if it’s too difficult for grown-ups, write for children

Ask Daphne! About My Query XXV

louis-vuitton-fall-2009-1I have discovered photos of shoes from Fashion Weeks around the world (these ones are from last fall’s Louis Vuitton show in Paris), and think I can die a happy Daphne now. Although, if I tried to walk in these, I’d probably fall down. Which ties in nicely with C.L.N’s About MY Query for her novel “Fallen”:

Dear Daphne:

I offer for your perusal the completed 384 page manuscript of my young adult novel, Fallen. It blends the paranormal suspense of supernatural beings in the natural world with teen romantic elements and a twist of inspirational fiction. I believe it is marketable to readers of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series, Cassandra Clarke’s City of Bones and Libba Bray’s A Great and Terrible Beauty while offering something unique and relatable.

Abby Makana is torn; with the death of her confidante, her grandfather, and the slow decay of her family, she is spiritually lost and emotionally alone. When she begins her junior year, she is drawn to Seth Peters, a former childhood playmate and the friend she needs, and Gabe Daniels, the mysterious outcast. Bewildered by the combination of adolescent angst, the confusion of first love, and the onset of strange powers in her, Abby embarks on an emotional journey that tests her choices, risks everyone she loves, and helps her find the strength to stand on her own.

I am a literature and writing teacher and have worked closely with my target audience for over a decade. My writing credits include three short stories and a poem published in the writing anthologies, Strong Currents, Strong Currents II, and The Breakup Queen and Other Romantic Tales. I am currently working on a second title in the three book series, a companion book to Fallen called Broken. I look forward to doing all I can to make my dream of being a working writer to life.

Thank you for your time and consideration,


Minor points first: I’d focus less on the page count and more on the word count, and I’d cut the last two sentences from your penultimate paragraph.

But as for the meat of this query — it just doesn’t DO anything for me. Yes, paranormal romance and suspense is doing very well right now, but there’s nothing that feels unique and unputdownable about this novel. Are Seth and Gabe dueling supernatural creatures, like in Twilight? Is Abby from another, previously unknown world, a la City of Bones? Is there a historical element, as in Libba Bray’s trilogy? And if the answer is yes to any of the above, well then, what makes FALLEN different from these books? What makes it “unique”?

You use a lot of rather generic descriptions: “strange powers”, “supernatural beings”, “teen romantic elements”, “mysterious outcast.” Tell me something specific to your novel! What kind of powers? Who ARE these beings? What elements? Why is he an outcast?

Otherwise, as someone who gets hundreds of queries a week, I can tel you that this query is not going to stand out in a crowded market.

Maybe I’m just jaded. What do you guys think?

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