Friday, August 20, 2010


Today's guest blogger is Renae Mercado, author of FATAL BEAUTIES! Remember the rules? go visit her blog and become a follower before reading on or doom shall follow you for all ...

Who am I kidding? Just do it. We trust you.

So Renae is going to be adding her thoughts in a nice light purple today, and I suppose that I will think in orange, in honor of everyone's favorite agent. Take it away Renae!

Thank you so much for the chance to share, Matt! My novel Fatal Beauties is represented by Bree Ogden at Martin Literary Management. Bree was one of my top choices so when I polished up my novel, I queried her immediately.

You're most welcome Renae, thanks for sharing this with us!

Dear Ms. Ogden,

Their screams can stop a human heart, their songs can drive humans to the brink of madness. But these cruel fates are nothing compared to what could happen if a Siren falls in love …

I love hooks! I always start with some sort of hook. As with your first few pages, you want to pull the agent in and leave them wanting more. Now she knows what my character is and the havoc she is able to create, all in the first two sentences.

This is vivid description, which is uncommon in a query but works amazingly well here. This is also an awesome premise. Renae has set it up very well here too, as she said it's just enough to entice the reader!

Toying mercilessly with humans and delivering them to their darkest hour was all part of daily life for Amber Ballentine and her sisters. But that normal life is turned upside down when Amber grows tired of the monotony and matriculating from town to town.

Short sweet and to the point. Again, I mention the fact that Amber is a force to be reckoned with. Though she’s flawed, there may be some redeeming qualities.

Nice. I like the way you put this and you're right: it does sort of endear me to the character in an interesting way. I mean, yes, she sounds a little shallow, and possibly evil, but that also sounds damn entertaining.

But living by the rules comes with a price. Amber grows weak, lets her guard down. And then she meets Kellan Westwick. Kellan is everything one would expect from the proverbial bad boy … brooding, rich, and devastatingly handsome. He’s also off limits for Sirens aren’t allowed to fall for humans … the risk is too great.

Enter the bad boy. Of course. I’ve now introduced my other main character and given the agent an initial impression of his demeanor. I’ve also laid the groundwork for the main conflict without going into a lot of unnecessary detail.

Simple, but compelling. Of course we don't yet know if this is the entire conflict, but if it is, at least we know it's going to be entertaining.

Though she fights against her feelings Amber finds herself drawn to this hauntingly mysterious human. As they grow closer, Amber stumbles upon the buried past of Kellan's family ... the Westwick’s are Reapers, a group of humans with the strength and power to destroy all paranormal creatures including Sirens. When the truth comes out Amber must ask herself if Kellan is her hero or the one who will lead to her ultimate demise.

And we have the twist. I never give away the resolution, but I have given just enough information to hopefully leave the agent wanting to read more.

Oooh, I see your point. This is a corkscrew isn't it? I for one am VERY curious as to what Kellan's powers are or how he would have the ability to destory paranormal creatures. Since you don't tell me how I now have to read your book. Oh wait ... that's the point of a query in the first place? Win.

This gothic tale mixes elements of mystery, romance and the paranormal bringing a fresh new twist to this young adult novel. FATAL BEAUTIES is complete at around 100,000 words with series potential.

Here I sum up the page count while letting the agent know that there is potential for a series. I also bring to light the fact that this is not something that’s already on the market. I had done my research and was well aware that Bree was looking for something different and new.

Makes sense. Plus it worked, there is that too.

I am an elementary school teacher by day and an avid writer by night. If you would like to consider FATAL BEAUTIES, I’ll happily forward the manuscript at your request.

Just a little bit about myself while letting her know that the manuscript was complete and ready for her to review.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Kind Regards,

Renae Mercado

Three days after my initial query, Bree asked for the full. A few more (long) days she e-mailed offering representation if I would be willing to change one little part of the book. It didn’t change my vision of the story at all so of course I said yes! And there you have it. I’m now on submission and trying desperately to keep my fingernails intact. But I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. So don’t give up no matter what. I truly believe the right agent is out there for everyone!

