The Query That Got Me Into Pitch Wars + The Query That Got Me An Agent and Book Deal

Because I’ve seen a lot of Pitch Wars mentors sharing their queries, I thought it’d be helpful for me to jump in and share, as well. I’ve got two for ya!

First up, the query that got me into Pitch Wars in 2016. This query and manuscript had a very high success rate, but ultimately wasn’t ready for an agent. It’s a dual POV sci-fi.

Dear Agent,

Seventeen-year-old Analeigh Hampton would rather rip out her eyes than
visit the Donor Center, the corporation that implanted them. But when
she and her father are invited to stay at Donor as a publicity stunt
for his political campaign, there’s no way to escape. After all,
everyone wants to see America’s once-blind sweetheart support the
corporation that granted her vision.

B24301, more commonly known as Black, is a donor. As he and his twin
sister near their eighteenth birthday, they eagerly await their
Dismissal: the promised life outside the Donor Center they’ve been
prepping for since birth. They take classes to keep their minds
active, eat well to protect their body, and go about life with the
belief this will allow them to exist in the outside world. But
Dismissal is only an illusion to keep the donors obedient. When a
donor turns eighteen, their body is chopped up and harvested for the
next buyer. What no one on the Outside knows, however, is the donors
are not the lab-grown specimens they’ve been led to believe. They’re
human.

As Analeigh and Black meet and realize the dark truths of the Donor
Center, Analeigh is left with a choice: ensure the Donor-dependent
society remains healthy and thriving by keeping her mouth shut, or
risk life as she knows it to protect her unsuspecting new friends.

Neal Shusterman’s UNWIND meets THE ISLAND in DONOR, a 77,000 word
young adult sci-fi.

I earned my BA in English Literature and studied storytelling as an
intern on The Legend of Korra at Nickelodeon Animation. I also worked
as the managing editor for a nonprofit newspaper while reviewing young
adult ARCs for Little, Brown.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

All the best,
Adalyn Grace
@AdalynGrace_

Next up is the query for the book that got me an offer of representation within 8 hours of querying, and 8 offers total. It’s for ALL THE STARS AND TEETH, my debut coming early 2020 from Macmillan/Imprint. I will say that this book has been through SO MANY EDITS since then, that I don’t think this query currently represents the story in its true form. But alas, here it is:

Dear Agent,

The adventure of MOANA meets the action of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN in ALL THE STARS AND TEETH, a 78,000 word Young Adult Fantasy.

The people of Amora’s home island worship strength. Every facet of the princess’ life, from who she’ll marry to how she trains, has been arranged to fortify her rule. To claim the title of heir, she must prove she’s mastered her island’s vicious soul magic in a bloody ritual demonstration before her people.

Though her father insists her ritual is the most important step to claiming her title, Amora yearns to know more about the magic and cultures of the kingdom’s other five islands before she ascends to the throne. For while her father claims otherwise, there are the rumors floating around that the kingdom is in a far worse state than she’s been led to believe. The king is hiding something, and Amora wants to find out what.

When Amora is consumed by magic and fails her demonstration, she flees her island to find answers and redemption. To do this, she must strike a deal with a cocky pirate named Bastian. He’ll help her explore the kingdom and its secrets, and in return she’ll help him regain his stolen magic. On their quest, the pair must face down legendary monsters, brutal mermaid enslavers, and Amora’s stow-away fiancé if they’re to reach the kingdom’s banished seventh island, where the king’s secrets await them.

I’m a literary agent intern at [Redacted] Agency. I earned my BA in English Literature, and studied storytelling as an intern on The Legend of Korra at Nickelodeon Animation. I worked as the managing editor for a nonprofit newspaper, have reviewed YA ARCs for Little, Brown, and was selected out of 1,800 of writers as 2016 Pitch Wars finalist.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

All the best,
Adalyn Grace
@AdalynGrace_

You can add ALL THE STARS AND TEETH on Goodreads, HERE.

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