Okay. I know you’ve all been waiting for this. This is the ACTUAL query letter I sent to Brianne Johnson of Writers House. She requested a partial based on this, then a full. Then, she passed my manuscript on to Michele Rubin of Writers House, who ended up signing me! I’ve deleted personal information and a few names, but otherwise, it is untouched.
May 29th, 2012
Dear Ms. Brianne Johnson,
I am seeking representation for my dark, contemporary YA novel, BELOW THE SURFACE. I chose to submit to you because in your Publisher’s Marketplace page you said you were looking for “beautiful, literary works that explore the coming-of-age theme.” I feel my novel embodies that description and may be a good fit for your list.
For Sammi Colton (16), going to high school in Portside, a small town on the shores of Lake Superior, is comparable to a painting by one of the old masters; dark, grim, and completely depressing. When her father leaves her family for his pregnant girlfriend, Sammi loses her creative spirit, her ability to paint, and her sense of self. Soon, an unlikely friendship develops with Kayla Ryan (16) who is the complete opposite of Sammi’s own dark personality. Under Kayla’s direction, Sammi takes on a new identity, complete with a set of pom-poms, parties with the popular kids, and a romance with Kayla’s brother, Austin (17). This new persona is a façade, spread over her like a suffocating, thick layer of paint, and Sammi soon realizes she must find the courage to scrape it away and discover who she truly is before she loses herself forever.
BELOW THE SURFACE is a 73,000 word contemporary YA novel that deals with the loss of Sammi’s father, the loss of her identity, and the loss of her whole world as Sammi tries to make herself into someone else, someone her father can love. In the end, Sammi must make a choice; do you change who you are for love, or do you learn to love yourself? I feel it would appeal to readers who loved Sarah Dessen’s LOCK AND KEY, Jandy Nelson’s THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE, as well as Stephanie Perkins’ ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS.
I have been writing for twelve years and have written several novels. My YA fantasy, DRIVE BACK THE DARKNESS, is scheduled to be published in September. I am currently working on a revise and resubmit request I received from a publisher for one of my romance novels. I have also developed a following through my blog, which details my daily life as a wife, mother, and aspiring writer. I have completed three years of my Bachelor’s Degree in creative writing. I have also worked with a critique group for five years, and worked with published author and University of ****** professor, ****** *****. Thank you for taking the time to consider my work. Upon your request, I would be happy to send you a partial or complete manuscript. I look forward to your response.
Amy M. Newman
Enc: first five pages