Query

Query Muse #1

Posted by on Mar 13, 2015 in Query, Query Muse | 7 comments

Query Muse #1

Query Muse is Muse Jolene’s bi-weekly segment where she reviews a query letter and gives feedback on how to make it better. If you wish to sign your query up, do it here! Today’s query letter is for a paranormal romance story called MY SOUL TO GIVE. Huge thank you to the author for being willing to submit her work! Here is the query letter that was sent in.   Query Dear [amazing agent], When home invaders brutally kill Celina’s husband and leave her for dead with a gunshot wound, her craving for revenge overshadows any fear. That includes the charming demon named Mekaisto. He offers the bereaved housewife a deal: For the price of her soul, he will save her so she can live to avenge her murdered husband. But Mekaisto neglected mentioning one little thing: Celina must find the bastards before they finish her off first. Soon she learns the home invasion wasn’t random, but a planned murder. Celina, in shock about the connection her husband had to these murderers, investigates deeper. The more Celina and Mekaisto dig, the more she discovers her husband’s disturbing secrets. His legal translation company never existed. Instead he spent his days investigating a mysterious religious order called Lumen. He worked with demons. Already shaken and feeling cheated at his betrayal, Celina is horrified to learn she’s pregnant. Worse still, Mekaisto wants her child. An old journal belonging to the Lumen gives her the answer to escape her deal, but she’ll lose either her baby or her shot at vengeance. Celina, with so much blood on her hands already, must choose between continuing on her path to punishing the people who murdered her husband or competing with a master of deceit for her soul—and her unborn child. MY SOUL TO GIVE is a stand-alone 70,000 word adult paranormal mystery with series potential. It will appeal to fans of Toboso Yana’s Black Butler, and Emma L. Adams’ Darkness Watching. I have been writing for as long as I can remember, inventing stories to escape in just as I love to escape while reading novels. I love reading, especially fantasy, paranormal, horror, and urban fantasy. I am a full-time single mom and a fourth year student at the University of Ottawa, currently completing a degree in Criminology. I am fluent in French and English, and have a basic understanding of the Japanese language. Thank you for your time and consideration. Sincerely, Magali Fréchette Query Analysis   I think this concept is something that’s not super new but I did find it very interesting. AND, being that I’m a huge fan of demons in stories AND secret societies / religious orders, I’d absolutely be interested in reading this if someone sent it to me. Based on what I’ve read it sounds like you have a TON of twists and turns that would keep the reader turning those pages and a lot of the time, plot is half the battle! With that said, if I had received this query as a slush pile reader, I’d probably have rejected it. Why? You are not doing your book justice here! Your story is brilliant! Interesting! It will keep readers leaning on the edge of their seats! People will climb all over each other to buy copies! But this reads more like a boring blurb than an exciting story pitch. I don’t have a sense of mystery and you haven’t left me wanting more, asking myself what happens next. It sounds like your book boils down to if the MC decides to keep her baby or getting revenge. Based off of...

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Query Muse and Turn the Page

