Friday, May 21, 2010


Holy crap! Yesterday (as you know) I put my flash fiction up on Byran's (Ink's) blog, Alchemy of Writing and it was a pretty big success! Now all of a sudden I have nearly 200 followers. Wow. You people in the blogoshpere are amazing. This has literally changed my life.

A few months ago I had basically given up on writing or at least getting published. Now I correspond with other writers, published authors and even agents all the time.

*end gush*

Today's guest blogger is the amazing, hilarious, inspiringly optimistic Candace Ganger from Misadventures in Candyland. She is my BFITB (Best Friend in the Blogoshpere) so make sure you don't piss her off. Just kidding. But seriously, go visit her blog, follow it, comment on it, and just love her in general. She'll let you feel her up on Fridays (virtually guys), and who could resist that, right?

Anyway she is sharing with us the query for her novel 9:59 REWIND. The premise is really unique so prepare to be intrigued.

Today, just for fun, her thoughts will be in purple and mine will be in green.

Her query:

Dear Agent, Easier than REDACTING !!!

At 9:58 pm, a national broadcast of The Next Big Rock Band airs sixteen-year-old Thursday Night Scum starlet, Caty James Greyson, catching a bullet to the chest, but at 9:59 pm, she presses rewind.

Even though it's a little long, this hook is what seems to be working. It's the easiest way to explain the setup without over explaining (which I tend to do!) and seems to have piqued curiosity, at least a little.

Umm, yeah, either Candace doesn't realize how cool this hook ACTUALLY is or she's just being humble. Probably the latter.

Were you aware that this hook won Candace the one line Chris Richman contest over at Query Tracker? Now you are. Well not won, I guess, but it did get her nominated.

Between her bio dad's mysterious death and pain-in-the-ass brother's kidnapping, both by someone she knows, it's no wonder C.J's got issues. When she almost, sort-of, kills herself (totally on accident), it's only through a rockin' granny and her love of music with a sweet-as-icing kindergarten crush, does she find the courage to live in the now, instead of the past. Just moments before her shooting, at 9:59 pm, C.J comes full circle with the one person responsible for it all, erasing her chance to rewind, forever.

After dozens of revisions, this paragraph (which used to be two longer paragraphs) sums it all up, I guess! It still reads long to me, but many attempts have gotten me to this description which is all important info.

And then then tension, conflict, voice and mystery build even more right after the hook! This is crazy, like crazy awesome. Yes, there are a couple things here that leave you wondering what the heck? But there's nothing wrong with that in a query. Remember: the point of the query is to make the agent HAVE to read more.

Loosely inspired by true events, my edgy, contemporary young adult novel, 9:59 REWIND, is complete at 57,000 words and tells of one girl's determination to uncover the truth, and her dreams, at all costs.

You know, the usual.

Good Housekeeping.

I’m a freelance journalist, daily blogger and finalist in the Sourcebooks/Teenfire Writing Competition. My five-year experience as a professional musician and small town socialite provides the foundation for 9:59 REWIND's track-inspired chapters.

On YaLitChat, we were advised not to use the Sourcebooks cred, because it's thought the agent might not want to think about repping someone who could possibly be turned away from the publisher for whatever reason. BUT, I've found it's helped, so I've kept it in there. Also, it's good to show WHY you're the person to write your book, even if it's fiction. In this case, my book deals a lot with music: something I know about:)

I don't know. Nathan Bransford says don't do it, but here I think the proof is in the pudding, if it's working (earning requests) it's pretty hard to argue against that.

I do have a question for Candace. What do you mean by track inspired chapters? Do you mean like tracks on an album? If so that is freaking awesome. Are chapters 3 and 7 like the hit singles?

EDIT: Candace asked me to add in her reply to the question about the chapters. Which is of course appropriate:

AWESOME! I was so excited to read it! Maybe it's the coffee!!! Maybe it's the exclamation points!!!!!!! You're so freakin' sweet and we're def. BFITB! I wouldn't change a thing, unless you want to add my response to your question about the tracks (my Word program is on the fritz).

*When I say "track-inspired chapters" I mean each chapter is titled "Track 1: Namesake," Track 2: Secrets," etc. And it has one line of the song. So it would look like this:
"What am I to you but a name? Tie the lie a little tighter and leave me to hang"

Every chapter revolves around a song that my protag wrote, and eventually appears on her debut album. That's how I imagine it, anyway. Like a CD case where the tracks are listed on the back and the front is the album art, etc. I know, I've put waaayyyy too much thought into the final product. Guess I better get an agent first :/ *

Now do you see why Candace is so fun and awesome? And why we are BFITBs?

Thank you for your time and consideration. Manuscript is available at your immediate request. I look forward to hearing from you!

The usual!

