At the same time Fonda was querying ZEROBOXER, she went to the Willamette Writers Conference and pitched several agents in person. She received four manuscript requests from the conference and another three from querying (out of around a dozen queries sent) and ended up with four offers of representation. She landed the amazing Jim McCarthy from Dystel & Goderich Literary Management (DGLM) and published with Flux / Llewellyn in April 2015.
If you have ZEROBOXER, you’ll notice how similar the query letter is to the final back cover copy of the book. The query letter formed the basis of the pitch that her agent submitted to editors, who then used it internally at the publishing house, and eventually the production team morphed it into the back copy. So love your query letter, because you may well be seeing some form of it on the back of your published novel.
Dear Mr. McCarthy,
Eighteen-year-old Carr “the Raptor” Luka is an athletic phenom, a rising star in the weightless combat sport of zeroboxing. Training and competing aboard the lunar orbiting city-station of Valtego (where It’s More Fun on the Dark Side TM), all he’s ever wanted is to win the championship title.
His talent and marketability don’t go unnoticed by the top brass of the Zero Gravity Fighting Association. They assign him a brandhelm; after all, anyone who wants to be anyone needs a dedicated personal marketing strategist. Beautiful and ambitious, Risha is one of the genetically engineered Martian colonists that Earth dwellers view with resentment and suspicion. It isn’t long before she’s made Carr into a popular celebrity, and stolen his heart along the way.
But success could be the worst thing that happens to them. As his fame grows, Carr must come to terms with the fact that he’s become an inspirational hero on Earth, a once-great planet now angry at falling into the shadow of its more prosperous colonies. When Carr learns of a far-reaching criminal scheme, he becomes the keeper of a devastating personal secret. Not only will his choices place into jeopardy everything he holds dear, they may spill the violence from the sports arena out into the solar system.
ZEROBOXER, complete at 82,000 words, is a dystopia-free upper young adult science fiction novel. I might pitch it as ‘MMA in space,’ ‘Rocky meets Gattaca,’ or a futuristic tale involving issues of sports celebrity, individual free will, and a marketing-driven society.
I am a recent winner of the SCBWI Oregon Newcomer Scholarship. I am also an avid martial artist; I have a black belt in karate and a brown belt in kung fu. My background is in business strategy and marketing, including five years spent as a senior manager of corporate strategy at Nike.
Thank you for considering representing my work.