My Query and a Chat With My Agent

Many of you have been asking to see my query letter. Well, today's the day. To see the Air Pirates query, along with comments from myself and Matt MacNish, go visit Matt's blog. (If you'd like to read the query without comments, I've pasted it below).

But wait, there's more! To read more about Air Pirates, how it came to be and why my agent likes it, head over to Krista V's blog (wherein also my agent makes MY NEW FAVORITEST COMPARISON EVER).

What are you still doing here? Get thee to Matt and Krista's blogs!

Oh right, the query:
For Hagai's 17th birthday, he receives a stone from his mother that shows visions of the future. The thing is, Hagai thought his mother was killed ten years ago.

The bravest thing Hagai's ever done is put peppers in his stew, but when the stone shows his mother alive and in danger, he sets out to find her. Air pirates are hunting the stone too, and it's not long before a young pirate named Sam nicks it. Hagai tracks Sam down and demands the stone back--politely, of course, because Sam's got a knife.

Oddly, Sam offers him a job. He needs someone non-threatening to consult a seer hiding among the monks, and he reckons Hagai is as non-threatening as they come. Hagai agrees, intending to turn Sam in at the first opportunity. But when the seer says Sam is the key to finding his mother, Hagai chooses his mother's life over the law.

Though Sam has the Imperial Navy and the world's most ruthless pirate on his keel, Hagai joins Sam's crew, headed toward some godforsaken island he's never heard of. He doesn't trust Sam, and the stone haunts Hagai with visions of his own death. Nonetheless, he's determined to change the future and find his mother, if it's not already too late.

AIR PIRATES is an 84,000-word YA steampunk adventure, set in an alternate world. I think it would appeal to readers of Scott Westerfeld's LEVIATHAN trilogy. My short story "Pawn's Gambit," set in the same world as AIR PIRATES, has appeared in BENEATH CEASELESS SKIES and THE BEST OF BENEATH CEASELESS SKIES, YEAR TWO anthology.

10 comments:

Matthew MacNish said...

Dude, I didn't even know who Malcolm Reynolds was, until I looked it up, but that was still an awesome comparison.

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

i've already hit Matt's blog this morning and now i'm on my way over to krista's!

Iliadfan said...

Fortuitous! I've spent the last couple of days on Query Shark, and none of those I've read so far have been for SF/F.

Jack Sparrow, Gandalf AND Mal?! I think yours will be the first steampunk book I read (I read "Pawn's Gambit" awhile back and I was seriously impressed).

jjdebenedictis said...

This is great! I really like the improvements you made since the Query Goblin version! I can totally see why this query garnered agent interest.

Angela Brown said...

I loved the back and forth you and Matt did in breaking down your successful query. There's a lot to learn from it. Thank you very much for sharing it.

Peggy Eddleman said...

Jack Sparrow and Malcolm Reynolds and Gandalf the White all wrapped up together in a bow? Holy cow! Seriously? I think I could die of happiness with that. Wow. So great to read all the wonderful things your agent said! So very cool.

Ellis Shuman said...

Very interesting information, Adam! I read the interaction on the query and the interview with your agent.

Now, good luck getting the book published!

Charlie Holmberg said...

Dude, were you at the pitch session at Renovation? Because I swear I heard this before...

Adam Heine said...

@Charlie: I've never been to any conference in my life (my location and day job kind of precludes it). If you've heard it, it might be at one of the dozens of query critique sites around the web. I've been on almost all of them :-)

Nancy Thompson said...

Oh man! I canNOT believe I missed this the other day! Too wrapped up in life's cruel joke, I guess.

Well, Adam, I love this query. I read it first over at Matthew's. But then, I thought, hey, I know this story from somewhere. And I realized I had read a query for this story probably more than a year ago on Nathan Bransford's site. At least I think I did. I liked it then, too.

It's so inspiring to read the success stories of other writers. And I know your agent will sell this soon. Thanks for sharing it. Reading successful queries helps those of us who haven't landed that elusive agent yet. You give us hope. Well done!!