Hope everyone had a great Easter! We spend it with The Husband's family, which was a lot of fun. It's nice now that Small Son kind of gets the concept of Easter (well, not the religious aspects. Just the bunnies/chocolate/eggs part. So basically Small Son is Pagan right now. As are most toddlers, I think.)
On our way down to The Husband's Homeland, we stopped at a Burger King so that Small Son could get one of those new Spongebob toys they're giving away with their kids' meals right now. Small Son was very happy to get this new toy. Now, Small Son is big into gender all the sudden, which is apparently a normal part of the 3 year old thing. He's very into being a boy, and he loves that Daddy is a boy, too. I occasionally get shunned for being a girl, but whatever.
Anyway, with this gender stuff comes a hyped up interest in the, um, parts that make us boys or girls. Which is why, after he asked us if Spongebob was in fact a boy, he announced to everyone at the Greenville, Alabama Burger King that "Spongebob has a penis."
After we finished choking on our Diet Cokes, The Husband and I wondered if maybe it had NOT been the best idea to teach Small Son to use the appropriate words for things.
Oh well. At least we now have an Easter story that shall be retold FOREVER!
"It is Easter, dammit, now pretend to love Mama for the camera or no more chocolate!"
Okay, before I get to the "meat" of today's post, let's talk about Winning Some Stuff.
I love to Win Some Stuff. Don't you? But even MORE than Winning Some Stuff, I love to Give Away Some Stuff, and that is exactly what I'll be doing on April 22 (which is one week from today!)
So why will I be having an awesome giveaway on April 22? Because THAT, my friends, will be the ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF MY BOOK DEAL! I know! I can't believe it, either! One whole year, and still around ten more months to go. Insane.
So be sure to drop by on April 22, because the giveaway? It will be AWESOME. Details to come!
All of this reminiscing about last year has me thinking about my query letter, and the fact that I've never shown it on my blog! How can that be? Query letters are definitely a stressful thing for the aspiring writer, and I found that reading other writers successful queries was super helpful for me. I know there are all sorts of books and workshops out there for drafting the perfect query, but I HIGHLY recommend going to agent or author blogs and seeing what's there (and this should go without saying, but I'm saying it anyway: DO YOUR RESEARCH. Know the submission guidelines for the agents you query. And for the love of God, DON'T CC like 30 agents in one email. Not cool.)
Now, I may have mentioned before that my original query was quite sucktastic. It was written according to the specifications of one particular agent (who, in my defense, did request a partial. So I guess it worked for her!), but apparently that agent is weird, because holy hell weasel, did every other agent reject it in a nanosecond. Sadly I don't even have it anymore, due to its general heinousness.
After that letter started to rack up a few rejections, I started scouring agent blogs for other successful query letters. On Rachel Vater's blog- sadly, it's down right now-she did a whole series on the query letters her clients had sent her. One in particular, Caitlin Kittredge's, really struck me. It was clean, it was simple, and most importantly, it made me want to read the book.
One of the problems in my old query was that I had an entire paragraph trying to explain the themes and the deeper meaning of HEX HALL (then called TOO NEAR THE GLASS). But most agents don't want that. They want the plot, and the "hook."
I scrapped my crappy query, and wrote a new one based on the "formula" of Caitlin's. I sent it out as soon as it was done, and by the end of that day, I had my first request for a full. A few days after that, I had fabulous Agent Holly.
A good query letter isn't everything; you need to write an awesome BOOK, too, of course! ;-) But query letters are important, and I'm offering up mine, just in case it can help someone else the way Caitlin's helped me! (And of course, the title has changed, and the name of the school, and a few other things along the way...)
Dear Ms. Root,
Sophie Mercer thought being a teenage witch meant flying broomsticks, talking cats, and awesome spells. Instead, her mom still makes her ride the bus, she’s allergic to pet dander, and the one big spell she attempts at prom goes seriously bad-like, Carrie-levels of bad. As a result, Sophie is shipped off to Prentiss Academy, a boarding school for Witches, Shapeshifters, and Faeries. At Prentiss, Sophie discovers that the traumas of regular school have nothing on the goings-on at “Freak High,” what with the trio of Dark Witches who want Sophie to join their coven, her futile crush on Prentiss’s hottest Warlock, and her roommate, Jenna, who just happens to be Prentiss’s only Vampire. When members of Sophie’s coven are attacked, she finds herself trying to exonerate Jenna and solve the mystery, which might be more connected to Sophie than she ever could have guessed.
Completed at 60,000 words, Too Near the Glass is my first novel, and it would appeal to fans of Meg Cabot and Libba Bray. I have had several short stories published in my college literary magazine, and I am a high school English teacher. Currently, I’m working on the sequel to Too Near the Glass. I can be contacted by either email or phone. Thank you so much for your time and consideration. I hope to hear from you soon.