Workshop Your Query
Destiny's Bond isn't ready for submission yet, as I'm still learning Craft--and I've no idea how long it'll be before the manuscript's up to par--but I wanted to flex my brain muscles when it comes to queries. Rather than waiting until the last second, I thought I'd give writing one a go now, to get a feel of how querying Agents is done.
Also, I have a concern. Destiny's Bond is meant to be a four book series--I don't plan to query the first one until the last is finished--but is that wrong? While researching how to query series, I've come across negative comments on doing so, that the first book should stand alone, which doesn't work for me, since I've already mapped out how each book of Destiny's Bond is to go. I've come across debut series from authors in the past years, where the first book is obviously a set-up for a series, and don't work as a stand-alone. So what are your thoughts on this? I understand that querying series is a risk for debut authors nowadays. But what are your thoughts on it?
Is there a chance that querying a series can be done? Or should I leave the series in my desk and write some stand alone titles--short stories, other novels, etc.--to become more known before querying Destiny's Bond? I could really use some advice here.
Anyway, here's my novice attempt at a query:
I'm seeking representation for my 120,000 word debut Epic Fantasy novel, DESTINY'S BOND, where purity and corruption clash in a literal battle of good versus evil.
Set in the expansive and lush world of Drugara, DESTINY'S BOND is the story of Destiny, a dispassionate daemon who binds three souls within her; the goddess, the predator, and the mortal. Defined by a childhood of abuse and manipulation, she toils as a remorseless assassin for the Four Nations, and constantly struggles to remain rational in the face of her predator's blood lust.
When she suddenly awakens to find herself three-hundred years in the future, under siege by a dark manifestation known as a Darkling, she learns that a plague of taint has begun spreading over Drugara, warping the forests and corrupting the animals into sinister creatures who attack mortals without fear. Together with a band of new companions, she journeys to Yuthania's Capitol, Brightwood, to seek aid for a village lacking the protection of a Light Nythpath, only to be turned away by the Court. All seems bleak, until Destiny learns the true key to salvaging Drugara--herself, and Hope.
My character, Destiny, is a stoic, kick-ass heroine with a soft spot for those in need. She harbors a strong instinct to defend the innocent, mete justice for those wronged, and is extremely protective of the people close to her. Although she comes across as ruthless and unfeeling at first, I believe her complex personality makes her a unique addition to the genre.
DESTINY'S BOND is a four book series I've written, and this query is for the first of the books.
I hope to hear from you at your convenience.
So, what do you think? Tear it apart, please, and tell me what I've done wrong. I mean, I must have done it wrong, since this is my first attempt. So go ahead. Riddle it with the bullets of 'you're doing this, this, and this wrong'! Please. I want to get better
Thanks in advance for the help.
--edited by Amber Wolfe on 2/19/2015, 12:28 PM--
A query has only one job, to make the reader turn to page one and begin reading. And you know how often I praise any writing. When I hit the last line of the blurb you made me smile and nod approval. I would definitely turn to page one. I also like your analysis of the protagonist. A nice touch.
Wow . . . . wow, wow, wow, wow! Jay, you . . . did I just receive praise? From my Grumpy Writing Coach? Oh, happy day!
*Picture me dancing around my room, jubilant, for about five minutes*
Okay, now I'm calm. Anyway, thanks for your opinion on my novice attempt at an Agent Query. This was literally my first attempt at one, and well, if you like it, maybe I won't have to change it much
Of course, I still have a lot to learn on Craft before Destiny's Bond is ready for submission to Agents. So far I seem to be on the right path--I pray I've gotten better since you last lectured me --and the reviews I've gotten here have been encouraging. But I'm under no illusions. Until the day comes when a successful writer says I'm writing like a professional, I'm not kidding myself into thinking I'm ready for primetime.
Again, thanks for the praise, Jay. You've literally made my day . . . err, morning.
I've gotten some great opinions on my query, but could anyone answer my other question? I'm worried about whether I should wait to query my Dark Destinies Series until I have other standalone titles--short stories, etc.-- published. Most of what I've read says to become more known before querying a series.
What are your thoughts on this? I could really use the help. Although Destiny's Bond isn't ready for submission, some input into this would be greatly appreciated.
Are there markets or outlets for shorts in your genre? I don't think it's necessary to have those publishing credentials, but your query has to get the publisher to start reading your MS, and if the prior credits get him or her to do that, then go for it.
When I queried my eventual publisher for my short story collections, I think it helped to write that I'd had stories appear in a number of magazines and small journals. It probably also helped to shamelessly drop the names of people I know who I knew he knew, and mention that I once attended a concert in the high school he attended. Whatever works.
Thanks for your thoughts, Perry. I think I might finish writing my Dark Destinies Series and then spend some time writing short stories and standalone titles. Hopefully I'll be good enough to get them published. At least then I'll have some credentials to spice up a query.