Saturday, August 23, 2014

Another Successful Quiet Query

Since yesterday's successful query post seemed so helpful (I feel your pain, quiet contemporary writers!) I thought I'd post another. This was a previous manuscript that did not get me my agent - but it did get me 13 requests. So it did what a query is supposed to do - got the agents to read more. 

It also shows you how I focused the query on one main character, though the manuscript is, in fact, dual POV. (That is made clear at the end of the query.) I had one version of the query that focused on both girls, and it also got requests, but ultimately I preferred this one. Let me know if you have questions!

Twelve-year-old Marisol Higgins never really thought all that much about her mother’s homeland of Guatemala. But when she discovers that her dearly departed mom might not be so departed after all, Marisol has got to find out more. Especially when all signs indicate her mom must be in Guatemala.

So when Marisol finds out her dad is about to turn down an opportunity to study Guatemalan volcanoes for a year—complete with an invitation for her to tag along—she goes ninja and makes it happen. What better way to find her mom and get some answers? (Even if Marisol’s dad keeps acting like the peanut butter jar on the mantle really is filled with her mother’s ashes.)

But finding her mom isn’t as easy as Marisol thought it would be. Once she’s in the land of the Maya, she’s confronted with language barriers, attack kissers, unpredictable downpours, and the harsh realities of the Guatemala City slums. Not to mention a father who seems determined to keep her away from her own mother—if she can ever find her, that is.

NOWHERE BIRDS is a 40,000-word contemporary novel for middle grade readers, which interweaves Marisol’s story with glimpses into the life of Luz, a girl journeying from the Guatemalan slums to Marisol’s Southern California town. Eventually, their vastly different worlds collide.


  1. Hi Joy, this is so helpful to me on my dual-POV query. Thanks for sharing! I really like how you ended it with a punch. Not only did your opening hook me, but the ending left me wanting more!

    Shari Schwarz

    1. So glad it was helpful! Dual POV is so tricky - I love it, though, personally!