New York Times Best Seller, Jennifer A. Nielsen got her start with this query letter (see below) for ELLIOT AND THE GOBLIN WAR. It resulted in a contract with Ammi-Joan Paquette from Erin Murphy Literary Agency and Sourcebooks Jabberwocky. Jenifer continues to be represented by Ammi-Joan and went on to publish the INFINITY RING series and her best selling ASCENDANCE TRILOGY: THE FALSE PRINCE — both with Scholastic. Her newest book, MARK OF THE THIEF, comes out February 24, 2015.
On a personal note, I reached out to Jennifer several years ago via email before THE FALSE PRINCE became a best seller and was amazed that not only did she take the time to respond back to me, but that she went on to provide a detailed critique of a first chapter I had sent her. Now I recognize that would probably not be as likely today given the increased demands and the volume of fan email she receives, but I want to make the point that Jennifer has always been about giving back to the writing community. She even took time recently to council me on my publishing options as I get ready to meet with an agent from Trident Media Group. My hat goes off to Jennifer. I will always buy her books–not just because she’s a brilliant story teller–but because she’s an amazing, warm, and personable human being. She even wondered if her query letter would be of value to anyone and hesitated for several weeks before finally sending it to me. That’s just the kind of person she is–and the kind of author I’m trying to emulate as my writing career takes off.
At the end of last month you invited me to query you based on a post I had made to the Teen Lit Authors Group. My revisions are complete (if they can ever be considered as such) and I am seeking representation for my 30,300-word middle grade novel, The Underworld Chronicles: Elliot and the Goblin War. It is a mass market, boy-friendly adventure that will make you laugh out loud, with the adventure of the Fablehavenseries, and humor in a vein similar to A Series of Unfortunate Events.
The Underworld Chronicles tells the story of 11-year-old Elliot Penster, who accidentally becomes King of the Brownies. Normally, being a ruler in the underworld isn’t much more complicated than double-digit multiplication. However, that was before the Goblins went to war against the Brownies. Elliot thought he had everything under control…until his house blew up.
The Underworld Chronicles will work as a standalone story, but has excellent series potential. (In fact, I’ve begun to outline the next story, which unfortunately, makes Elliot’s life a lot more like the dreaded four-digit multiplication.) It teaches children that everyone has it within them to become a hero. It also has the highly-coveted instructions for making turnip juice, which I’m confident will become a fad any day now.
I am a former teacher and have worked with children throughout my life. I am also an award-winning member of the League of Utah Writers, proofreader for a youth wilderness program service, and freelance writer for a multimedia production company.
I have included the first ten pages below and hope you will be interested in seeing the entire manuscript. The Erin Murphy Agency is among the finest for representing children’s literature. It speaks highly to your qualifications that you are now an associate agent there.
Thanks for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.
Jennifer A. Nielsen