I realize that without an agent, it will be nearly impossible to interest a commercial publishing house in a work of fiction. I don't want to vanity publish this novel. Vanity publishing has worked fine for my small projects (collections of my previously published columns and stories), but this book isn't a small project. I think will appeal to a wide readership.
Even though I've attended several workshops about query letters—and I read Query Shark and Evil Editor, I'm a novice at querying. I'm glad I took good notes when Chuck Sambuchino spoke to Lake Writers last month—I used his notes for the basis of my query. I now read his blog, too.
I've spent the last few days refining my query letter and workshoping it through the two writers groups I belong to—Lake Writers and Valley Writers. Both groups provided good feedback, as did the members of my crit group last week.
The problem I have with a query is getting all the info to fit on one page. This is the info I wanted to convey about my 40,000-word middle-grade paranormal novel, Stuck:
Jacie, still stuck in grief over her mother’s death, returns from horse camp where she was stuck for weeks with her nemesis Nicole. On her eleventh birthday, her father gives her a locket and introduces her to Liz, his former high school sweetheart and now fiancée. Jacie, stuck in anger about her father’s decision to remarry, is soon stuck with Liz in a five-hour drive to Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia, and then in Liz’s old farmhouse. When she is stuck with Liz’s pesky seven-year-old twin nephews, Jacie retreats into the woods where she meets Callie, a ghost stuck in 1910. Callie asks Jacie to help find her young daughter, Mariah. When Jacie solves the mystery of what happened to Mariah, Callie promises to send a sign if she meets Jacie’s mother on the other side. Jacie finally becomes unstuck in a way she never expected. STUCK is a story of grief, love, triumph—and getting unstuck.
STUCK will appeal to girls who have lost a parent or gained a step-parent, who have moved away from home and friends, who love horses, or who are fascinated with ghosts and mysteries.
I have rearranged the above info several times. It's still a work-in-progress. I'm open to suggestions on how to make my query better.
Based on this description, would you read this book?