LATEST POSTS
February 16th, 2017

Today’s About My Query brought to you by Hilary Harwell!

Dear [Agent]:

I found your interview on […] and think you’ll enjoy my 63,000 word YA novel, Invisible Me. I did a developmental edit with agent Elizabeth Kracht from Kimberley Cameron and Associates to be sure it’s up to snuff. It’s about a girl who feels invisible in high school. Then her feeling becomes reality.

Ana loses her genius best friend, Isaac, to masked men who want the invisibility pill that he invented—and she just swallowed. She escapes but now must rescue Isaac. Getting help from the police is tricky since they’re after her, thinking she’s responsible for his disappearance. Her only hope for clearing her name is to find clues and track down Isaac herself. This gets complicated when she discovers a hidden love note from him. Her own feelings are unclear and become murkier by Ben Cody, a young police rookie she’s had a crush on for years. Why is he always the one to come looking for her? Is what she deciphered true—that she’ll become visible to those who fall in love with her? And if so, will Ben arrest her? Or will he help her in her mission, even if it means reuniting her with a romantic rival?

Invisible Me is the first in a planned trilogy with subsequent titles Invisible Us (in progress) and Invisible Them. The style of this book is similar to the Of Poseiden trilogy by Anna Banks but with a love triangle a lá The Hunger Games.

I’ve traditionally published two non-fiction books: 101 Tips for a Happier Marriage in 2013, which has three foreign translations, and 101 Tips for Marrying the Right Person, published this past October. I’ve done public speaking and twenty radio interviews nationwide. I’ve also written numerous articles, and I blog at parenting is funny.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Author

 

Dear Author,

First of all, thanks so much for volunteering your query for critique! I think you have a strong, nicely personalized opening here. It shows you’ve done your homework and are approaching the agent specifically, which always gets a closer look. My only suggestion here might be to perhaps include a quick line about why you felt your project might resonate based on the interview you read to take it one step further.

While it’s great that you’ve done a revision with a particular agent, I’d suggest leaving it out of your query. Agents are functioning under the assumption that you’ve edited and polished the project. Seeing this might also make me wonder why Elizabeth herself hasn’t scooped it up if you were working with her on a specific revision.

The opening line of the actual pitch has a bit too much going on, I’m afraid, and could use some paring down for the sake of clarity. Start with something clear and punchy to catch the agent’s attention. Moving on to the remainder of the pitch – I think overall your line-level writing here could use some tightening. For example, instead of ‘Getting help from the police is tricky…’, why not ‘She can’t go to the police’? It’s a stronger sentence and also creates a question in the reader’s mind, thus pulling them in.

The complications you introduce at the end of your pitch leave me feeling confused as to what the story is truly about. The pitch starts out with her friend getting kidnapped, leaving the reader assuming the story is about his rescue. Then it shifts gears to a possible love triangle and strong romantic element but doesn’t give us any idea about Isaac and his role throughout. My biggest suggestion overall is to nail down your plot here so it’s clear and easy to follow. What is the protagonist’s main goal, what is the main conflict, what are the stakes if she doesn’t succeed.

Just a couple final thoughts about your second to last paragraph that includes comps and trilogy information. It’s important for a debut author to be sure the first book in their planned series can stand alone. I’d suggest stating this outright in your query letter. Also, as far as comps go, I think one more strong comp that illustrates a world similar to yours or a plot similar to yours would really help paint a stronger picture in the agent’s mind of how the project can be pitched. The love triangle element as compared to the Hunger Games actually kind of reaffirmed my confusion about what the story is about, and comps should really help the agent gain clarity, not the opposite. 😉

Again, thank you so much for sharing your query with us. I hope you find my feedback useful!

Filed Under: About My Query, Ask Daphne!

ABOUT

Slightly shoe-obsessed YA and MG superagent Kate Testerman (aka Daphne Unfeasible) blogs about her books and authors, answers your questions, and talks about publishing industry gossip. , subscribe to this blog, or check out her Writer's Resources.

For more information about her About My Query posts, please click here.

