What does a Successful Query look like?

Hey PitchWars hopefuls!

Anyone curious about the query that started this path for me? Below is what I sent to agents after the 2017 DVPit event. This book ended up getting revised, lengthened, and edited to take it from contemporary Romance to Women’s fiction before I signed with my agent. It went through a few hoops to get where it is today, and the book has changed quite a bit from what you see in this query, but I did eventually sign with my agent from this initial query.

Reading it now makes me cringe– I’ve learned a lot about queries since I wrote this. But  I received 3 full requests and 4 partials soon after sending it out, so I’d say it was successful!

On the April 26th DVPit twitter pitch event, you hearted one of my pitches indicating you would like to see my query. As such, I present to you CHAI, BEARDS, & HARMONY, a 55,000 word interracial own-voices romantic comedy.
Amira Khan is too old for her noisy dorm, and exhausted from reporters’ constant calls for her personal ‘hot take’ on Islamophobia. She needs peace and quiet, and intends to get it by leaving grad school early to finish her thesis at her Grandmother’s house. But it turns out, her grandmother rented the basement to a Barbershop Quartet. What? Amira needs silence; they need to rehearse for an upcoming competition, and the overgrown garden-gnome of a baritone is making her absolutely crazy.
For the sake of his family, Duncan Galahad has to stay in the tiny town he calls home. But he needs big-city cred even for small town gigs these days, and winning this competition might give him top billing, so he can’t let an outspoken, overbearing engineer like Amira get in his way. Even if outspoken, overbearing women are his exact catnip, Duncan knows women like that have no time for redneck singers with no steady pay-check. And Amira might be way too much… even for his tastes.
Inexplicably, Amira finds a harmonious friendship with the misfit singers. And soon enough, she finds that clashes with Duncan outside bedroom only means hitting all the right notes between the sheets, as they both find exactly what they crave.
Their differences are only skin deep, literally, but Duncan comes from a world that sees Amira as nothing more than a cautionary tale against multiculturalism. And Amira long ago decided that only someone like her, could understand her. To make it work, they both have to not only accept their differences, but fight for them.
This novel tackles Islamophobia and homophobia in the diverse city of Toronto. As a South-Asian, Muslim woman, I have drawn on my own experiences living and learning in this vibrant city. I am a member of the RWA and Toronto Romance writers.


3 thoughts on “What does a Successful Query look like?

  1. Thank you so much for sharing! I have just joined RWA and the Toronto chapter myself. I’m going to pitching live at the upcoming Northern Hearts Conference in Toronto and I’m really excited (and, who am I kidding, terrified!). I’m hoping to be published traditionally, but am open to self-publishing if I can’t land a literary agent. Keeping my fingers crossed 🙂

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