I've queried fifty-six agents. Five requested my full manuscript. They all passed. I now have these questions: Regarding my MC's name, I know your mind turns to CODE NAME VERITY. This isn't what I want. But, I want to use the name and there's an etymological reason. Is this foolish? Should I mention that the novel is told in two points of view? Would it be relevant to mention my writer's group in my bio? And should I include my published novel even though it didn't achieve robust sales?
Dear Query Shark,
Sixteen-year-old Verity Callahan has the ability to know the true answer to every question she's asked. When she was fourteen, she learned minutes before it happened that her father would die in a car crash — and yet, she failed to save him.
She's tried to bury her ability, but now it's manifesting in new ways. She's burdened with more information than ever before. What's worse, she's compelled to blurt it all out. She never asked for this. She wants to be normal.
Her younger brother Lucas Callahan is an empath whose power is growing. He will manipulate anyone's emotions to get what he wants: access to the best Ivy League institutions and a life of power and prestige. And once he understands what Verity can do, he imagines all they could do together.
But Verity has found happiness with her new boyfriend, Will McConnall. Lucas wants Verity and her abilities under his control. Realizing he'll never get that with Will in her life, Lucas devises a drastic plan to eliminate him.
By answering one fateful question after another, Verity learns of Lucas's scheme. She must hone the very abilities she detests to thwart Lucas's plot, or lose Will forever and become Lucas's puppet.
TRUTH BE TOLD, a young adult contemporary fantasy novel, is 101,000 words.
My first novel, (title), was published by (press name) in 2009. I wrote the novel while earning a master's degree in creative writing at (named) College. I completed the Creative Writing Summer Programme at the University of (other name).
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Regarding your questions:
I've queried fifty-six agents. Five requested my full manuscript. They all passed. I now have these questions: Regarding my MC's name, I know your mind turns to CODE NAME VERITY. This isn't what I want. But, I want to use the name and there's an etymological reason. Is this foolish?
No. Verity is a fine, old-fashioned name.
Should I mention that the novel is told in two points of view?
It doesn't matter.
Would it be relevant to mention my writer's group in my bio?
No. Your writers group is absolutely irrelevant.
And should I include my published novel even though it didn't achieve robust sales?
And here's the answer to the question you didn't ask: what's wrong with my query.
Nothing. You're getting requests. The agents are passing after they've read the ms. That means you have a problem in the manuscript, not the query.
There are a couple of ways to work on that. All of them are going to require some financial investment. You can engage an outside editor to look at your novel and identify areas that need to be revised. You can enroll in a class about novel writing. Grub Street in Boston offers these. You can bid on (and win!) an auction item wherein an agent offers a manuscript critique.
When you're considering who to work with look for actual, and recent experience in trade publishing on the acquisitions side of things. You need help from people actually in the publishing trenches, because what agents want is a book they can sell.
Your query has done her job. Time for the manuscript to step up.