News

A huge round of congratulations to Stefan Bachmann and all the contributing authors in the SLASHER GIRLS & MONSTER BOYS anthology!! The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) just named this book to the prestigious 2017 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults list for Best Horror.

“satisfying, disturbing horror for the modern YA audience” – Publishers Weekly

“Gross, creepy fun.” – Kirkus

“After encountering the horrors here, variously supernatural and disturbingly human, readers may want to leave the lights on.” – Horn Book

“This anthology of stories will scare, thrill, and terrify.” – VOYA

Check out the entire 2017 Popular Paperback list here!

Discover other creepy books by international bestselling author Stefan Bachmann on his website: www.stefanbachmann.com

Say hi and congratulations on twitter @Stefan_Bachmann

14 February 2017

News

Please help us congratulate author Gerald Brandt who has two books on the Locus bestseller list this month!

Gerald’s debut cyberpunk THE COURIER hit #4 on the paperback list and its sequel THE OPERATIVE hit #8 on the hardcover list. Very exciting!!

THE COURIER
Kris Ballard is a motorcycle courier. A nobody. Level 2 trash in a multi-level city that stretches from San Francisco to the Mexican border—a land where corporations make all the rules. A runaway since the age of fourteen, Kris struggled to set up her life, barely scraping by, working hard to make it without anyone’s help.

But a late day delivery changes everything when she walks in on the murder of one of her clients. Now she’s stuck with a mysterious package that everyone wants. It looks like the corporations want Kris gone, and are willing to go to almost any length to make it happen.

Hunted, scared, and alone, she retreats to the only place she knows she can hide: the Level 1 streets. Fleeing from people that seem to know her every move, she is rescued by Miller—a member of an underground resistance group—only to be pulled deeper into a world she doesn’t understand.

Together Kris and Miller barely manage to stay one step ahead of the corporate killers, but it’s only a matter of time until Miller’s resources and their luck run out….

“gritty near-future science fiction thriller” = Publishers Weekly on THE COURIER

Check out the San Angeles series on Gerald’s website: www.geraldbrandt.com
Say hi and congratulations on twitter @GeraldBrandt

13 February 2017

About My Query

It’s time for another About My Query!

Dear Agent,

Given your interest in romance and erotic literature, I wanted to contact you about my novel, Sex, Money and the Price of Truth, for which I’m currently seeking representation.

This erotic novel blends romance, suspense and a fascinating exploration of the power of secrets. It captures the current high level of interest in strong sexual content with fully developed characters and a riveting plot. <– resist the urge to tell us outright what the themes are, how riveting your plot may be, etc. These are things that should come through in your synopsis without needing to be explained.

The manuscript is complete at 82,000 words and can be provided, in whole or part, upon request. I deeply appreciate your time and attention. <– I generally prefer to see this information at the end of a query, before or after the bio.

Synopsis: <– you don’t need to title the separate components of your query

Lola and Aidan would have been the perfect match.

Except for the lie that brought them together: Dating her was a job, and not his first.

The two lines above are a great hook, but they can and should be one sentence, not two paragraphs: Lola and Aidan would have been the perfect match, if not for the lie that brought them together: dating her was a job, and not his first.

When a stunning man appears at her local coffee shop, Lola knows better than to engage him. Her romantic history is littered with men who were too good to be true. But Aidan deftly takes down her guard <– Don’t tell me that he does, tell me how he does leaving her with only one option – go out with him. 

The supposedly chance meeting quickly develops into a passionate affair, despite the secrets that hold them back. She wasn’t looking for love. He wasn’t supposed to find it. <– these are punchy lines but don’t actually tell us much about their supposed secrets. That’s a big part of your conflict, so make sure you don’t neglect that

Ominous dreams and unshakable desire fill Lola’s nights, as her fine-tuned intuition sends her messages she can’t ignore but can’t quite decipher. She is in danger, but from whom? <– Too vague. Tell us more about the deception. Give us concrete details. What is at stake, for her and for their relationship? Also, this suddenly feels paranormal to me. Is that the case? If not, careful with wording. If so, make it clear that psychic-ness is part of the package with her from the get-go, so I know what I’m getting into.

