A Starter’s Guide For Fiction Writers Trying To “Establish A Social Media Presence” Part 4

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Part 4: Visual Social Media

Three weeks ago, I shared my descent into social media and my guiding philosophies for interacting with others on the internet. Two weeks ago, I discussed the generals about creating a website and starting a blog. Last week, I discussed Facebook, Twitter, and hashtags.

Today? I’ll be discussing The visual social mediums!



On this social media, you share an image, with a short caption and some hashtags.

Once again, I recommend using the same name, profile picture, and short biography as you do on your Facebook and/or Twitter, for that all important brand consistency.

This is a good, low-intensity entrance to social media to anyone with a smartphone or iPad. Posting 1-3 times a week is a good rate of interaction.

You can also comment on and ❤ other people’s photos.

Typically, you share a photo that you’ve taken, but you can also create images or share memes here. It’s really not set up to let you add images from a computer, though, so a camera-enabled wifi/data enabled device is required.

It easily syncs with most other social medias, sharing the links for you.

  • Personally? I reshare to Facebook, but I copy and repost to Twitter and Tumblr, because I want people to see the image, not a link back to Instagram. I *think* you see the image on phones/etc, but they’re hidden on

Uploading Images:


Step One:

When you go to upload an image, your current camera gallery will load on default. Whichever image you select will be cropped into a square. You can pinch the screen, to zoom in or out and try to recenter the image, but if it doesn’t fill the square, preview images will clip the edges.

You can do multiple pictures, either in a collage or as a set people can scroll sideways through.

Or! You can upload a video.



Step 2:

The app gives you a LOT of editing tools. I usually leave them alone, but you can swype to the left on the tools row for all the options.

You can change the color, saturation, brightness, focus, contrast, just for starters!



Step 3:20180321_211626.gif

The app provides a LOT of filters to select from.

They’re preset configurations for all the edit options from the previous tab. You can pick one, and then customize it by selecting the EDIT tab on the bottom left.

Typically, it’s suggested to find 1-3 filters you really like and stick with them, for that all-important BRAND idea. That way, when looked at en masse, your images will mesh well together.

NOTE: You can always hit the back arrow if you want to adjust the cropping.

Step 4:post_instagram

This is where you add the details:

  • captions
  • hashtags
  • tag people (@username)
  • tag locations (if Location is turned on, it can auto-sense these.
  • select the social medias to which you wish to cross-post

Instagram Community: Hashtags and Photo Ideas

As with Twitter, it will show you the popularity of any hashtag you start to type and autocomplete your most commonly used ones.

Some recommended hashtags are (hat tip to Alejandras Life):

  • #writersOfInstagram (selfies, or pictures of your work)
  • #amWriting (pictures of your work, or you working)
  • #amReading (pictures of the book your reading)
  • #TBR (pictures of what you’re reading next)
  • #writersLife (selfies, behind-the-scenes shots)
  • #wordPorn (images of quotes– from others or from your own writing)
  • #writersBlock (pictures of what’re you doing while blocked)
  • #amEditing (you know, what 90% of your writing consists of…)
  • #writersFollowWriters – (a recent tag, to introduce yourself to other writers and find people to follow and support!)
  • #noFilter – a way to brag about a picture that turned out great, and didn’t need any help

Images Used Elsewhere

After I drafted this post, I went to look at my feed and saw that my local news channel had asked to use a photo I’d posted on Instagram, and cross-posted to Twitter today. And offered accreditation

I swear, I’d already drafted the rest of this post before she asked.

So… that’s a thing that can happen. And… she opted not to. Maybe she’ll use it later this week?



This is a social media where, as you browse the internet and see pretty pictures, you can click to save them to a Pinterest folder.

You can ‘follow’ people and see what images they save, and they can do the same for your boards. There’s also a direct message option, but I haven’t been bombarded with spammers, so it’s relatively safe.