Candace Ganger
The Misadventures in Candyland

Some of the responses she's received:

Sounds intriguing! Please send me the first 30 pages + synopsis + SASE at my address below. I look forward to reading your material.


Hi Candace,

Thank you for your query. I would love to read 9:59 REWIND. You may send the entire ms. as an attachment via email.

I look forward to reading your work!


Dear Candace,

I'd be happy to take a look. Please email a synopsis and the full
manuscript—a Microsoft Word document would be best—to REDACTED.

I look forward to reading more of your work.


Thank you for submitting your query to REDACTED. We read it with great interest and would like to see the full novel as well as a 3-5 page synopsis describing the book.

So what do you guys think? This query is obviously working, plus the hook was good enough to be nominated for a contest being judged by Chris Richman.

Please leave your thoughts in the comments section and be sure to thank Candace, and visit her blog to become a follower. You will NOT regret it.


Jessica Bell said...

She's uber awesome. What else can you say about a gal who's got it all going for her? Her book sounds like something I'd so want to read. In fact, I've asked if I can read it, but she won't let me :( She's gotten all superstitious on me! Candy! Pretty please with a cherry on top? Hey - ten cherries! ... One hundred?

JE said...

Whoa! Looks like someone else is one fire too! Great job, Candace! Having an original premise and super cool-voiced query is totally working for you. Nice job!


Unknown said...

Congratulations on all the amazing followers!! Looks like at the rate your going you'll have no problem beating my month and follower count!

I love Candyland she is uber awesome!! Never a dull moment with her around and I love it!! Her book sounds really good, I would so read it!!!

Creepy Query Girl said...

Wow, Candy- that is AWESOME! You'll have an agent soon, I can feel it! Your story sounds really well thought out and interesting. Good luck- great post Matt!

Unknown said...

I love the headless Candy, and think her query sounds great. That's what's getting her the requests, not because she was a finalist in the Firesource contest. But that's super cool that she was a finalist.

I can't wait to read the book (hint hint agents and editors).

Vicki Rocho said...

I love the track-inspired chapters. That's freaky awesome. Do you have whole songs to go with this? Doesn't this just scream for a companion CD with the book?

Good job!

Stephanie Lorée said...

Track inspired chapters is a really unique and fun idea. I think that this novel has a real shot in the YA arena. I hope she gets it!

And Matt, thanks for the follow. I look forward to hanging with you in the blogosphere!

Slamdunk said...

I like that she is able to process feedback on what to include like Sourcebooks and make her own call on the info. Taking calculated risks betters the chance for success.]

COngrats on the 199 followers.

S.A. Larsenッ said...

Loved it when I read it back when; love it now. Great job, C.

Candyland said...

Thanks everyone for the wonderful responses *warm and fuzzy inside*

And thanks Matt for having me. On. Having me on. Whoa. You know what I mean.

A companion CD would ROCK, btw. And totally up my ally. Could someone please forward this to an interested agent who also might think this is cool?!!!

MeganRebekah said...

I love Candyland!! And her premise and her book are amazing. I can't wait to hear her success story in the near future :)

About Me said...

The query is awesome! Why? Because it's got an unique hook, has voice and the story isn't just a rehash of a current bestseller. Good luck Candace.

Shannon said...

What a great way to end the week.

Congrats on the followers and the post on Ink's blog. I'll be sure to check it out later.

You know I love you more than my luggage. Your query is plain awesomesauce. Thanks so much for sharing!

- Shannon

Jaydee Morgan said...

I love the uniqueness of this query. It's no wonder it's working for you! Keep up the great work and good luck - I know it will pay off soon :)

Kelly Polark said...

Okay, I already loved Candace's blog but didn't know what her book is about. WAY AWESOME! Of course I love the rock aspect to it, but it also sounds unique as well.
And I am intrigued by the loosely based on real events!

Courtney Barr - The Southern Princess said...

Um... congrats on the followers - LOVE THE FLASH FICTION!

Candace - Wow. Totally intrigued. Awesome Query!!!

Visit My Kingdom Anytime

Hannah said...

That sounds like an awesome book! I'm excited for that one to be pubished so I can buys it!

Great query as well! It's nice to see which queries are getting requests.

Shannon Messenger said...

First of all, congrats on the 200 followers--I'm #201. I can't BELIEVE I wasn't following you--I really thought I was. #Shannonfail.

Anyway, what a cool post. Her book sounds awesome and you guys cracked me up. Can't wait to read this someday!

Elana Johnson said...

Great query letter, Candace! Great stuff here Matthew. :)

Lydia Kang said...

Congrats on the followers Matthew!
And that does look like a stellar read, so I'm not surprised about the requests!

Lindsay said...

Congrats on the followers.

9:59 REWIND sounds awesome. I'm not suprised she's had so many requests. :)

Jo Schaffer said...

Thanks for sharing this! I am totally working on my query still. Ugh! (=

kanishk said...
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