humor and heart to get me to read on, where I found even more of both.

May your New Year bring both to you as well, both in your queries and in your lives!

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