Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Query Letter that got a "Yes"

Writers' Wednesday is on hiatus this week, but make sure to stop back next Wednesday, when I'll be featuring another author interview!

In the meantime, thought I'd share a bit of bright news: my regular blog readers know I've been mercilessly revising my novel Summer's Song, since Black Lyon Publishing asked to see it. Yesterday I also got an email from an editor at Avon, in response to a query I sent a few weeks ago, asking to see the manuscript as well. Avon normally takes only agented material, but you can still send an email query to their general submissions pool, which I did.

For kicks/informative purposes, here's the query I sent. I deliberately mentioned what I knew about their current wants and the shift in romance sub-genre that the Borders bookseller talked about at the NJRWA conference.

Dear Avon Editors:

In speaking with one of my writing colleagues at the recent NJRWA Conference, I discovered that you are currently looking for small-town, “soft” romance stories a la Debbie Macomber. I believe that my novel Summer’s Song would fit nicely into that sub-genre.

Pine Point is one of those small towns we all know and love. With its collection of quirky residents, local shops, and folksy gossip, it has a cozy feel of familiarity and nostalgia that readers of “soft” contemporary romance currently crave.

But Pine Point has its secrets too, and the death of Summer Thompson’s brother is one of them. Summer hasn’t lived in Pine Point for ten long years, since her brother died and her father sent her away for good. Now she’s on hiatus from a successful career as a museum curator to look over a half-renovated house her father willed her. Little does she know that as the weeks unfold, she’ll come face to face with not only her ex-boyfriend, but the truth about her own role in her brother’s death, along with a newcomer in town who might just change the way she looks at Pine Point forever.

Damian Knight recently moved to town with his mother and half-sister, to escape a brutal stalker. While he finds solace in construction work, it’s only a matter of time before his path crosses Summer’s, and the two fall for each other amid troublesome rumors that are brewing. Soon, Damian finds himself faced with split loyalties: protect his mother and sister at all costs, or let down his guard and fall in love with a woman at the center of a Pine Point scandal.

Summer’s Song explores the journey of going home again, of facing the past, of coming to terms with loss and moving on with both old friends and new lovers beside you. While the romance market has moved away from contemporary romance in recent years, “soft romance” is making a comeback according to many publishers and booksellers, and I believe this novel would fit well into that niche. Pine Point is a town full of personalities and small town conflicts, which also sets it up perfectly for a series of novels that could continue beyond this single title.

I am a multi-published author of contemporary romance novels (with The Wild Rose Press and Samhain Publishing). I have also published several articles on the craft of writing and belong to both the local and national chapters of RWA. Summer’s Song is complete at 75,000 words; if you would like to see a synopsis or sample chapters, I would be happy to send them along.

Thank you.

The chance of having a manuscript accepted there is very slim, but I'm amping up my revising and crossing my fingers anyway...

Current Word Count for Entwined: 12,073

Yesterday's Fave Sentence: Melted snow seeps onto the carpet, and for a moment all she can think is how it would feel against her skin, ice that raises gooseflesh before his mouth warms it.


Marianne Arkins said...

That's AWESOME... and one heck of a query letter. No wonder they replied...

Good luck!

Dru said...

That is excellent that Avon wants to see your manuscript and I love your query letter that you sent.

Good luck!

Diane Craver said...

I'm so happy for you that Avon asked to see your manuscript. I'm so impressed because you did all this without an agent. Hope you get a contract from Avon!

Liz said...

This is great news. I will send out good vibes into the universe.