As the deception is revealed, so is the threat that puts more than just their relationship in jeopardy. Aidan and Lola are forced to confront the deceit in their pasts, as well as decide whether they are willing to pay the high price of truth. <–Again, too vague. Give me specifics. What must they overcome to be together?

Bio:

PK is an MIT-educated purveyor of self-awareness and glee who ditched her corporate career to follow a higher calling. Using spiritual principles, psychological methods and sexy stories, she can bring anyone back to life. When not rocking the stage and the page, she can be found loving her family to excess, globe-trotting to the next great adventure, and sporting bright red lips as a tango diva.

 

Thanks so much for submitting your query, PK! You’ve got some great stuff here. I like that you’ve taken keeping your synopsis short to heart, and that you have several hooks and punchy lines throughout.

As far as critique, one of the first thing that jumps out at me is the separation and titling of your your synopsis, and your bio. These do not need to be separated – a query letter, by nature, should flow into each of these elements naturally without needing to be titled or called out. The second big thing is that your bio should be condensed a bit, and should not be in third person – your query, while possessing elements of one, is not a book flap, it’s a cover letter.

Lastly, the query is a bit too vague on the details. Secrets are mentioned, but not what they are. Lola’s intuition is mentioned, but not whether it’s an actual psychic ability or just a good gut instinct. Deceit and a threat is mentioned, but not what the deceit and threats are. I don’t know the particulars of the plot, which is what I’m looking for besides voice in a query.

If you can chop that paragraph that tells us about the themes and plot, and flesh out the actual details of the plot more, I think you’ll be much closer.

I hope this has been useful!

–Hannah

10 February 2017

News

Yesterday, Riveted ran an exclusive press release announcing the cover for Margaret Rogerson‘s upcoming debut novel AN ENCHANTMENT OF RAVENS.

Congratulations Margaret!

From Riveted:
“An Enchantment of Ravens, a debut novel from Margaret Rogerson. Now, we’re pretty confident the unbelievably gorgeous cover art is going to be enough to get folks to pick this one up but you probably want to know what it’s about too, right? Here’s the gist: A skilled painter must stand up to the ancient power of the faerie courts—even as she falls in love with a faerie prince—with only her brush in hand. You want more already, right?!”

Read the entire announcement here!

Follow Margaret on her website: www.margaretrogerson.com
Say hi and congratulations on twitter @MarRogerson

5 February 2017

Sales

Congratulations to Kim Harrington, whose new three-book series with Sterling Children’s Books was announced today! The full announcement is in Publisher’s Weekly Children’s Bookshelf, or you can check it out below.

For more on the books, read on!

Available in August 2017: ATTACK OF THE NOT-SO-VIRTUAL MONSTERS

What happens when your cool virtual-reality game . . . becomes REAL?
Pokémon GO meets The Goonies in this action-packed middle-grade series.

Monsters Unleashed—where you catch virtual-reality monsters on your cellphone—is one of the hottest mobile games around, and Bex and Charlie just can’t stop playing. They even check out an old map in Charlie’s grandfather’s attic in hopes of discovering some forgotten places in town where the rarest monsters might hide. But they find a strange machine up there too, and after Charlie switches it on, the WiFi goes down . . . and Bex’s entire catalog of monsters vanishes! And that’s not the worst of it: all the creatures she’s collected on her phone escape into the real world. Can the friends nab the beasts before they become monster lunch?

Also available in August: CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE NERD KIND

First they took on monsters. Now they have to face ALIENS.
Come join Bex and Charlie on their second thrilling adventure in the GAMER SQUAD series!

After their scary adventure, Bex and Charlie have sworn never to play Monsters Unleashed again. Then Veratrum Games Corp releases a new AI game featuring aliens instead of monsters, and the best friends just can’t resist. After all, everyone loves it, even their science teacher, because it includes real star charts. But when they go to an observatory on a class trip, and open the game near a radio telescope, they get more than they bargained for: REAL aliens. One is sweet and kind; the other . . . not so much. Can Bex and Charlie capture the bad ET before it destroys their town?

