Nathan Bransford, Author

Monday, November 3, 2008

Free Query Critique

It's been a while since I've talked about queries on the blog, so I thought I'd do a couple of query critiques today. The first three people to post queries in the comments section will get a free public critique.

It's on!


Michael said...

Here is a generic query letter for my first novel. It's unpersonalized, but this is the main body of the letter. Thanks, Nathan.

Dear (Agent in Question):

Please consider representing Sir Earl, the children's novel I have written which takes place in a land where the fantastic fairy tales we grew up hearing are just a part of common, everyday life. In Fairyland, the land where enchantment is ordinary, a young man named Earl has always dreamed of being a "Knight in Shining Armor," a group of stuck-up jocks that love walking around in their flashy letterman jackets, yet he always finds himself a cut below the best. To prove his worthiness to be a "Knight in Shining Armor," Earl seeks to rescue every damsel in distress he can, and in this fairy tale land damsels in distress are a dime a dozen. They even have classified ads in the Fairyland Times.

When Earl finds one such add for the Princess Esmerelda, he embarks on an adventure with the falsely accused Big Bad Wolf and the beautiful but himble girl next door, Sara, as his companions. When he finally reaches Esmerelda's castle, Earl finds that this rescuing business isn't all it's cracked up to be. In fact, it seems a little easy. Earl just walks in and finds the princess without having to fight any dragons, ogres, monsters or anything. He soon finds, though, that Princess Esmerelda isn't all she's cracked up to be. She's kind of bossy, more than a little conceited, and she's just plain annoying. Earl starts to realize that he wasn't looking for a princess all along, but a normal girl like Sara, who's been sitting under his nose this whole time. It could be too late for Earl and Sara, though, because the Princess Esmerelda is actually the evil Sorceress Vennulga, disguised as a princess in an ill-executed attempt to leave evil sorcery behind her. She won't let Earl go without a fight. But it's a fight Earl is up to, because he has finally found something worth fighting for in the girl next door.

I am a previously unpublished writer, though I am working hard to change that. I am from Sacramento, California and recently graduated from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah with a degree in English. To read the first two chapters of Sir Earl and some of my other writing, you can visit

The manuscript for Sir Earl is about 42,000 words in length and is made up of fifteen chapters with a short epilogue. I have pasted the first chapter below. If you would like to review the entire manuscript for possible representation, I have it ready for submission in hard copy, and any electronic means you may require. Thanks again, for considering Sir Earl for representation. I look forward to hearing from you.


Michael Pickett

Miss Viola Bookworm said...

Seventeen year-old Audi Layton has a secret. No one in the small Midwestern lake community knows why she and her father have relocated from Chicago a month before the end of her junior year in high school, and she wants to keep it that way. She tries to avoid sharing too much with the girls at the doughnut shop where she works, and she especially keeps things from Emerson, the handsome boy who visits the shop daily. The appeal of having friends again, and maybe a boyfriend, is strong though, and before Audi knows it, she has fallen in love and is close to exposing the secret that threatens to destroy her.

COMING UP FOR AIR is more than a novel about first love or a teenager experiencing grief. It’s a story for anyone who has watched someone they love struggle with pain that runs so deep it’s deadly. Audi’s fight to recover from the loss of her twin and to forgive herself and her sister for the mistakes they made is one many of us can relate to, and the thrill of Audi’s finding friendship and romance has universal appeal.

Min said...

If Seth McCoy had asked his Magic 8-Ball whether he’d ever get his life on track, the answer would have been: Very doubtful. Or maybe: Don’t count on it. For too long, Seth’s only focus was getting wasted with his band—a pastime that contributed to his reputation as a slacker, a jerk, and an all-out loser. But there’s one thing the Magic 8-ball didn’t predict: Seth’s close friend dying after a night of partying.

Scared sober, Seth finally notices a girl who’s been there all along: sweet, beautiful, broken Rosetta. She’s a brainiac from Rich Bitch Hill, but she doesn’t judge Seth for who he’s been. Instead, she challenges him to become the person he wants to be—the person no one else sees. Seth and Rosetta confide in each other, and are comforted to find parallels in the troubled pasts they’re struggling to leave behind. Still, when it comes to their relationship, Seth can’t help thinking: Outlook not so good.

THE FAKE MCCOY is a YA novel about defying expectations and breaking free of the words that define you. Straddling the line between literary and commercial, it runs 74,000 words and should appeal to readers of Barry Lyga or Sara Zarr.

Nathan Bransford said...

Thanks, everyone! Check back later in the day for a critique.

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