Monday, December 25, 2017

Monday, December 18, 2017

Query Critique Winner

Patrice is the lucky winner of this month's query critique.  Yay, Patrice!  Below is her original query:

Dear Ms. Pestritto,
Before my 2,000-mile walk across New Zealand, I did not expect to encounter electric fences with barbed wire, knee-deep mud, life-threatening tides and more sheep than people. Now, I long for those things.

Between Each Step: A Married Couple’s Thru Hike On New Zealand’s Te Araroa, is a 62,000-word completed travel memoir that will appeal universally to backpackers and armchair adventurers hungry for trail life in an exotic locale.

Through Between Each Step, readers will feel every blister, see every view on Te Araroa and be warmed by the hospitality of the Kiwi people that my husband and I encountered during our 2014-2015 thru hike. This book is a play-by-play of trail life, a tour of New Zealand and a peek into an unconventional marriage. My lighthearted writing offers a seasoned backpacker’s perspective on a rugged trail that is gaining notoriety. The very personal and immediate tone allows readers to be in my head as if the challenges and rewards were their own. Readers will learn that the newly created trail isn’t perfect, but a slow, methodical plod on foot from one end of New Zealand to the other is a surefire way to experience the country’s natural environment, culture, history and people.

In 2011, New Zealand opened the continuous footpath, stretching roughly 2,000 miles from the top of the North Island to the bottom of the South Island. A mere thirty people attempted Te Araroa the year it opened. Currently, there are more than 300 Te Araroa walkers making their attempt for the 2017-18 season.

Given Te Araroa is a subject matter barely covered as a travel memoir and exploding in popularity among backpackers, Between Each Step: A Married Couple’s Thru Hike On New Zealand’s Te Araroa willentice a widespread audience. Besides the thousands of thru and section hikers who have walked on Te Araroa during its five years of existence, there are many more at home dreaming of visiting New Zealand. Statistics from the Outdoor Recreation Participation Topline Report show that more than 10 million people went backpacking in 2016.

Writing and backpacking are equally important passions for me. As a freelance writer, my 20-year writing profile is versatile—from health care news reporting to magazine features. I have more than 6,000 trail miles under my (hip)belt and have been a public speaker and writer for Backpacker Magazine. Previously I’ve published articles and blog posts for gear companies, as well as given presentations, on New Zealand’s Te Araroa, establishing myself as an authority on the international trail. I plan to continue this momentum to actively promote and boost sales of my travel memoir using a number of marketing tactics.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration. I would love to send you a full book proposal and sample chapters, if you are interested. Happy holidays and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,
Patrice

And here is my critique:

Dear Ms. Pestritto,


Before my 2,000-mile walk across New Zealand, I did not expect to encounter electric fences with barbed wire, knee-deep mud, life-threatening tides and more sheep than people. Now, I long for those things. [Instead of this opening, which feels very general, I would include something more personal to you experience and exciting!  The added part in blue I am making up, since I am not familiar with your story, but you'll get the idea of what I mean.] It had been over a month since we first began our impetuous adventure hiking Te Araroa, and besides my husband, the only others on the trail were sheep.  The sweeping, wild backdrops were like a balm to my soul and an indicator of just how life-changing this experience would be. 

Between Each Step: A Married Couple’s Thru Hike On New Zealand’s Te Araroa, is a 62,000-word completed travel memoir that will appeal universally to backpackers and armchair adventurers hungry for trail life in an exotic locale.  In 2011, New Zealand opened the continuous footpath, stretching roughly 2,000 miles from the top of the North Island to the bottom of the South Island. A mere thirty people attempted Te Araroa the year it opened. Currently, there are more than 300 Te Araroa walkers making their attempt for the 2017-18 season. 

Through Between Each Step, readers will feel every blister, see every view on Te Araroa and be warmed by the hospitality of the Kiwi people that my husband and I encountered during our 2014-2015 thru hike. This book is a play-by-play of trail life, a tour of New Zealand and a peek into an unconventional marriage. My lighthearted writing offers a seasoned backpacker’s perspective on a rugged trail that is gaining notoriety. The very personal and immediate tone allows readers to be in my head as if the challenges and rewards were their own. Readers will learn that the newly created trail isn’t perfect, but a slow, methodical plod on foot from one end of New Zealand to the other is a surefire way to experience the country’s natural environment, culture, history and people. [This also is too general.  Instead of telling me about the memoir here, give me specific examples of what I will read.] My lighthearted writing offers a seasoned backpacker’s perspective on a rugged trail that is gaining notoriety.  Our trip along Te Araroa is one that readers will eagerly devour.  From spending time hunting with the Kiwi people, to nearly drowning in the middle of the night, we experience many physical challenges and spiritual realizations a la Cheryl Strayed's WILD. 
In 2011, New Zealand opened the continuous footpath, stretching roughly 2,000 miles from the top of the North Island to the bottom of the South Island. A mere thirty people attempted Te Araroa the year it opened. Currently, there are more than 300 Te Araroa walkers making their attempt for the 2017-18 season. [I moved this sooner.] 

Given Te Araroa is a subject matter barely covered as a travel memoir and exploding in popularity among backpackers, Between Each Step: A Married Couple’s Thru Hike On New Zealand’s Te Araroa will entice a widespread audience. Besides the thousands of thru and section hikers who have walked on Te Araroa during its five years of existence, there are many more at home dreaming of visiting New Zealand. Statistics from the Outdoor Recreation Participation Topline Report show that more than 10 million people went backpacking in 2016. [This would also be an excellent place to include comp titles to show other popular books in this genre that have done well in the market!] 

