Mar 4, 2010

Query - The Ice King

Dear Agent,


I am writing to you because I just finished my first novel and I am hoping you will represent me.


My manuscript, The Ice King, is the first novel in a young adult series entitled The Chosen that I am in the process of writing. The Ice King, will take the reader on a magical adventure alongside characters such as: a child-king, a fairy princess, and a powerful shapeshifter. My novel is 75,000 words in its completed form and is similar to the writings of Cornelia Funke.

Joshua never expected that his world would be turned upside down by the arrival of an uninvited guest lingering outside his bedchamber window. A small fairy princess, boiling over with pride, demands entrance into his chambers. She tells him he must leave immediately with her and he has no choice. She has an unexpected surprise when a powerful immortal walks in. A shapeshifter, disguised as his nanny, has been protecting him and waiting for him to come of age so she can reveal who he truly is and what he is destined to become. Something has gone terribly wrong in the Ice Kingdom, causing the Ice King to freeze all the realms. A journey to meet the Oracles, sends Joshua on a quest to realms he never knew existed, and begins a destiny he will find hard to accept.

Thank you again for taking the time to read this. I hope to hear from you soon.


Sincerely,


Angela Brown

8 comments:

Suzan Harden said...

Hi Angela,

The Ice King sounds like a fun fairy tale. Just a few things to think abour in your query:

1) Your intro line needs to be altered. Say why you're querying this person (EX. I told One Agent that Janet Reid sang her praises, and I was happy to learn One Agent represent urban fantasy.) If you can't be that specific, don't sweat it.

2) Leave out this is your first novel. IT DOESN'T MATTER! Honestly, it doesn't. All the agent cares about is the book you're pitching here and now and whether it's any good.

3) For the query itself, you need to be more specific. Are the fairy princess and the shapeshifter enemies? What connection does Joshua have with the Ice King? What's so important about Joshua that he must undertake a quest? What destiny does Joshua find hard to accept?

I know that's a lot to cram into 250 words. The best advice I was given is to start with the who, what, when, where and why.

Best wishes on your submissions!

Rachel Bateman said...

I agree with Suzan.

Don't mention this is your first novel. Also, don't mention that you just finished it. For you that might mean "I just finished my 18th round of revisions and polished this manuscript until is gleams," but most agents will read "this is a first draft."

I also wouldn't mention that it is the first in a series. Something along the lines of "THE ICE KING is a 70,000 word YA fantasy. It is a standalone novel with series potential." (THE ICE KING can stand alone, right? Make sure it can.)

The big paragraph describing the plot: I suggest you break it into smaller paragraphs. It is easy to get lost in one block of text like that. Also, this seems like it is mostly set up, or a summary of a single scene. Tell us what happens in the book. Who is the main character, what does he have to do, and what does he stand to lose if he fails?

More nitpicky things:

Entitled and Titled do not mean the same thing. It should be young adult series TITLED The Chosen (though, again, I suggest leaving this out completely). Also, nix the colon between "such as" and "a child-king"; it is unnecessary and interrupts the flow of the writing.

THE ICE KING sounds like a fun story. Best of luck finding an agent!

ali said...

Hi Angela! Your story sounds like it could be really great!

I'll tell you what I'd want to know, if I were an agent you sent this query to:

First of all, lead with your hook. What's your number one reason why I should keep reading your letter? Give me a one-line absolutely awesome summary of your book.

Then tell me, super concise, what your story is about. You'll need to leave out some of the details you currently have in your middle paragraph, because it's a tad confusing. Stick to the major theme of your book, the one that relates to your super-awesome hook.

Next, tell me what kind of book this is. Is it a middle grade fantasy? An adult fantasy? At this point, I'm not sure. I'm *guessing* it's middle grade (which is super awesome because boys need more great books.)

Don't tell me that this is your first book, or that you "just finished it." Just finished makes it sound like you just typed in the last line and said "it's good to go!" It leaves out all the hard work you've put in of revising and editing.

Similarly, don't say "it's 75K words in its current form," just because that, added to the previous statement about just finishing implies you may tweek it more and it could change. It says you're not finished with it.

I'd also leave out the part about it being a series. There's no industry standard on whether or not you should mention that your book is a series, but from what I've read I think it's best if you go with the adage "when in doubt, leave it out."