And coming soon…

Monsters. Aliens. What’s next? Use your BRAINS and figure it out!
In their third exciting adventure, Bex and Charlie battle the living dead—ZOMBIES.

After all they’ve gone through, Bex and Charlie have no intention of playing the new zombie game that Veratrum Games Corp just released. But everyone else in town is hooked, and when a flu sweeps the school, turning teachers and students into the undead, it turns out that only non-players are immune. Now, Charlie and Bex have to find a way to save their friends and neighbors—and stop the company from unleashing more of their deadly games.

Kim Harrington is the author of the young adult novels Forget Me (Penguin/Speak), The Dead and Buried, Clarity, and Perception (Scholastic), as well as the middle-grade series Sleuth or Dare (Scholastic). She lives in Massachusetts with her family.

You can pre-order copies on Barnes & Noble or Amazon, or ask at your favorite local bookstore. And please join me in congratulating Kim on Twitter @Kim_Harrington!

2 February 2017

News

Happy Book Birthday to TO TAME A WILD LADY by USA Today bestselling author Ashlyn Macnamara!

TO TAME A WILD LADY is the second in Ashlyn’s Duke-Defying Daughters series and who couldn’t love that title? Read an excerpt here: Excerpt

“a pleasure to read!” – Lady With A Quill

“Ashlyn Macnamara brings all the elegance and romance of the Regency to life.”— New York Times bestselling author Tessa Dare

“rich in angst, humor, and history” – New York Times bestselling author Jennifer McQuiston

TO TAME A WILD LADY
He’s a roughhewn bastard. She’s a rebellious noblewoman. Their passion bridges the class divide in a scintillating novel of forbidden desire and raw sensuality from the USA Today bestselling author of To Lure a Proper Lady.

Lady Caroline Wilde is expected to ride sidesaddle, but she’s not about to embrace convention. She’s also expected to keep a chaste distance from men like Adrian Crosby, the new estate agent, yet she cannot cease her ogling—which is especially irksome considering their ongoing feud. Adrian insists that the fields must be planted; Caro needs those same fields to train her horses. But whenever she tries to put him in his place, Caro looks into his steely gaze and her words simply . . . disappear.

A bastard son who grew up on the Wyvern estate, Adrian was lucky enough to receive an education at the behest of the late marchioness. Now that he has set out on his own, Adrian knows better than to fall for Lady Caroline, the Duke of Sherrington’s daughter. Caroline is at once a thorn in his side and an exquisite temptation, especially when she’s playing the feisty daredevil. Adrian would give anything for a chance to tame her—and with Caro in the saddle, he just might get his wish.

Congratulations Ashlyn and happy reading everyone!

Check out Ashlyn’s other books online at her website: www.ashlynmacnamara.net
Say hi and congratulations on twitter @ashlyn_mac

31 January 2017

News

Congratulations to Elizabeth Briggs! FUTURE THREAT, her sequel to the New York Times bestselling YA novel FUTURE SHOCK, is already collecting a bounty of great trade reviews! Booklist says, “Elena’s PTSD and anxiety are poignant and chilling, bringing a realistic human element to the sci-fi world of time travel. Briggs incorporates suspense and thrilling adventure, creating a gripping sequel.”

And School Library Journal delivers this verdict, “Contemporary readers will be teleported with delight into this Back to the Future–esque spy thriller. Move this one to the “buy” pile.”

Finally, this just in! Kirkus praises the action as “well-executed”, and adds, “As for romance, Briggs raises the stakes in this entry, showing Elena and Adam exactly how beautiful their future could be if they fight for it. A quick and satisfying middle volume”!

Feel fr ee to show Liz some love on Twitter at @lizwrites, Facebook, Instagram, or, if you’ve had a chance to read the book already, leave a review on Goodreads or Amazon.

27 January 2017

News

Please help us congratulate Tiffany Reisz and Rebekah Crane on their nominations for the prestigious RT Reviewers’ Choice Best Book Awards!!!