Once again, you’re going to want a pretty consistent name, profile picture, and bio. Then, if you’re like me, you’re going to want to organize your “Pins”, the images you’re saving.

So, you can create different ‘boards’ to pin images to. You can have private boards, friends only, or public boards. Many people use them for consolidating remodeling ideas, wedding planning, or suggested styles for clothing subscription services.

The general theme is that you’re “pinning” the images up, as if to a bulletin ‘board’, so you can see them all at once.

The Plugin


How do you save all these images?

With the quick installation of the plugin (a bit of code that makes the Pinterest logo show up when your mouse is hovering over an image, or when you tap-and-hold an image for a touchscreen), all you have to do is select that logo and a pop-up will ask you which ‘board’ you’d like to save the image to.

Ways to Use Pinterest as a Writer

I set up boards for inspirational actors/models for my characters, locations, and clothing and left Pinterest alone for a year. These are helpful for ME when writing since I tend to be somewhat less visually focused.

I’ve recently got back into Pinterest. These days, I’m also posting and/or resharing:

  • memes
  • blog post images with link-backs to my posts!
  • pictures of books I’m reading

You can browse Pinterest, or anywhere on the internet, look for images you like, and pin them to your own boards.

Use hashtags as before, but the visual is what really sells things.

The internet, especially on smartphones, is a very visual place. It’s far easier to ‘like’ a picture than write a comment.

As entries to social media, Instagram and Pinterest involve the least amount of time and effort on your behalf. Plus, they’re both used (especially Instagram) by young adults.

So, for those of us who write YA, it’s a good idea to establish a presence on a media that your future audience actually uses.


Morgan’s 200th BlogPost-aganza!

One Month Shy Of 3 Years…

Today, I’m celebrating my 200th blog post!

When I first started this blog, I imagined a handful of posts, just enough so that my author website wasn’t an empty wasteland.

200 posts later, I’m still going, stronger than ever.

In honor of my 200th blog post, I’d like to invite you to introduce yourself! If you have one, share YOUR blog with me! Tell me what you’ve been up to and what you blog.

#9 Query Corner: ‘Trail To Testament’

Welcome to:


Morgan’s Query Corner:

Answering Your Query Quandaries

NOTE: If you submit your query to me (morgan.s.hazelwood@gmail.com), and you are selected for inclusion, I will give you a high-level review, in-line feedback, and my own draft of your query. If this is your query, feel free to use or ignore as much of the advice and suggestions as you wish.

[Disclaimer: Any query selected for the page will be posted on this website for perpetuity. I am an amateur with no actual accepted queries and a good number of form rejections. This does not guarantee an agent or even an amazing query, just a new take by someone who’s read The Query Shark archives twice and enjoys playing with queries.]


“Trail To Testament” is a historical/contemporary fantasy. When Union veteran Theodore Benjamin arrives home to find his family slaughtered and cannibalized, he sets out on a mission of revenge, never knowing his path would lead him to become Ben, the street-folk-hero of the modern-day streets of Testament, New York.

Overall Impression:

I love the plot and am curious about his life-span! It makes me want to read more.

My only comments are:

  • Organizationally, the query is a little off. It should be addressed and formatted like a business email.
  • Pick ONE genre. I’m trying to decide what your novel is: historical fantasy? Contemporary fantasy? saga? Gothic fantasy? Supernatural horror? Don’t make something up, they need to know how to market it. decide where in the bookstore you want your book to be put. Who should its neighbors be?
  • Novellas/ novelettes are hard to market, so emphasizing that portion of the novel is unlikely to be motivating to an agent.
  • 120,000 is the upper limit of a novel from a non-established author. Is there anywhere you can cut?

The Original:

[my comments are in blue/italics/brackets]
[Need to address the letter and left align everything.]

Trail to Testament [Working Title]


          In 1866, Theodore Benjamin returned home as a Union Civil War veteran to find his wife, daughter and infant son horribly murdered and cannibalized. [WOW! I’m pulled in, sympathetic for the main character, and we have setting and motivation just like that.]