I also really recommend you check out elanajohnson.com. She's a query guru and has a ton of help for queries both in her ebook, but on her blog (free!) as well.

Good luck Angela! ♥

jason a Myers said...

Hey there!
A couple of questions, and suggestions. I hope they are helpful to you ! :-)


I am writing to you because I just finished my first novel and I am hoping you will represent me. Leave off the first novel and the "just finished" They want to think you finished it like 6 months ago and have polished it!


My manuscript, The Ice King, is the first novel in a young adult series entitled The Chosen that I am in the process of writing. This sentence is clunky. You can take off the "that I am in the process of writing." You're only selling one book.


The Ice King, will take the reader on a magical adventure alongside characters such as: a child-king, a fairy princess, and a powerful shapeshifter. My novel is 75,000 words in its completed form and is similar to the writings of Cornelia Funke. Move this to bottom below the Joshua never expected paragraph.

Joshua never expected that his world would be turned upside down by the arrival of an uninvited guest lingering outside his bedchamber window. A small fairy princess, boiling over with pride, demands entrance into his chambers. She tells him he must leave immediately with her and he has no choice. She has an unexpected surprise when a powerful immortal walks in. A shapeshifter, disguised as his nanny, has been protecting him and waiting for him to come of age so she can reveal who he truly is and what he is destined to become. Something has gone terribly wrong in the Ice Kingdom, causing the Ice King to freeze all the realms. A journey to meet the Oracles, sends Joshua on a quest to realms he never knew existed, and begins a destiny he will find hard to accept.
Hmmm...This paragraph doesn't bowl me over. Seems like there's a lot of fluff, but not much substance. What challenges does he overcome? What decisions does he make? Could you put the first two sentences together? Joshua's world is turned upside down by the arrival of a fairy princess lingering outside his window... Also, What's his life like now? Why should I care about him as a character? You probably know why, since you wrote the story, but it's not coming across here. This somethingt that has gone terribly wrong, has it already happened? Is it happening now? It's vague, so I have to wonder if Joshua's living in a frozen world. I suppose this is a "start in the real world-go to the fantasy world" story, right? That's what's missing.

Good luck!!! Hope that was helpful!!

Shelley Sly said...

Hi Angela,

I agree with the other posts above.

It sounds like you have a very fun, magical story. However, I think you can change the format for easier reading. I would rewrite the query in the following (or similar) structure:

Dear Agent,

(First paragraph with Hook. As Ali said, a one-line summary of the most interesting, intriguing, important part of your book. Then add supporting details.)

(Second paragraph with more about the main plot. The part about Joshua finding the small fairy princess outside his window could fit here.)

(Third paragraph of what's at stake and what Joshua's main conflict is. The part about Joshua going on a journey to meet the Oracles could go here.)

(Then something like:) THE ICE KING is a 75,000-word young adult novel similar to the writings of Cornelia Funke.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Angela Brown


I know reformatting mixes things up a bit, but following this guideline might help tighten the query. Love the premise of the book, very interesting. Best of luck!

Emily said...

As stated before, capitalize title (I made the same mistake on my query) and cut out the "just finished." That is the death stroke to the query.

In paragraph 2 the sentence "will take the reader" cut this. Don't TELL what the book WILL do, SHOW what the book DOES.

In paragraph 3 cut the part "outside his bedchamber window." Also, you have some redundancies. "he must leave with her and he has no choice" Redundant. "an unexpected surprise" Redundant.

I think you need to go over this query carefully and cut out all the needless words. I think it would also improve with more specific language.

lalaith7 said...

I agree with most of the above posters, they've given you much better advice than I would've thought of. I'm wondering though why you felt a need to mention that your book is "similar to the writings of Cornelia Funke." Did youmean to categorize it as middle grade fantasy or has someone told you that your writing sounds like hers? If it's the former I think you'd be better served just to say it's a middle grade fantasy, if the latter I don't care, I'll make my own decisions about who I think you sound like if I read it, and I personally think it's nice just to sound like you.

Angela said...

Thank you all! This book as been completed for a while now. I have taken all of your suggestions to heart and have started over writing my Query.