Posted by on Feb 27, 2015 in Contests, Publishing, Query, Writing | 3 comments

Query Muse and Turn the Page

When Kristen and I originally started Pen & Muse, our goal is (and has always been) to help writers. It’s that simple. Which is why I spend hours out of my week to write helpful blog posts, contacting guest posters and more. I want to help you. I want you to succeed. Earlier this week I wrote a Peptalk called Don’t Give Up. Check it out if you’re a writer or if you’re someone who has ever considered giving up on a dream. I know I have. With that peptalk in mind, I’ve been wanting to roll out two FREE author services for a while and I think this is the perfect opportunity. Here are two more resources for writers to get feedback, offered completely free from moi!   Since Pen and Muse is devoted to writers of all types and genres, I present to you two new weekly posts features run by yours truly. World, meet Turn the Page & Query Muse! Click To Tweet   World, meet Turn the Page & Query Muse!   Every week, on FRIDAY, I will be featuring either Turn the Page or Query Helper. What are these magical things? Glad you asked! Let me tell you.   Turn the Page Details: Not sure if your first page is ready? Want honest feedback on your manuscript? As you know, an enticing first page is SO important when you’re submitting your work to be published. A sub-par first page can be the reason that an agent rejects your manuscript. Send me the first page (not middle, not end, not something else) from your manuscript and I will tell you, based off the first page, if I would turn the page to keep reading. Our readers will also be able to provide feedback on the first page and let you know what they think. All genres, all writers welcome, as long as it isn’t creepy / inappropriate. Name, title, genre and first page will be posted unless submitter asks us to not disclose the author name. All submissions will remain in the queue in order of receipt unless you ask us to delete your submission. You will be notified when yours is selected. Submit your work to Turn the Page     Query Muse Details: A good query letter can be hard to come by! I know. I used to sift through slush when I worked for a publishing house. That’s why I’m here to help you make it great! Send in your query to Pen and Muse and I’ll give you my opinion and feedback on how to make it better. Readers will also be able to comment and give advice as well in the comments. Author and book details will be posted along with query unless you ask us not to. Each submission will remain in the queue and reviewed in the order it was received. You will be notified when yours is selected. Submit your work to Query Muse   Now taking submissions for Query Muse and Turn the Page! Click To Tweet A few more things… If you want to be featured in either column fill out the form for Turn the Page or Query Muse, fill out the fields completely, and wait patiently for yours to be selected. You may enter your work simultaneously for Query Muse and Turn the Page. Yes, you may enter more than one project. Submissions are reviewed in the order they are received. If you enter more than one project, I will give priority to first time submitters over your 2nd, 3rd, 4th submission.   Special Note: PLEASE do not submit your work until it’s...

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How to Find a Literary Agent

Posted by on Jan 19, 2015 in Publishing, Query | 0 comments

How to Find a Literary Agent

And so it begins. The search for a literary agent. The person that can help forge you a path in publishing. The person who can make all of your dreams come true! The person who will be your own personal genie in a lamp, ready to grant your wishes. Right? Well, maybe. But it’s much more complicated than that. Many un-agented authors may see landing an agent like they’ve won big on a slot machine but really, it’s not. Publishing is a business. Agenting is a business. A for-profit business. And being an author, well that’s a business too. Which is why you need to do your homework. Research well. And make a smart, educated decision when it comes to which agents to submit to. I’ll be blogging more about this in the coming weeks (so make sure you’ve subscribed if you haven’t already), but today we’re just talking literary agent research. If you’re just beginning the search for an agent now, be sure to read my post The Secret To Getting An Agent & Getting Your Work Published. There’s some invaluable information, truth, and I share some of my personal experiences on my path to publication. Now that you are ready to publish your work and you’ve decided to forego the self-published r0ute, here are some of the several ways you can find a literary agent. Next week, well be talking how to make sure that a literary agent is right for you.   How to Find a Literary Agent     1. The internet is your friend! Use sites like AgentQuery.com or QueryTracker.com. Query Tracker requires you to have a login, but the membership is free. On both sites you can search agents by their names or by the genres that they represent. Usually these sites are up to date, but every once in a while I notice that something isn’t correct (such as an agent recently moved agencies is still listed under an old agency, etc.). Just double check your sources before you fire off that query letter. These sites are VERY helpful and I highly recommend looking through them to find and create your list of who to submit to. QueryTracker even has a comments section where other hopefuls can post about their experience with that agent and response time so that you can have a better idea of what to expect.   2. Go straight to the source. Most agencies have a website. Go to that website! Look at the “About us” section. Normally you can learn more about the agency, the agents, and what they’re looking for. Normally under the submission tab you can double check the agency’s submission guidelines, such as whether to include only your query letter or add a few sample pages. You can also find most agents on Twitter, where you can get more information on what they are looking for straight from the source. But please do yourself a favor and do not pitch straight to the agent on Twitter (unless the agent is running some type of contest and asks you to).   3. Contests! I admit, it’s not exactly traditional but more and more authors and agents are finding each other via contests. There are several agent contests around the web. To find them, you can merely ask Google. A fantastic resource for these is Brenda Drake, so follow her on Twitter. Amy Trueblood is co-hosting Sun vs. Snow, another pitch contest. I suggest you also look into #PitMad and #PitchMas, as both are fantastic agent pitch contests. Also, Carissa Taylor is amazing and made a solid list of upcoming online and...

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