Over the three years I spent querying agents, I pored over a lot of sample queries, especially those of published books, looking for that magic pitch formula that would get me requests. I wrote and rewrote my queries, got lots of feedback, fine-tuned and despaired. Eventually, I wrote one that did the trick. In case it will be helpful to other writers, I’m sharing my successful query for GHOST WOOD SONG.
Dear Amazing Agent,
When her daddy died in a car crash, sixteen-year-old Shady Grove Crawford thought he took his ghost-raising fiddle with him. Now, with the pine woods outside her trailer filling with eerie bluegrass music and restless spirits, Shady is certain Daddy’s fiddle is calling to her from beyond the grave.
Then her brother is arrested for murder, and Shady knows she must find the fiddle to prove his innocence and discover the real killer. She forms a bluegrass band with her secret crush Sarah and a rodeo boy who’s trying to swagger his way into her heart. Together, they set out to raise the dead. But instead of finding the truth, Shady conjures up the shadow man, the vengeful spirit that destroyed Daddy’s life and has now laid claim to hers.
To free herself from its deadly grip, Shady must unearth the fiddle’s dark origins and uproot the shameful past Daddy tried so hard to hide. If she doesn’t, her brother will go to prison and Shady will follow her daddy to an early grave.
GHOST WOOD SONG is a YA Contemporary Fantasy, complete at 71,000 words. Jeff Zentner’s THE SERPENT KING meets Maggie Stiefvater’s THE RAVEN BOYS. The novel was showcased in the 2017 Pitch Wars contest.
Like Shady, I grew up in the pine woods of rural Florida but now reside in Nashville, TN, where I’ve learned to love bluegrass music and have even started learning banjo. I have a Master’s degree in English and teach writing courses at a small liberal arts college. Previously, I worked as a content editor for an educational company.
The first ten pages are included below. The full manuscript and a synopsis are available upon request. Thank you so much for your time and consideration.
Thank you for sharing this query with us! Not only do we feel empathy for the MC right away, but there are so many layers of conflict described here that pulls the reader in. It’s so well-written and this book sounds fascinating and unique! I can’t wait to read it, hopefully soon!
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Thank you, Kimberly! 🙂
Your query letter is beautiful. I’ve written mine about 12 times in the past year and can’t seem to get it right. Are you taking on new writers who need mentors? Because after reading your wishlist above- I think you would love mine! I hope- it’s a YA contemporary fantasy with beautiful, killer elves, super senses, and hot warriors and stuff… 🙂 I’d love a look at my query or first 10 pages. Do you offer services or know of someone else who would be a good fit?
Hi, Lenore. I’m pretty swamped with PitchWars at the moment, but I can recommend a few services. I’ve used Naomi Hughes before and she’s great: naomiedits.com. You might also try Adalyn Grace: https://adalyngraceauthor.com/editorial-services/. Good luck with your querying!
Thank you so much!
I left a comment, but then I couldn’t remember my password to post the comment, so I don’t know if it posted. Lol. Sorry if this is a duplicate comment. But I just wanted to thank you for posting your query! I’m in the middle of the querying trenches with my YA, and I plan on changing my query up next week. This is very helpful!
Also, I finished reading GHOST WOOD SONG and loved it!
Dawn, I’m so glad the query post was helpful. Good luck with your search for an agent!
And thanks so much for reading GWS and letting me know you enjoyed it! 🙂