Mentally unhinged by exposure to the violations of his family and home, Theodore finds himself compelled to track down his family’s murderer, hunting him through the streets following cues
[or clues? both could work] only he seems able to see and finally using his bare hands to tear out the invisible puppet master working the murder’s body like an automaton. Recognizing only afterwards that to anyone else, he has murdered a stranger in the street, so he flees into the night and his own disjointed perceptions. [Oh dear! ]

          This proved to be only the first steps on Theodore Benjamin’s bizarre journey.

          Awakening periodically from being lost in a travelling mental fugue, Theodore Benjamin takes on the opaquely plain travelling name “Ben”, slowly losing bits of his personal history while picking up new experiences, skills and tools to defend himself and others against the unnatural forces he can now perceive that most others cannot. Compelled to journey eastward toward an unknown destination, he surfaces from his fugues at a Dust Bowl era farm struggling to survive unnatural forces driving the vicious winds; at a Prohibition-defying Louisiana plantation manse where a man is holding tight to a treasure from thieves only he can see; at a forest where a woman with repressed bestial tendencies must face those who have been embraced by them; and finally coming to rest in the upstate New York town of Testament where Ben falls in with street-folk and ultimately under the auspices of wildly unorthodox psychiatric treatment. [I’m not sure how to rephrase this so you emphasize the continual story nature, without making it sound like a series of separate stories starring the same character…]

          Trail to Testament is an anthology of five novelette to novella length stories [15,000 to 25,000 words] chronicling the evolution through time and space of former Union soldier Theodore Benjamin into the street-folk-hero known only as Ben on the streets of Testament, New York. Appealing to readers enjoying urban fantasy with a hint of historical fiction, comparable works would be entries of Kat Richardson’s Greywalker series or, to a lesser extent, Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, starting with a more historical bent before advancing to a more contemporary time-frame.

          Thank you for your time and consideration.

Good Journey,


The Revised Query:

Dear [Agent Name],

Union Civil War vet, Theodore Benjamin, returns home in 1866 to find the cannibalized bodies of his wife, daughter, and infant son. [don’t need to change, but I was playing with it to streamline the sentence]

Losing his grip on reality, Theodore is compelled to track down his family’s murderer. Theodore finds himself following clues only he is able to see until he rips the invisible puppet master out of the murderer’s body with his own bare hands. As the compulsion fades, Theodore recognizes that, to anyone else, he murdered a stranger in the street. Frightened by his loss of control, Theodore flees.

Taking the traveling name “Ben”, Theodore Benjamin loses more and more time to the mental fugue that plagues him. The compulsion drives him eastward, while the fugue only releases him to fight off unnatural forces that few besides him can even sense. [You can end here, or “, until he finds himself on the modern-day streets of the upstate New York town called Testament.”] The unnatural winds of the Dustbowl, the questionable influences of an invisible treasure, and the hostilities of bestial forest folk, he faces them all before finally coming to rest in the upstate New York town called Testament. There, Ben falls in with street-folk and under the auspices of wildly unorthodox psychiatric treatment.

The historical/contemporary fantasy, TRAIL TO TESTAMENT, is complete at 120,000 words and chronicles the evolution of former Union soldier Theodore Benjamin into the street-folk-hero known only as Ben on the modern-day streets of Testament, New York. TRAIL TO TESTAMENT should appeal to fans of Kat Richardson’s Greywalker series and Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Good Journeys,



Knowing what books you think make good comparisons for your novel can be helpful in deciding what genre to pitch a story as.

If you think you have a series of novellas featuring the same character, look at the stories. Is there an over-arching goal or theme that they all include? Can you edit them for greater cohesion?

Best of luck to Q9!

And for the rest of you out there?
Best of luck in the query trenches!

A Starter’s Guide For Fiction Writers Trying To “Establish A Social Media Presence” Part 3


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Part 3: Short-Form Social Media and Hashtags

Two weeks ago, I shared my descent into social media and my guiding philosophies for interacting with others on the internet. Last week, I discussed the generals about creating a website and starting your own blog.

