With Anna Hecker's WHEN THE BEAT DROPS just two weeks away (omg!), I wanted to share her fantastic query letter, for those of you who are out there pitching.
I did this with Samira Ahmed's query, and a lot of you seemed to like it! So, let's do it again!
If you find Anna's query helpful, feel free to pre-order (or order, if you're reading this sometimes in the future) her book! It's available wherever books are sold, and of course, on:
Anna's query came to me where most projects do... in the query box! And on my birthday (best present ever). Those of you who think it's impossible to catch an agent's eye the old school way, you're wrong. Cold pitching works!
Let's dig into this, and talk about why it's such a great query letter.
Since you seem to have a special place in your heart for the intersection of heart-pounding music and YA lit, I thought you might be interested in WHEN THE BEAT DROPS, a coming-of-age story set in the Electronic Dance Music scene.
In When the Beat Drops, introverted jazz nerd Mira wants nothing more than to ace her audition to the prestigious Fulton Jazz Conservatory. She plans to spend her summer practicing trumpet and composition, but her popular older sister drags her into a different world: one of underground warehouse parties and packed music festivals, endless beats and outsized personalities. Mira falls in love with the music (and with Derek, a gorgeous 21-year-old promoter with an interest in her burgeoning DJ skills), but her sister’s more into taking molly and partying all night.
With her conservatory audition looming and her DJ career blowing up, Mira needs to choose between the dream she’s always wanted and the one that could make her a star…and find a way to slow her sister’s roll before it’s too late.
This 75,000-word YA contemporary is Pitch Perfect meets This Song Will Save Your Life, set against the gritty, glittery and wildly popular backdrop of EDM.
I’m looking for a partner who can help me grow my career with original works in both YA and up-market women’s fiction. You’ve mentioned that you love contemporary that can make you cry, and I’d like to think that this could eke out a few tears (and maybe a little laughter, too).
I’m thrilled about what the future might hold!
Okay! So, why does this work?
In that very first paragraph, she specifically digs into my particular interests. I do love music-filled YA reads, and can be frequently seen tweeting about my favorites. So, right away, she dishes why I might be interested, and shows that she's done her agent research.
She sums up the story SO nicely, in just two quick paragraphs, and then follows up with an EXCELLENT hook.
"This 75,000-word YA contemporary is Pitch Perfect meets This Song Will Save Your Life, set against the gritty, glittery and wildly popular backdrop of EDM." - So here, we've got the word count, the category, and the genre, as well as some PERFECT comparative titles. Great example of a solid hook there.
And again, she wraps it up with a bit about why this book might be perfect for me. There was a bio section here, but I snipped it, due to some discussion about her ghostwriting work.
Note, you should TOTALLY mention that sort of stuff. It shows an agent that you've got those writing chops! But, I'm not going to publish that part of Anna's letter here, for very obvious reasons. Sorry!
So, let's break it down.
The Hook: Has a great one.
The Book: Sums up the entire novel in two paragraphs.
The Cook: Redacted for the blog, but detailed her writing experience.
There you have it. Perfect pitch!