Monday, December 21, 2009


TIPS FROM THE SLUSH PILE by Sara Megibow The end of the year is a nice time to celebrate success stories!In early 2007, I read a query letter in the slush pile from a writer by the name of Sarah Rees Brennan. The query letter piqued my interest and we ended up asking for sample pages and shortly thereafter for the full manuscript.

To make a long story short, THE DEMON’S LEXICON by Sarah Rees Brennan was one of our debut novels this year and was recently named one of the Best Young Adult Books of 2009 by Kirkus Magazine. I mention all this because success stories do happen — successful authors are pulled out of the slush pile, tremendous books are bought by amazing publishing houses and these gems are read by delighted fans. Sometimes the process may seem daunting or overwhelming but as a writer-on-the-agent-hunt you are already one step ahead of the person who has already quit trying.

Hopefully this tip will help. Instead of breaking down my thoughts on query letters, I’ve decided to post the original query letter by Sarah Rees Brennan. Kristin frequently posts clients’ query letters on our website, so if you want to read more, go to the Nelson Agency FAQ page.Anyway, here it is — enjoy!

Dear Ms. Nelson and Ms. Megibow:

I am a big fan of Ms. Nelson's blog and the dedication and positive attitude obvious in every post.

I would like you to consider THE DEMON'S LEXICON, my YA urban fantasy set in modern-day England. The manuscript is complete at 75, 000 words.What would be the first word to come to mind about the runaway romance between a beautiful, headstrong woman and a darkly fascinating magician?

For Nick, it's 'embarrassing', since said beautiful, headstrong woman was his mum. 16 year old Nick has been brought up on the run from the darkly fascinating magician after things really didn't work out between him and Nick's mother. He resents his mother for the predicament they're in, and he was mostly raised by his older brother, Alan.Nick has also been brought up knowing that there are certain people who have limited magical abilities. Some of them, the magicians, increase these magical abilities by summoning demons who give them more power - in return for the magicians giving them people to possess.

The other magically gifted people have considerably less power and rely on magical trinkets and information, exchanged every month at a 'goblin market.' As the only people who know about the magicians and their victims, they do try to control things, but it's an endeavour that is not going well.Nick, who can summon demons and is pretty handy with a sword, is mostly concerned with just getting by, but his life is greatly complicated by the advent of his brother's latest crush.

Not only is she a little too attractive for Nick's peace of mind, but she has a boy in tow who bears the marks of demon possession. Added to that the fact that Nick has started to suspect that Alan, the only person in his life who he trusts, has been lying to him about a few very serious things, and not only Nick, but everybody else, are in for some surprises.

I have a popular online blog, some contacts in the writing and publishing world. I want to move ahead on this with an agent, and I also want an agent for the long term, for negotiation and guidance - in fact, everything it says on the tin - that is to say, your website.

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing back from you.
Yours, Sarah Rees Brennan

Sincerely,Sara Megibow

(Thanks again Sara for allowing me to post your words of wisdom!)

Good luck to all aspiring writers and authors in the year 2010!!

Happy Holidays,
Dawn Chartier
NOT AN ANGEL, coming out in 2010 with TWRP

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