Mar 28, 2009

Query - The kitty who lost her purr

Dear wise and powerful agent,

The little kitty named Buttons has lost her purr. She has not purred since she left the pet shelter, and she misses her purr very much. Buttons looks all over her new sunny room, trying to find her purr. She eats yummy food, takes a comfy nap and leaps on a toy mouse, but nothing helps her find her purr again.

The Little Kitty Who Lost Her Purr is the story of how Buttons finally finds her purr through the warm and loving companionship of a young girl. It is a 900 word picture book that will appeal to readers aged 2-5.

Through my research of agencies, I found that the "wise and powerful" agency is highly respected in the industry. I chose to submit to you specifically because you stated in your bio that you love picture books that are real and storytime-ready, so The Little Kitty Who Lost her Purr would be a good fit.

I am not previously published; this is my first book for children.

As requested, the full text of the picture book is pasted below.

Thank you for taking the time to consider representing my work. I look forward to hearing from you.




Belinda Frisch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah Garrigues said...

I have two large comments:

A) I think you do a fair job of telling me what happens in the story, but not so much showing me [see for a great description of the difference ].

The query offers me a list of what Buttons does to try and find her purr, but I don't really get a sense of the voice in the story. In other words, I don't feel as though I know Buttons. As much as you need to endear Buttons to children in your manuscript, you need to make her come alive in your query, so that potential agents will fall in love with her, too.

Rick has posted a great query example by a published author under the blog label 'successful query' [see ]. In that query, you should see what I mean by the voice of the query.

B) I feel you rush right past what is the most important part of your story, 'the warm and loving companionship of a young girl' that revives Button's purr. This is what you should spend a little more time on in your query. Don't just tease the agent with this--develop it.

Now for a few more minor points:

1) I would suggest removing 'little' from your title and rewrite the first sentence of the query to read simply 'Buttons has lost her purr.' [See Editorial Anonymous' post on the use of adjectives like 'little' in picture books at ].

2) In your third paragraph, I would delete the phrase 'so The Little Kitty Who Lost her Purr would be a good fit.' Let the agent determine if you are a good fit or not.

3) For your bio paragraph, consider something like, 'Although I am not previously published, I am a member of SCBWI (only list this if you are).' [For info on SCBWI, see]. Another option would be move this information to the end of the second paragraph, as follows: 'This 900-word picture book, my first, will appeal to readers aged 2-5.'

4) Group your final sentences into one paragraph and edit it to read: 'Per your submission quidelines, the full text of the picture book is pasted below. Thank you for your consideration and time.'

I know critiques can be painful. I, myself, am undergoing the same process (see my blog at: ).

Happy revising!


Sarah Garrigues said...

I found one more link that may be useful to you. Editorial Anonymous, a children's book editor, recently posted on what to include in the author's bio section. There's lots of great ideas there to help you beef up that paragraph.

Mira said...

Sarah, this is not painful, it's really helpful. Thanks for taking so much time with this, and for posting all of the links. Very helpful advice. I love the way you handled not being published by just including it in the 2nd paragraph.

Belinda - I know. There may be a problem with the story. I didn't want to represent the kitty as being ripped from her mother, but I'm not sure why she found the shelter so safe. A particular caretaker is a great idea.

This was really helpful - thanks!

Anonymous said...

My thought is that 900 words is a lot for ages 2-5. I teach preschool aged children and they prefer to read along with pages that turn quicker. Honestly, 90 pages is far more appropriate.

Also, the query is ok, except maybe the part where you mention researching agents (that sounded kindof gratuitous), and how you think it'd be a good fit. That's understood when you query the agent. Mostly, I'm not sure there's much to the story here. Maybe there is, and you need to write about it more in the query.

Good luck, Author!

Anonymous said...

Aw geez. I meant to say that 90 WORDS would be more appropriate. Better work on MY writing skills now.