by Leigh Goff
Query Tracker was my go-to for the initial search for a literary agent that represented young adult fiction. I read through Lauren Bittrich’s information, visited her agency’s website, and did more research. With her editorial background and interest in YA, she seemed like a great fit for my new manuscript, WICKED SWEET. I sent her my query letter with the required first twenty-five pages attached. She replied two days later that she loved the sample pages and would be thrilled to read the full manuscript.
It’s easy to say I had a feeling she was the one, but I did. And fortunately for me, the stars were aligning. I immediately sent the full manuscript to her. Two days later, she sent another email requesting a meeting via Google Meet! I cried for ten crazy, happy minutes. After I composed myself, I did an internet search for what to do when you get the email for The Call.
Oh gosh, shouldn’t have done that. All of sudden there were posts and articles from other literary agents saying that just because an agent requests a meeting/phone call, it doesn’t mean she is going to make an offer. She might want the author to revise and resubmit. Was that really a possibility?
I deflated a bit, but my instincts kept telling me to get ready and I was optimistic. I wrote down a few questions I wanted to ask her and on the day of The Call, I had to calm my nerves. As the meeting started, my voice was a bit shaky answering her questions. But when the meeting neared the end, my nervousness had been replaced with excitement. She was fantastic and I wanted to work with her.
However, I still had other agents with my manuscript. I asked Lauren for ten days to get back to her and then I notified the other agents of the offer. After some back and forth with those ladies, I knew who I wanted to work with. It was Lauren. Day ten arrived. We emailed each other that morning and a few hours later, my representation was official.
For anyone interested, here is my query letter for Wicked Sweet.
Dear (Agent’s Name):
WICKED SWEET is a YA contemporary with magical elements that will appeal to fans of Alice Hoffman's Practical Magic and Heather Webber's Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe. It is complete at 90,000 words.
New school. New town. New chance to fit in. There's nothing to connect sixteen-year-old Abigail to her family's witch history except Abigail, and in her remote Southern town where supernatural fears run high, an empathic talent and a girl-on-girl kiss are enough to let suspicions wreak havoc on her life.
As Abigail delves into a forbidden romance, she also finds herself irresistibly drawn to the local tale of a sixteen-year-old witch burned at the stake centuries earlier. Danger begins to find Abigail who's discovering the witch's story has dangerous parallels to her own, especially when an enemy is watching, waiting to toss a match. Together with her coven of diverse misfits who host wicked séances and haunted bonfires, they must overcome frenemies, small town fears, and uncover the deadly lies being hidden by a prominent anti-LGBT family in Whispering Point before history repeats itself.
I am the author of three YA novels, KOUSH HOLLOW (The Parliament House, 2020), BEWITCHING HANNAH (Mirror World Publishing, 2017), DISENCHANTED (Mirror World Publishing, 2015). I am a member of SCBWI and I have my bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland. I am also descended from an accused witch from seventeenth century Virginia.
Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to your response.
(add your website)
Here's a glimpse at my first three novels. I hope they intrigue you.
Sixteen-year-old Sophie Goodchild from the wickedly wonderful town of Wethersfield, Connecticut struggles with her magic as she finds forbidden love along with a centuries-old true love curse. Here are a few spells, some spoken in Latin, from Disenchanted.
“Ictus.” Sophie hopes for a windstorm when she encounters a boy who should be her family enemy, but she’s love struck and only flower petals rain down on her and Alexavier.
“Verum.” Sophie casts this spell on the boy she thinks she must hate, but instead of him speaking the truth, a heart shape appears in the bark of a mulberry tree trunk behind him. The tree is significant in this story as it is in Pyramus and Thisbe. They are the ill-fated couple, like Romeo and Juliet, and they planned to meet under a mulberry tree.
“Semper memoriam tui delebo Diamond”- She commands Judge Mather to forget about the rare red diamond used as a blood charm that has caused so much trouble.
When an ancient prophecy reveals the rise of a young, powerful Chesapeake witch and the impending death of another, sixteen-year-old Hannah Fitzgerald realizes she can no longer repress the magic that has taken away so much. There’s also the Grey witch’s Arundell Curse plaguing Hannah and her mysterious love interest, W.
“By the power of fire, I do summon and churn, and call thee forth to blaze and burn.” Hannah casts this spell, needing heat from her hands to burn through a seatbelt when she’s trapped in a fiery wreck.
Her frenemy, Arora, demonstrates her dark magic when she captures an insect and kills it with this spell, “By my command and desire, your pesky little death I require.”
The nefarious Emme using magic to fight with Hannah says, “For the trouble you have inflicted on me, double shall I inflict on you.” She snaps Hannah’s icy doppleganger statue in half and Hannah doubles over in agony.
As Jenna Ashby, the sixteen-year-old eco-warrior, is introduced to the Diamonds & Pearls, her mother’s exclusive New Orleans social club, she comes to the troubling realization that secrets are a way of life in Koush Hollow. She’s also cursed with her cold, narcissistic mother, Rayna, who’s ambitions are limitless.
In the excerpt below, Jenna is drawn to Voodoo priestess, Mama Ismay. She watches her create a mystical potion using bayou magic, but then Jenna is left with more questions than answers when she sees what’s in the mysterious aquarium.
Leigh Goff loves writing young adult fiction with elements of magic and romance because it's also what she liked to read. Born and raised on the East Coast, she now lives in Maryland where she enjoys the area's great history and culture.
Leigh is a graduate of the University of Maryland, University College and a member of the Maryland Writers' Association and Romance Writers of America. She is also an approved artist with the Maryland State Arts Council. Her debut novel, Disenchanted, was inspired by the Wethersfield witches of Connecticut and was released by Mirror World Publishing. Leigh is currently working on her next novel, The Witch's Ring which is set in Annapolis.
Learn more about Leigh Goff on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads.