Hi friends! Many writers will tell you that writing a query letter takes an entirely different skillset than writing a book. I’ve found that to be true as well. As such, I know one thing that really influenced my ability to write query letters was reading successful query letters other authors had written. For this reason, I’m posting here the query letters for two different books I’ve written and queried. Both of these letters got me offers of representation from literary agents and the first also received two offers of publication from small presses. You can read more about why I queried two books simultaneously here.
While I’m just putting the text of the queries themselves here, I plan to do a deeper breakdown of each one in a following post. You can follow me on my social media channels to make sure you are updated when that post drops! For now, I hope you enjoy reading my queries.
Note that any text in brackets  is text that I personalized depending on which agent I sent the query to.
Blood Beneath the Snow (YA Fantasy)
Win, and take the crown.
The Bloodshed Trials are fast approaching. Without magic, eighteen-year-old Revna is banned from participating. But when her father sentences her two best friends to certain death, she presents him with an ultimatum he can’t ignore: she will refuse her arranged marriage and the war alliance that comes with it unless she is permitted to compete for the crown.
Lose, and have your throat slit by your own brother.
Revna stands no chance against older brothers with magical abilities. But she will not back down, even if it means her martyrdom. When she is kidnapped by a masked soldier on the other side of the war, she thinks her conquest is over before it began—until he reveals that he wants to help her take the throne. Despite her best efforts, she begins to fall for him. And to her surprise, she discovers there are others who want her on the throne for their own furtive reasons. As the Trials draw closer and her enemies appear to be her only remaining confidants, Revna must decide who is truly her ally. One misstep means brutal death for her and everyone she loves.
BLOOD BENEATH THE SNOW is a YA fantasy novel complete at 86,000 words. It will appeal to fans of the complicated family dynamics and political intrigue in THREE DARK CROWNS by Kendare Blake and the powerful friendships and forbidden romance of BONE CRIER’S MOON by Kathryn Purdie. This novel has series potential and features a cast diverse in race, sexuality, and gender identity. [Specific reason for querying that agent goes here]
As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I strive to include accurate representation of sexuality and gender in every book I write, regardless of whether or not identity is a main theme of the text. I have a B.A. in English with a minor in creative writing. I worked on editing this novel with #1 NYT Bestselling Author Kathryn Purdie at the 2020 Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers Conference. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Alex Kennington (she/her)
The Minotaur Project (YA Science Fiction)
After reviewing your MSWL and seeing you’re on the lookout for [manuscripts featuring queer romance, female friendships, and explorations of familial relationships,] I am happy to share THE MINOTAUR PROJECT (91,000), a young adult, science fiction, sapphic retelling of the Greek myth of Theseus and Ariadne. Told from two first-person points of view, the novel will appeal to fans of the body horror in WILDER GIRLS by Rory Power and the romance between two girls from different worlds in CITY OF SHATTERED LIGHT by Claire Winn. The novel is intended to be the first in a duology.
Rebellious Ari guards two secrets with her life: she is lesbian and she is responsible for the toxic gas leak that killed her brother and forced her father’s cult following to evacuate their spaceport home. Now, as the survivors travel the galaxy hoping to find God, Ari struggles to assuage her guilt over leaving Christos behind to die. When she receives encrypted messages that could only be from him, she travels to the now-abandoned spaceport to search for Christos, who she believes is still alive.
Bounty hunter Thea never imagined being a trained killer, but she’s willing to get her hands dirty if it keeps her sister safe. But her latest bounty–the runaway daughter of a cult leader–has offered a deal she can’t refuse: help her search an abandoned spaceport for her brother and earn double the reward upon their safe return. At the thought of enough money to secure her and her sister’s future, Thea agrees to spend 24 hours searching before returning her prisoner, with or without her bonus prize.
While they comb the spaceport for Ari’s brother, they come face-to-face with animated corpses that will stop at nothing to kill them. As they battle the creatures and their undeniable attraction to each other, they begin to realize that their traumatic pasts are intertwined in more ways than one. Now, they must unravel their connection and discover the truth about what happened on the day of the evacuation—before their bodies are left behind to become the very monsters hunting them.
I have a B.A. in English. I attended the Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers conference in 2020 and worked with #1 New York Times bestselling author Kathryn Purdie to polish a previous manuscript. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I strive to represent all genders and sexualities in my work. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Alex Kennington (she/her)
Content warning: This manuscript contains on-page examples of homophobia towards queer characters and features elements of religious abuse that may be triggering to some readers.
There you have it! I hope you find something worthwhile from reading my query letters. If you have any specific questions about them, slide into my social media DMs and I’d be happy to help out!
To authors querying right now: the trenches are hard. But please don’t let discouragement keep you from believing that you deserve good things on your publishing journey.