Now? Let’s talk about the rest of the social mediums.

ALL OF THEM. Or maybe I’ll hit 2000 words before I’ve finished with Facebook, and Twitter, and Hashtags, oh my!… Looks like there’s gonna be a Part 4 after all.



The granddaddy of all social media these days. With ‘friends’, ‘followers’, and everything in between.

What is Facebook

In case you’ve been living under a rock: For Facebook, you sign up, and your “profile page” shows all your “posts”– anything you want to share from 1 liners to links, to long-form notes. You ‘friend’ people and they friend you back.

Your ‘feed’ consists of what you and your friends post. It’s often sorted by ‘Top Stories’ – i.e. things that others have been commenting or ‘liking’ (hitting the thumbs up button on) a lot. But, you can switch it to show the feed in chronological order as well.

Groups and Privacy

There are privacy settings of ‘public’, ‘friends only’, and you can create your own custom lists, or share in groups.

Groups are facebook pages with members and their own privacy settings. You can search for groups based on your interests, or just wait for people to invite you. If the group is private, the posts can’t be shared externally, and can’t be seen by other people.

This doesn’t mean people can’t screenshot them, though. So be considerate of what you post.

Your Facebook page is where you can announce things to everyone you’ve ever known and their 2nd cousins. (Unless they’re under 13.)

One Thing. Teens are catching on about that whole object permanence thing. They’re moving off Facebook, to places their parents don’t supervise. To places where the message is erased right after they send it.

How to use Facebook and Improve Your Visibility

Personally? Most of my followers, writing groups, and blog share hits come from Facebook. Despite the teen-flee, it’s still super useful and a great way to connect.

However, if people don’t interact with you, Facebook will stop showing them your posts. Especially blog links or Patreons, assuming they’re all spam.

So how do you make Facebook show your friends and followers your posts?

Don’t just talk about your writing! Post things from your life, upload pictures, share memes (stock images, with quippy text).

If you have pets? The internet is 50% cat pictures and videos and people still love them.

You can share personal information without sharing private information. You’ll see me talking about my life and interactions, but only rarely do I discuss details or name names.

Facebook Pages?

These are sort of like a Group but typically owned by one person or a business. They’re for professional use only.

If you’re an author, it’s reasonable to establish one. But, don’t count on anything here being seen unless you have a large group of active followers, or you pony up some cash. They have the lowest priority in Facebook feed because Facebook wants to earn some money off you.

Another way to get seen more is to post videos or pictures. Facebook prioritizes these. Especially facebook videos, but I’m not quite ready for live-streaming…



This one can be very polarizing. Some people love it, some people hate it. A lot of it is in how you use it and what sections of twitter you hang out in.

This is one I’d REALLY advise caution when wading into socio-political issues.

What is Twitter

Here, you chose a username, add a brief description, then share text or images, up to 280 characters long (it used to be 140 characters).

Remember to think about brand consistency. You can change your profile name, but the username, i.e. the ‘@whatever’ part will stay the same FOREVER.

How To Use Twitter

There are no ‘groups’, per se. And everything is shown on your feed chronologically. Which means, after you’ve followed a couple handfuls of people, it can be hard to keep up.

I like to create lists. Mostly based on why I followed them (agents/publishers), or where I know them from (Writer support group A or Support Group B). That way, when I see a comment in my feed, I can associate it with the right people.

I have to admit, unless your profile picture is of you, or your name is in your username? I have a hard time keeping track of who is who on twitter. And… I kinda don’t even try.

If you like a post, you can ‘heart’ it.

It’s perfectly reasonable to respond to a tweet directed at you with a GIF–and Twitter has the GIF library to support it (before facebook!)

