This is my journey in creating concepts, writing, illustrating, finding a literary agent, and becoming a published children's book author and illustrator for the picture book genre.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Prepare to be queried...

Everyone needs a superhero...copywriter :)
Okay. Let's do this.
My query letter is ready.
I sent it to Gerald for editing. Our Super hero copy writer had fixed the glitches and checked it twice. I received my query within 24 hours of email submission. That was a quick turnaround. He attached a compliment or two with it. Thank you, Gerald!
The dream is still within my grasp. I can do this. I am an aspiring children's book author with a well written query letter to match my manuscript.
There are a slew of great internet sites with visual aides and query etiquette tips of the trade. I snatched up ideas from many of those who offered the free advice and comprised a format to best suit what I needed to say. Like a resume', I wanted it to be short and to the point. I assume that these agents and their assistants receive tons of queries. What makes mine so different? Well, brief and engaging is far easier to read than a lengthy query novel. In addition, there is a manuscript to read.    
 Below is my query letter. This is the body of it. I can change certain aspects of it to fit the submission requirements listed by the agent..
Cassaundra Dunbridge
*my address*
*my phone number*
*my email*
Aspiring Children's Author Blog

Dear (person to whom I am querying),

“Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.” Emily Post, 1872-1960

Andy the Ant is lost but not alone. As the wayward insect searches for his home, he meets a little green frog, Claire the fish, and a trio of bees who help him on his way while demonstrating the importance of using good manners. Andy must employ polite greetings, navigate introductions, and remember to use the phrases “please” and “thank you” if he wants to successfully complete his journey.  He is also learning a thing or two about being kind and helpful.

Andy the Ant, narrated in rhyme, is a 757 word picture book for preschool age children. Although it can stand alone, I intend Andy the Ant to be the first book in a series in which each volume will demonstrate a different aspect of manners and etiquette.

I am the mother of three young boys and have contended with the need to teach my sons good manners. After searching local libraries for picture books to help make the subject comprehensible as well as fun and engaging, I was left disappointed. I could not find any such books at an age appropriate level.  I am very passionate about the need to establish the fundamentals of good manners at an early age. A little ant by the name of Andy is helping me with this endeavor. 

I produced a working copy of Andy the Ant for use in storytelling sessions at a fair in southern California and at my eldest son’s preschool. The story held the attention of toddlers and preschool aged children in both venues and inspired interaction and role playing.

Included with this query is the complete manuscript as requested.  I also have created a complete set of illustrations and can provide them if you are interested.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Cassaundra Dunbridge

 Next step, let's send out some queries. HOORAY!!!!

 Wait? What? They want exclusivity? They may notify me in 6 weeks? Then again, they may not. What??? At the rate of sending one query every 6 weeks, my options are hindered greatly. Time will become my new enemy. My face will be glued to my email. My heart will leap every time the inbox number climbs by one.I am sorry. I can't get that worked up over every new email.
Okay, a new game plan is needed. Time to interview these agencies. I will examine one website at a time. I plan to identify the types and titles of books that have been picked up under their name. I shall investigate their statistics and the publisher they have sold to. I will research and read reviews on how they treat their author clients. By utilizing this time intensive process, I can asses if they are the right match for my needs as an author. This will take patience and fortitude. Somewhere, out there, there is a literary agent looking for my style and I am looking for their talents to promote my book. The dream is worth the persistence. So much depends on a query letter. 
A query format is a one sided approach to beginning a dialogue between the author and agent. Emily Post stated, "Ideal conversation must be an exchange of thought, and not, as many of those who worry most about their shortcomings believe, an eloquent exhibition of wit or oratory." I hoped to convey this in my query.   I wonder if Emily Post ever thought her wise words could be considered sage advice when creating and formatting a query letter? 
Literary agents, prepare to be queried!

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