THE BOURBON THIEF by Tiffany Reisz was nominated for RT Book Of The Year!

THE BOURBON THIEF was also nominated for Best Mainstream Fiction!

THE ODDS OF LOVING GROVER CLEVELAND by Rebekah Crane was nominated for Best Young Adult Contemporary!

ONE HOT DECEMBER by Tiffany Reisz was nominated for Best Series Romance!

RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards are given to the best books genre fiction has to offer!

Congratulations you two – this is such exciting news to share for these wonderful books!!!

Follow Tiffany online at: www.tiffanyreisz.com
And on twitter @tiffanyreisz

Follow Rebekah online at: www.rebekahcrane.com
And on twitter @RebekahCrane

25 January 2017

News

Congratulations to Gerald Brandt and Michael J. Martinez whose books made the prestigious Nebula Suggested Reading List!

Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America call the Nebulas an award for the “Best Stories.”

The suggested reading list isn’t an official nomination for the award – rather it’s a curated list of best SF/F stories from the year. Please check out the whole list here and happy reading to all!

Nebula Suggested Reading List

THE COURIER by Gerald Brandt
Kris Ballard is a motorcycle courier. A nobody. Level 2 trash in a multi-level city that stretches from San Francisco to the Mexican border—a land where corporations make all the rules. A runaway since the age of fourteen, Kris struggled to set up her life, barely scraping by, working hard to make it without anyone’s help.

But a late day delivery changes everything when she walks in on the murder of one of her clients. Now she’s stuck with a mysterious package that everyone wants. It looks like the corporations want Kris gone, and are willing to go to almost any length to make it happen.

Hunted, scared, and alone, she retreats to the only place she knows she can hide: the Level 1 streets. Fleeing from people that seem to know her every move, she is rescued by Miller—a member of an underground resistance group—only to be pulled deeper into a world she doesn’t understand.

Together Kris and Miller barely manage to stay one step ahead of the corporate killers, but it’s only a matter of time until Miller’s resources and their luck run out….

Follow Gerald online at: www.geraldbrandt.com
Say hi and congratulations on twitter @geraldbrandt

MJ-12: INCEPTION by Michael J. Martinez
A team of superhuman covert operatives emerges from the ashes of World War II in a Cold War-era paranormal espionage thriller from acclaimed genre-bender Michael J. Martinez.

It is a new world, stunned by the horrors that linger in the aftermath of total war. The United States and Soviet Union are squaring off in a different kind of conflict, one that’s fought in the shadows, where there are whispers of strange and mysterious developments. . .

Normal people across the United States have inexplicably gained paranormal abilities. A factory worker can heal the sick and injured. A schoolteacher bends emotions to her will. A car salesman alters matter with a simple touch. A former soldier speaks to the dying and gains their memories as they pass on.

They are the Variants, controlled by a secret government program called MAJESTIC-12 to open a new front in the Cold War.

From the deserts of Nevada to the palaces of Istanbul, the halls of power in Washington to the dark, oppressive streets of Prague, the Variants are thrown into a deadly game of shifting alliances. Amidst the seedy underbelly of nations, these once-ordinary Americans dropped in extraordinary circumstances will struggle to come to terms with their abilities as they fight to carve out a place for themselves in a world that may ultimately turn against them.

And as the MAJESTIC-12 program will soon discover, there are others out there like them, some with far more malevolent goals. . .

Follow Michael online at: www.MichaelJMartinez.net
Say hi and congratulations on twitter @mikemartinez72

17 January 2017

News

karsenaultrivera-605661-e1466528165140A huge round of congratulations to debut author K Arsenault Rivera and her TOR Books team – Entertainment Weekly announced THE TIGER’S DAUGHTER yesterday in an exclusive reveal!

Read the Entertainment Weekly article here!

Entertainment Weekly gave did a cover reveal and posted an excerpt of this book – the first in a Mongolian-inspired epic fantasy trilogy.