Writing and backpacking are equally important passions for me. As a freelance writer, my 20-year writing profile is versatile—from health care news reporting to magazine features. I have more than 6,000 trail miles under my (hip)belt and have been a public speaker and writer for Backpacker Magazine. Previously I’ve published articles and blog posts for gear companies, as well as given presentations, on New Zealand’s Te Araroa, establishing myself as an authority on the international trail. I plan to continue this momentum to actively promote and boost sales of my travel memoir using a number of marketing tactics. 
Thank you so much for your time and consideration. I would love to send you a full book proposal and sample chapters, if you are interested. Happy holidays and I look forward to hearing from you soon.  

Sincerely,Patrice


I like the substance of this query a lot but, as you will see in my notes, I feel like it currently reads a bit too long and a bit too general.  I want to get more personal examples of the book and of what you experience, so that I know how the memoir will read and am compelled to ask for more.  I hope my thoughts are helpful--you have a good start and I think adding more detail and trimming extraneous telling will bring it to the next level!

Best of luck!  And everyone, chime in with comments below!

Monday, December 11, 2017

This Is My Year

As my brain slowly shuts down, signaling the end of the year, I have to share what an exciting one it has been!  Each year is stronger than the last, and I am THRILLED to say that this year was the best year yet, with deals for:

Suzy Quinn
MOTHER WARNED YOU (first stage)
Hooked App
Lauren Smith
FALLING FOR HADES (first stage)
Hooked App
Kalyn Josephson
A CROWN OF CROWS 1&2
Sourcebooks Fire
Jillian Quinn
Face-Off series 1-4
Tantor (Audio)
Suzy Quinn
BAD MOTHER’S DIARY 1
Konyvmolykepzo (Foreign)
Nicole Trilivas
CATFISHING IN PARIS (first stage)
Hooked App
Suzy Quinn
THE LOVE QUESTIONS (first stage)
Hooked App
Katherine Fleet
THE NIGHT WE MET
Page Street
Lauren Smith
THE ROGUE'S SEDUCTION
Tantor (Audio)
Lauren Smith
THE SHADOWS OF STORMCLYFFE HALL
Tantor (Audio)
Lauren Smith
HIS WICKED EMBRACE
Tantor (Audio)
Jenna Pocius
Robyn Hood series
ABDO
Suzy Quinn
BAD MOTHER'S DIARY 1
Balto Trader UAB (Foreign)
Anne O'Brien Carelli
SKYLARK AND WALLCREEPER
Little Bee
Rie Neal
MAJOR EIGHTS, Books 5&6
Little Bee
Lauren Smith
THE HAUNTING OF ROSEWOOD HOUSE (first stage)
Hooked App
Heather Stone
HARD BALL
Audible (Audio)
Suzy Quinn
BAD MOTHER'S DIARY 1&2
J'ai Lu (Foreign)
Suzy Quinn
BAD MOTHER'S DIARY 1
Alpress (Foreign)
Tara Deliberto
BITE
New Harbinger
Suzy Quinn
BAD MOTHER'S DIARY 1&2
Goldmann (Foreign)
Suzy Quinn
The Ivy Lessons series
Audible (Audio)
Taylor Zajonc
THE IRON ISLANDS
ABDO
Susan Blumberg Kason
HONG KONG NOIR
Akashic Books
Lynn Flores
Erotic Mythology Short Stories
Cleis Press
Shauna Holyoak
MY PAPER ROUTE AND OTHER DEADLY THINGS
Disney
Taylor Zajonc
THE MAW
Skyhorse
Janice Broyles
THE SECRET HEIR
Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas
Dean Haycock
TYRANTS
Pegasus
Erin Peabody
THE MAKING OF AN EMPIRE
Stephen David Entertainment
Lauren Smith
LEGALLY CHARMING
Tantor

High five, everyone!!! 🙋

Team Carrie also had lots of releases in 2017, with some pretty awesome reviews and achievements (I'm looking at you Lauren Smith, USA Today bestseller!): 

Shana Figueroa
RETRIBUTION
Forever Yours
2/7/2017
Lauren Smith
Wicked Rivals series, Books 1&2 audio
Tantor
2/13/2017
Suzanne Kamata
THE MERMAIDS OF LAKE MICHIGAN
Wyatt-MacKenzie
2/14/2017
Taylor Zajonc
RED SUN ROGUE
Blank Slate Press
2/28/2017
Beth Ellyn Summer
AT FIRST BLUSH
Bloomsbury Spark
4/4/2017
Charles Maynard
I AM A SECRET SERVICE AGENT
St Martins Griffin
6/6/2017
Erin Peabody
Behind the Legend series, Books 1-4
Little Bee
6/13/2017 and 9/26/2017
Dan Newman
THE JOURNALIST
Diversion Books
6/20/2017
Brianna DuMont
WEIRD BUT TRUE KNOW-IT-ALL: US PRESIDENTS
National Geographic
7/4/2017
Shana Figueroa
RECKONING
Forever Yours
7/11/2017
Lauren Smith
AN EARLY BY ANY OTHER NAME
Forever Yours
8/1/2017
Alana Delacroix
MASKED POSSESSION
Kensington Lyrical
8/8/2017
Meghan Masterson
THE WARDROBE MISTRESS
St Martins Press
8/15/2017
Lauren Smith
A GENTLEMAN NEVER SURRENDERS
Forever Yours
9/12/2017
Lauren Smith
GRIGORI
SMP Swerve
10/3/2017
Dorcas Cheng-Tozun
START, LOVE, REPEAT
Hachette Center St
11/7/2017
Lauren Smith
A SCOTTISH LORD FOR CHRISTMAS
Forever Yours
12/5/2017


2017 has been a big year of deals, books publishing, and much more.  I can’t wait for 2018, which I’m hoping with be my supernova year!!!