-Personal introduction.* Explain why you are querying this particular agent. You chose him/her for a reason. I know it’s been said many times, but I’m just going to repeat it: don’t forget to spell your agent’s name correctly!**
-Keep your pitch as short and concise as possible. Show why your book is differerent from others. Don’t be vague. “She discovers a horrible secret” – what secret? If what you're writing in you're pitch isn't part of your main plot line, it doesn't need to be in your query, either. Don’t give away the ending. End with a punchline.
-Include a short bio. If you have no previous writing experience, don’t sweat it. I didn’t have anything writing-related to mention, either. In my query, I added a little bit of information about myself that shows why I am the best person to write this story, because storm chasing is… not your everyday-kind-of-hobby.
-Follow submission guidelines! In my case, Kelly favorited my pitch during #DVpit, and immediately asked for a full plus a synopsis.
-Include social media links. My signature for querying consisted of my website, my Twitter and my Facebook, along with my phone number.
* = Because Kelly favorited my tweet during #DVpit, that’s what I referred to. If I had queried her ‘the normal way’, I would’ve found something in her bio, interviews or tweets that related to my story, and used that.
** = Making mistakes is human. For my first book, I queried Maria Vicente, and for months (compiling my agent list took this long!), I was convinced her name was Vincente, and my brain was wired that way. I checked, and checked, and checked again. I. Just. Didn’t. Realize. It wasn’t until weeks after sending my query, I read the agency website again, and suddenly things clicked. Oops.
To add to this post, I’d like to share my query for Under The Dark Clouds.
Thank you so much for your interest in my pitch during #DVpit, “17yo storm chaser didn’t think saving drunk runaway from tornado would lead to dealing w/loss of family—or falling for her.” My YA contemporary Under The Dark Clouds is set around storm chasing in the USA, and complete at 67,000 words.
Sick and tired of being the unwanted child, and gay in a family where it’s not accepted, sixteen-year-old Flower runs away with nothing but a backpack and two bottles of liquor. Seventeen-year-old storm chaser April saves her from an approaching tornado and offers her to tag along and escape reality—a chance Flower gladly accepts. As the girls grow closer while chasing storms, Flower hides her growing affection for April, and soon discovers her new friend has secrets of her own: she’s running away from her family’s death—pushing her aunt away, the only living relative she has left. When they both realize the only way to move on with their lives is to make amends with their families, they set out to do so, but Mother Nature has different things in store. Welcome to Tornado Alley…
Growing up in the Netherlands, I could be found outside watching the weather with my dad from an early age, especially in the summer when thunderstorms formed. Nowadays, I live in the United Kingdom and work as an account manager. In my free time, I’m working on my next YA book, am an intern with Glass House Press, and when weather permits, I chase storms—a hobby that is as crazy as it sounds.
As per your request, I have pasted the synopsis below and attached the full manuscript.
Thank you for your time and consideration.