If you want to share a post, so your followers can see it – it bumps it in THEIR follower’s feed so they have a better chance of seeing it. You can either ‘Retweet’ or ‘Quote Retweet’. Quote retweet lets you add your own comment to the reshared tweet, and means they won’t get notifications for everyone who comments on it.

Why would they get notified? When you @mention someone in your tweet, so it shows up on their notifications. Just type @[their username] and they’ll be notified.


I spend a lot more time tweeting and looking at my notifications than I do looking at my main twitter feed.

When I do want to see what my friends are saying, I’ll go to specific lists and look. The rest of the tweets? I only see what Twitter suggests as “your friends are liking this post” or “did you miss this” from people I interact with a lot.

Why Writers Should Consider Twitter

Twitter offers a lot of opportunities:

  • A writing community
    •  I like to check out writer hashtags, and, after making sure I’m looking at the ‘Latest Tweets’, not the ‘Top Tweets’ tab that’s the default, I’ll go cruising through the tweets looking for people to follow.
  • Twitter Pitch Contests:
    • Essentially, boil your Manuscript’s pitch down to about 240 characters, add the relevant hashtags
      • The contest name: #pitchWhatever
      • Your manuscript’s genre: #f (fantasy) #r (romance), #litfic (literary fiction), etc
  • Twitter Contests:
    • Some are for Mentors:
      • #AMM – Author Mentor Match
      • #PitchWars
    • Some are for query critiques
      • #sunVsSnow
    • Some are for first page/chapter reviews
  • Many agents and Editors are active on Twitter.
    • #MSWL (Manuscript wish list) can help you find agents who are looking for your manuscript.
    • Looking at their feed can give you a good feel for their personality, and if they’re a good fit.
    • WARNING: Do NOT go back 5 years worth of tweets, gleaning for every crumb you can, liking all their posts. That’s creepy. Just look a couple weeks back, or look at a specific tag.


I just referenced a lot of hashtags, but they require their own discussion.

Twitter is one of those places where hashtags are important. Hashtags often give context to a post. But also, they can be ways of finding related discussions, or groups. And are useful for searching a person’s posts, for a specific topic.

Just because you’re a member of a group, doesn’t mean all of your tweets are related to that topic. But if you hashtag it with the group’s hashtag, everyone can find it.


You will annoy people, or get remembered…for the wrong reasons. People use hashtags to find related posts and if you use them improperly, the search will be cluttered with off-topic posts.

Hashtag Do’s

  • DO participate in Twitter Pitch Events such as: #PitchSlam#pg70pit#pitmad#SFFPit#PBPitch, #FaithPitch, and #IWSGPit
    • An agent “like” on a twitter pitch during these contests is ONLY a request for a query. Add the contest hashtag to the subject line of your query and submit as normal, unless the agent has previously tweeted that you should do otherwise.
  • DO read the #MSWL (Manuscript Wish List) tag is for agents (and Editors of publishing houses) to share what they’re looking for.
    • If they’re looking for something that’s a VERY CLOSE fit to the manuscript you’re actively ready to query, go to their agency website and submit while adding a reference to the #MSWL item to your query.
  • DO join in on weekly hashtags like:
    • #1linewed – there’s a theme each week, search to find it
    • #WIPjoy – Work In Progress joy – a line that makes you happy that you recently wrote
    • #FF – follow Fridays, where you tag friends or writers you’d recommend others follow
    • #mondayBlogs
  • DO use hashtags like #askagent to communicate with agents
  • DO use hashtags like #amwriting, #amediting, #writersLife, #writeTips, #writingTips, #5amwritersClub, #9pmwritersClub, and #nanowrimo to connect with other writers!

Things To Avoid

  • DO NOT pitch directly to agents. Outside of twitter pitch contests, Twitter is NOT for pitching.
  • DO NOT ask an agent if they like the sound of your novel.
  • DO NOT DM (direct message) them.
  • DO NOT stalk and act like you’re suddenly besties.
  • DO NOT tweet on #10queries, #tenqueries, #MSWL, etc. These are for AGENTS and Editors of Publishing companies
  • DO NOT flood weekly hashtags with a stack of tweets.
  • DO NOT use #askAgent for anything google can tell you in 2 minutes.
    • Don’t ask what genres they represent, take 2 minutes to look at their literary agency website.