New York Times bestselling author V.E. Schwab calls the THE TIGER’S DAUGHTER, “simply exquisite” and Barnes & Noble has already called it one of the “2017 Fantasy Debuts We Can’t Wait To Read.”

Follow K’s debut journey by watching her website: www.karsenaultrivera.com
Say hi and congratulations on twitter @ArsenaultRivera

12 January 2017

News

MTDEbookA belated, but still heartfelt congratulations to Elizabeth Briggs on the publication yesterday of the final book in her Chasing the Dream romance series, MORE THAN DISTANCE!

She’s off-limits, but he’s the only one who can help her…

Carla Jackson has her life all mapped out, so when her plans fall apart she’s more lost than ever. A spot on the reality TV show Road Trip Race seems like the perfect escape, except she needs a partner. The only option is her brother’s best friend: the man she’s secretly loved forever and the last person she wants to be stuck in a car with.

Tech billionaire Ryan Evans has done everything he can to put his bitter past behind him. He’s avoided Carla ever since they shared a forbidden kiss six years ago, but when his best friend asks him to protect her on the show, he can’t refuse—even if the biggest threat to her heart might be himself.

As Carla and Ryan drive across the country while competing on the show, there’s no escaping the undeniable chemistry between them. But when they’re thrown off course, can they find their way home together?

Available now!

Also, a happy paperback release day to UNDERWATER by Marisa Reichardt!
QuoteAd-PWStar

11 January 2017

Sales

2016-12 KD Edwards headshot200A huge round of congratulations to debut author K.D. Edwards!

K.D. writes amazing high-action fantasy set in a unique Atlantis-inspired world. His debut book, THE TAROT ACCOUNTS, sold to Pyr at the end of 2016 in a two-book deal and today we get to celebrate the sale of both of those books to Audible!

From Publishers Marketplace:
Audio rights
Debut author K.D. Edwards’s THE TAROT ACCOUNTS, the first in an Atlantis-inspired fantasy series pitched as a gay Green Arrow set in a Westworld-esque world, about the remaining heir to an Atlantean throne and his best friend who are tricked into hunting for a missing scion, to Ryan Macgavin at Audible, in a nice deal, in a two-book deal, by Sara Megibow at kt literary.
Translation: rights@ktliterary.com

Congratulations K.D.! Here’s to many more subrights deals and excitement in 2017!

Follow K.D. on his website: www.kd-edwards.com
Say hi and congratulations on twitter @ked599999

11 January 2017

Events

PrintHappy New Year!

The KT Lit team is doing a lot of traveling in the first quarter of 2017 – come meet us!

Renee Nyen
Sisters in Crime Desert Sleuths Conference
www.desertsleuths.com
Scottsdale, AZ
January 18, 2017

Kate Testerman & Renee Nyen
ALA (American Library Association) Midwinter Conference
2017.alamidwinter.org
Atlanta, GA
January 20-24, 2017

Hannah Fergesen
San Diego Writers Conference
ces.sdsu.edu
San Diego, CA
January 20-22, 2017

Sara Megibow
Heart of Denver RWA Conference
www.hodr.com
Denver, CO
January 21, 2017

Sara Megibow
Tucson RWA
www.tucsonrwa.org
Tucson, AZ
January 28, 2017

Kate Testerman
WriteOnCon
writeoncon.org/
Online
February 3, 2017

Sara Megibow
Castle Rock Writers Conference
www.castlerockwriters.com
Castle Rock, CO
Feb 13, 2017

Sara Megibow
Colorado Writing School
www.coloradowritingschool.com
Louisville, CO
February 16, 2017

Sara Megibow
Emerald City ComicCon
www.emeraldcitycomiccon.com
Seattle, WA
March 2-5, 2017

Sara Megibow
Writers Digest Michigan Writing Workshop
www.michiganwritingworkshop.com
Detroit, MI
March 25, 2017

Kate Testerman
Bologna Book Fair
www.bookfair.bolognafiere.it
Bologna, Italy
April 3-6, 2017

5 January 2017

News

January: Title reveal

A photo posted by Stephanie Perkins (@naturallystephperkins) on

4 January 2017