A Query Story (psst, read on if you like The Goonies)

Okay guys, here’s an interesting story behind a query I wrote for my YA novel.

I’d already heard about this agent, but of course, once I decided I was going to query him, I read everything I could find on the guy.   I’d just read a book by an author he represents and my style and characters were right along the same lines, so I figured, what the hell…I’ll do it.  I spent a while drafting my query and agonizing whether to throw in a reference to The Goonies (one of my favorite movies of all time) since  a) it was fitting with my personality, my writing, and the book and b) I read somewhere that the agent was into 80’s stuff.

But, how many time have we heard, be professional, don’t try to be funny, get to the point, etc. when querying an agent?  This probably wasn’t a good idea, or funny, but…I figured I’d take the chance.  So after reading it a million times, and reading it aloud to my sister, and making sure it was as perfect as could be even though I was still not sure about the Goonie line, BAM! I hit the send key before I could change my mind and crossed my fingers.  And then I went into panic mode.

OH MY GOD, WHAT HAD I DONE! How crazy was I to write a query and reference The freakin’ Goonies? Maybe this guy just had a thing for Molly Ringwald and loved Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, and The Breakfast Club, but absolutely loathed The Goonies.  Did I actually think I was funny, clever, witty?  No!  I was dumb and I’d just done the dumbest thing in the world.  And this agent would now have the world’s dumbest query in his possession and would probably forward it to everyone he knows and I would be blacklisted or something.  Good God!

As I’m freaking out, my sister is reading her Facebook and she says, “Hey, somebody just wrote ‘You know it’s summer when The Goonies are on t.v.’”

E-squeeze me? What?

We raced to the tv and as she flipped through the channels, I said to her, okay if the line, Andy, you Goonie! comes up, then it’s a sign.  Ten minutes later Andy is putting the lettermen jacket on the bucket and that little pointy-nosed Troy is standing over the well when he belts it out.   It’s perfect.  It’s a sign.  Maybe.

Half an hour later, I’m at home, watching the rest of the movie and hoping, hoping, hoping, it all means something.  Ping.  I look down at my phone. It’s an email…requesting a full.

Oh. My.  God.

I thought I was going to pass out.  Needless to say, I headed to Starbucks, grabbed an Americano and stayed up all night rereading and fixing parts of the manuscript.

Two weeks later, of course, I got the rejection.  But it was quite nice—telling me I was a strong writer but this wasn’t quite right for their list and with an invitation to submit a new work in the future.

Anyway, the moral of the story? Oh, I don’t know, I just thought it was pretty cool!  But I guess you can take this away with you—Goonies never say die!

Follow me on Twitter @jetchez

This entry was posted in 80's/90's Nostalgia, Everyday Writing, Inspiration and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Query Story (psst, read on if you like The Goonies)

  1. amanda says:

    Huge Goonies fan, here — I would have totally included the reference. Congrats on your MS request, and even though they rejected it, you now have an opening for when your next book is finished. I bet your current one will find a home somewhere. Good luck!

  2. Hi Amanda,
    I’m glad others would have included the reference, too. Makes me realize how, no matter how much you read about writing the perfect query, it’s sooooo not a perfect art. I guess that’s why it’s important to read up on specific agents and read any interview you can find.
    Thanks for stopping by and here’s hoping…and hoping…and hoping… 🙂

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