Very exciting! Congrats Renae. And best of luck with your submission process, I'm sure it will work out for you!

What do you guys think? Questions for Renae? Comments making fun of me? Please, share anything you like in the comments section.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

This query is short and to the point - I like it.

Creepy Query Girl said...

awesome! thanks for sharing renae- it sounds like a great read! And congrats on finding representation so fast!

vic caswell said...

WHAT a COOL story!
amazing query- seemed effortless (but i bet it wasn't :) )

Vicki Rocho said...

This is great! I can see why she requested a full! I gotta know what happens when a Siren and Reaper mix...hmmm what about their kids? haha

Jess said...

Thanks for sharing- can't wait to read it!

Joanne Brothwell said...

Great query, Renae. I've heard good things about Bree - good luck!

Thanks for sharing Matthew!

Renae said...

Thanks again for having me as a guest blogger Matt! It's been great working with you!

Christina Lee said...

Ranae, your story sounds amazing. Good luck--my nails would be down to nubs!!!

Candyland said...

Excellent, direct and yeah-to the point! I can see why Bree liked it:)

Jared Larson said...

Excellent query. Concise and well executed. Congrats on the agent. It must be an awesome feeling.

Talli Roland said...

THat's great - thanks Matt and Renae. I love the concept - it's so clear and such a great hook, right from the first paragraph.

Anonymous said...

Great query letter, Renae! Thanks for sharing it!

Zoe C. Courtman said...

Love how easily that query reads. Nicely done!

Laura S. said...

That's a really great query! I was hooked from the first paragraph. I like how her "about me" paragraph is short and sweet.

I can see why Renae was offered representation!

Steve MC said...

Always liked that Kafka quote on the Sirens. Definitely spooky material worth delving into, and you presented it very well.

And Matt, I couldn't help but hear this as from a cool comedy, with two guys in a bar:

I mean, yes, she sounds a little shallow, and possibly evil, but that also sounds damn entertaining.

Tamara Narayan said...

It's nice to see a query that worked. Thanks guys.

S.A. Larsenッ said...

Already a follower. I really liked this query. Great job and thanks for sharing.

Arlee Bird said...

Nice query and a good story of the query process. Can't wait to hear what happens next.

Tossing It Out

Natalie Aguirre said...

Great query. It's great to see ones that work. Congrats on getting Bree as an agent.

S. A. Soule, Creativity Coach said...

Great letter, thanks for sharing. It gave me some ideas on how to spruce up mine.

But I'm curious how many agents did you query before you got accepted by Bree? (Bree was on my top agent list, too.) Cause it's hard to find agents who like YA and darker fiction. It sounds like yours borders on horror like mine...

Jemi Fraser said...

I can't wait to read Renae's book - it sounds unique :)

Lindsay said...

Yay! Love Renae's query.I want to read Fatal Beauties so bad...maybe if I beg. "Pretty please Renae, from one QTer to another." lol.

Anonymous said...

"Toying mercilessly with humans and delivering them to their darkest hour..." That's a great line. Could be used in the book synopsis or even a query letter. Or a book mark to give out at book signings. I always am looking for those great one-liners.

Stephen Tremp

K. M. Walton said...

Renae, I wish you the best of luck through the submission process!!

And thank you to Matthew for shining the light on your query.

Ishta Mercurio said...

Nice query! I especially like how you summed up the conflict between her wanting the guy, but not being able to have him, since he could destroy her and all of her kind. You did that part very well.

Nice job - thanks for this post! (And I would love to read this book...)

storyqueen said...

The query really flowed. It was clear and made me want to read the book.

Well done!


Kay said...

God, I love this series. I need to stop by more often. Thanks, as always, for what you do for the writing community.

Stopped by to let you know, I just posted an interview with literary agent Laurie McLean on my blog:

She provided awesome info, the most substantive answers I've received from a literary agent. Hope you can check it out!