Okay, so I teach some classes on writing query letters. It's kind of fun, because I have a powerpoint presentation, but I don't have a script. Which means the class is different every time I teach it, because you never know what's going to come out of my mouth. #beafraid
So I was teaching a couple of weeks ago, and I said something that I totally believe is true. I teach that the query letter has four parts, and that the author should be able to draw a box around each part, thus evaluating every word in their letter.
Then I said something like, "Every word needs to be boxed up." meaning that every single word in the query letter counts. Every single one has to either A) drive the reader through the letter or B) reveal character and/or plot.
Then I showed my cover.
At the top it says, "Control or be controlled."
Then I showed my query letter.
In a world where Thinkers brainwash the population and Rules are not meant to be broken, fifteen-year-old Violet Schoenfeld does a hell of a job shattering them to pieces.
After committing her eighth crime (walking in the park after dark with a boy, gasp!), Vi is taken to the Green, a group of Thinkers who control the Goodgrounds. She’s found unrehabilitatable (yeah, she doesn’t think it’s a word either) and exiled to the Badlands—until she demonstrates her brainwashing abilities. That earns her a one-way trip to appear before the Association of Directors.
Yeah, right. Like that’s gonna happen. She busts out of prison with sexy Bad boy Jag Barque, who also has no intention of fulfilling his lame sentence.
Dodging Greenies and hovercopters, dealing with absent-father issues, and coming to terms with feelings for an ex-boyfriend—and Jag as a possible new one—leave Vi little time for much else. Which is too damn bad, because she’s more important than she realizes. When secrets about her “dead” sister and not-so-missing father hit the fan, Vi must make a choice: control or be controlled.
How did it end? "Control or be controlled."
I wrote my cover copy.
In my query letter.
A very long time ago.
And that's why every single word in the query letter is crucial. You never know which ones are going to make it all the way through to the book.
So...how's your query letter writing going? What do you need help with in that regard? Trust me, no one understands query angst like I do. Remember, I sent a few. And by "a few," I mean "hundreds." Tomato, tomahto.