The Evolution of a Query, Part II

So yesterday I talked about my first attempt at querying my MG novel.

Which led to zero requests. (Boo! Hiss!)

After I cried and licked my wounds, I decided my query needed a big rehaul. Thus, I read all of the query forums at Absolute Write and I eventually came up with Query #2.

Which took me many hours to write. (Boo! Hiss!)

I was too scared to post my query in Absolute Write or any other writer's forum for feedback (what was I thinking?!) and so I simply entered the query-go-round once I felt happy with the draft.

From late May 2009 through June 2009, I sent out fifteen queries to various agents. Here it is in all of its glory:

Twelve-year-old Danny Singer has never stepped foot on the Moon. He's never whizzed around the asteroid belt in a silver spaceship. And he's definitely never fought in a cosmic battle to save the Earth. Nope, all Danny knows is his dreary sixth-grade existence where he’s pestered by a smelly bully on a daily basis.

But everything changes for Danny when he's asked to join the Titanian Knighthood—a mysterious army of alien warriors who defend the solar system from any harm. Turns out, Danny’s dead father was once a Knight himself (a little fact Danny never knew about) and now the Knighthood has asked him to enter their ranks too.

Pretty cool, right? Well, at least for a little while….

Sure, Danny might get a kick out of flying around in a spaceship and learning how to use an ancient scimitar, but he never thought he’d find himself in the middle of an intergalactic war. But when the solar system faces an attack from the dreaded Locusts, Danny must rely on his newfound training to keep the seven-foot-tall invaders from reaching the Earth. And worst of all? He must find out why the Locust King has some unfinished business with his family.


After re-reading this query, the only thought in my head is: "My novel is like Harry Potter, but set in space!"

Case in point:

Smelly bully = Dudley
Invitation to join Knighthood = Letter from Hogwarts
Danny's dead father was a Knight = Harry's dead father was a wizard
Locust King with unfinished business = Voldemort with unfinished business


Surprisingly though, I had ONE agent request a full from this query. Yippee! This was my first request EVAR so I did a little dance around my room and dreamt about my publication glory. But...the agent never got back to me. I nudged him three times. Nothing. Radio silence. Only crickets. *Le Sigh*

Anyway, I don't think Query #2 is horrid but it sounds like an HP copycat and it doesn't grab an agent's attention off the bat. It's all right as far as queries go, but it's not terribly exciting. Plus, there's too much set-up and not enough action. I'm not surprised why most agents rejected it.

At the end of the day, an agent only has a few seconds to read over each query in his inbox. Unfortunately, my query lacked a certain oomph that would make an agent say, "I must request this manuscript right now!" And so, after my fourteenth rejection, I cried once more and gnashed my teeth and headed back to the drawing board.

Stay tuned tomorrow for Query #3!