When you go to add a hashtag, on the app (unfortunately, not on the computer), it’ll show you the hashtag’s frequency. It can be 250 tweets in the last hour, or day, or ever. The more popular a hashtag is the more people who might see your tweet. Or, it might get lost in the crowd.

If enough people like or retweet your tweet, your visibility will skyrocket. If not, it can sit there in obscurity. The #trending tab can show you what a lot of people are actively talking about

Personally? I like to go for regularly used hashtags, that aren’t currently over-saturated.

But the funny thing about social media? You can get insta-famous for something you tweeted 3 years ago if it goes viral.

How to Get Followers

Check out posters on hashtags you like.

Follow them.

It’s as easy as that.

Many people auto-follow-back anyone who follows them.

If you get added to someone else’s list, and you like the company you’re in? Click on the list, find the ‘view members’ option from the menu tab (the 3 horizontal lines), and then click ‘follow’ on all of them.

Interact with your followers. Twitter loves GIFs and has a button and a library to add them to tweets. (I like to caption stuff so people who can’t see the image know what’s going on) And they did the GIF thing LONG before Facebook did.

DO NOT be the person who Direct Messages everyone who follows you, many of us hate that and want to unfollow people who do that.

When people follow me, I like to vet them. I don’t like people who are all advertisements or click-bait for 2 full screens. I’m picky. If I don’t see an original tweet from them for 2 full screens, or if their profile picture is empty and they seem to be adding only pretty girls, I back away slowly and pretend I was never there.

Although, if someone DMs me their website or whatever after I follow them? I’ve started sending mine back at them.

Tip: If you’re curious when someone followed you, your followers’ list is in order from most-recently-followed down to your first follower.

WARNING: Some people will go around following tons of people and, after they follow back, unfriend them!

ANOTHER WARNING: You can only follow a certain number of people a day, and you can’t follow significantly more people than people who follow you. The limit goes up as your follower list goes up. But, I think it maxes at 250 people in a sitting.

All-in-all, twitter can be a great place to connect with other writers, editors, agents, and people involved in all stages of publishing. It can be a great place for indie-authors and small publishers.

One Last Thing

Make sure to keep your brand consistent from site to site. You don’t have to reshare everything from Twitter onto your facebook, but you should still feel like the same person.

Check back next week, where I’ll take on Tumblr, Instagram, and more.


#8 Query Corner: ‘Shards’

Welcome to:


Morgan’s Query Corner:

Answering Your Query Quandaries

NOTE: If you submit your query to me (morgan.s.hazelwood@gmail.com), and you are selected for inclusion, I will give you a high-level review, in-line feedback, and my own draft of your query. If this is your query, feel free to use or ignore as much of the advice and suggestions as you wish.

[Disclaimer: Any query selected for the page will be posted on this website for perpetuity. I am an amateur with no actual accepted queries and a good number of form rejections. This does not guarantee an agent or even an amazing query, just a new take by someone who’s read The Query Shark archives twice and enjoys playing with queries.]


“Shards” is a fantasy novel about a feathered dragon herbalist, desperately searching for a potion recipe to save her dying husband, and a wanted airship smuggler, hunting for treasure.

Overall Impression:

What an exciting adventure! The story sounds right up my alley. And… I could definitely picture an anime or adventure video game with this very plot.

As a note, 115,000 words is within the recommended  80,000-120,000 word count range for adult SF/F. But, for a debut author, you may find your book an easier sell if you could trim it under 110,000, or even 100,000. I write long and I personally find that being forced to tighten my writing is very beneficial for my story.

