Morgan’s Query Corner:
Fresh Eyes For Your Query Quandaries
NOGITSUNE TO GAIJIN (“The Field Fox and the Foreigner”) is a YA contemporary fantasy.
In this modern retelling of Momotaro, Jin is sent to his aunt’s in Japan. Can he trust a shape-changing fox to protect him from the bullies–and save the island?
NOGITSUNE TO GAIJIN (“The Field Fox and the Foreigner”) is coming into a market hungry for stories like this one.
I’m going to leave the query in this order, but know that some agents prefer the story to come first and the stats to come last.
A couple of things to think about:
- 100,000 is a bit long for YA, even for a Fantasy, and may make it a harder sell.
- Keep the background only as much as needed to set up stakes and goals for the main character.
- You don’t need quotes to kick off the story portion of the query.
Dear [Mr./Ms. Agent Name Here],
I am currently seeking representation for my young adult novel, NOGITSUNE TO GAIJIN (aka “The Field Fox and the Foreigner” in English) [can just use the English translation], which is complete at 100,000 words [Hopefully not too long]. A stylized retelling of the popular Japanese fairy tale Momotaro, my novel is a witty, action-packed adventure similar to Rick Riordan’s series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians[GREAT comps]. With a diverse and colorful cast that will appeal to audiences across the gender and sexuality spectrum, NOGITSUNE TO GAIJIN is a story about a reluctant hero in a modern world.
“[<<unnecessary]Sixteen-year-old Jim Smith has always come second to his father’s career, so it’s no surprise when he’s sent away on a one-way flight to Toyohashi, Japan. Despite praying his Japanese features will help him blend in, Jim’s American roots make him an easy target for bullies. When a sympathetic shrine keeper offers him a bit of luck, he never expected Nogi. An eight-tailed fox who can shapeshift into a fiery young woman or a flirtatious young man, Nogi promises the impossible: a way to fit in. Despite the myths painting kitsune as untrustworthy tricksters, Jim believes in his new friend—but for how long?”
NOGITSUNE TO GAIJIN was inspired by Japanese myths involving the sun goddess Amaterasu-ōkami and the first emperor of Japan, Jimmu-tennō. Although it was written as a standalone novel, there is potential to weave additional myths into the world if the story were continued. [a little clunky, there’s some standard wording for this.]
To summarize my related experience,[<<unneeded] I have a certificate in Japanese Studies specializing in mythology, history, culture, and language. Additionally, I have traveled to Japan to personally explore locations featured NOGITSUNE TO GAIJIN. As one of the first students to study under [College] [Program] undergraduate program, I achieved a BFA degree in [Year] and currently work as a [Job] in [City], [State].
Thank you so much for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you. [<< Some agents find this line presumptious. I opt on the safe side and just skip it.]
A great sounding fairy tale reimagining!
Best of luck to Q25!
And for the rest of you out there?
Best of luck in the query trenches!