There are a few things I would change in your query:

  • the length. 394 words are FAR past the suggested 200-250 words
  • the tone. A query letter is a business letter and should be formatted that way, with the story portion shown, not explained
  • infodumps. Your query has them, which might make agents fear that your novel will have them

The Original:

[my comments are in blue/italics/brackets]
Good afternoon Morgan! [too informal]

My name is James [don’t introduce yourself, just have the bio at the end and your signature] and I am submitting this to you because you suggested I give it a try on the Fantasy and SF Writers group on Facebook. This is the part of the query where I usually introduce myself and say a little about how I found the agent and why I submitted to them.

Shards is a dragon story, with a unique style of dragon. When people think of dragons lurking in old ruins there is a certain image that comes to mind. It is not the image of a small, feather-winged creature with a satchel full of books and a simmering cauldron of medicinal herbs. Sapphire Nightsong is this sort of dragon. [info-dump] On a quest to cure her mate’s wasting illness, Sapphire has journeyed to an island on the edge of the world. At the site of an ancient tragedy she sifts through the ruins in search of a potion recipe that might not even exist. Along the way she’ll come across legendary creatures she never dreamed truly existed and savvy treasure hunters eager to get their hands on the book she stole from them. [telling, not showing and switching tenses.]

Timothy Binks is an airship captain and wanted smuggler looking to turn his life around by unraveling the secrets of an old book that promises a treasure still hidden on the island. With the book comes a young gryphon, former companion to a disgraced royal mage. His first night at port, Timothy is ambushed by the mage and comes up victorious. With a dead mage’s gryphon at his side, Timothy has no choice but to assume the role of royal mage, lest he be implicated in the man’s death.

A rival mage, Donovan Skalde, and his ruthless gryphon stand in Timothy’s way. Skalde has aims at the island’s lost treasure and is willing to do whatever is necessary to ensure it ends up in his hands. Eventually Timothy must also contend with Aaron Kanes, a detective of Fletcher Street, come to find the missing mage and bring him, or whoever killed him, to justice.

Shards is split roughly evenly between Sapphire’s perspective and Timothy’s perspective. The two have come to the island for different reasons but ultimately become entangled with Donovan Skalde and the treasure hidden on the island, culminating in a concerted conclusion. Thanks for taking a look at Shards!

[Where are your stats and bio?]

Thanks again,


The Revised Query:

Dear [Agent Name],

When Sapphire Nightsong, a feathered dragon and herbalist, finds her husband stricken ill by a wasting disease, she wastes no time. Following the legends of a potion recipe [East], Sapphire sets out for the ruins of a city on the island at the edge of the world. Faced with [creatures from lore/maybe be more specific?], and followed by ruthless treasure hunters, Sapphire must push on, if she’s to find the potion before her husband succumbs to his illness.

Timothy Binks, an airship captain and wanted smuggler, just wants a fresh start. But, after he kills a disgraced royal mage in self-defense, Timothy inherits the mage’s gryphon companion, leaving him no choice but to assume the role of a royal mage, lest he be implicated in the man’s death. The promise of treasure on a distant island, described in one of the dead mage’s books, provides both direction and added incentive to the fleeing Timothy. Now, Timothy races to find the treasure and keep one step ahead of a rival mage, the rival’s ruthless gryphon, and a detective, searching to bring the mage’s killer to justice.

Shards is an 115,000 word fantasy, split roughly evenly between Sapphire’s perspective and Timothy’s perspective. [SHARDS should appeal to fans of X and Y if you have any novels/video games published in the last 5 years you could compare it to?].

I write from my home in [location]. When not writing, I [dayjob] and [hobby].[My default bio for anyone without publishing credentials.]

Thank you for your time and consideration.




As always with editing suggestions, remember, all an editor’s suggestions are just that: suggestions. Where we suggest edits are often places that need some work, but you don’t have to fix it the way we suggest. Take the suggestions and make them your own.

A query in your own voice is going to sell your book better than a query in my voice.

Best of luck to Q8!

And for the rest of you out there?
Best of luck in the query trenches!