A Query Letter That Worked from Ariel Bernstein + a Slush Pile Pass & 2 Critique Giveaways!

If you keep up with us here on the blog, you may have seen that Ariel Bernstein had some amazing news in 2015. Not only did she sign with agent Mary Cummings of Betsy Amster Literary Enterprises, she signed a deal for her picture book, I HAVE A BALLOON, with Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman books as well as a two book chapter book deal with Viking for WARREN & DRAGON’S 100 FRIENDS!


1 cake bgToday Ariel is here to share a little bit about her query process along with the query letter she used that connected her with her agent. Plus, since we’re celebrating 3 years of Sub It Club this month,
Ariel is giving away a picture book manuscript critique and a query letter critique! Her agent is jumping in also and is awarding one lucky winner a slush pile pass! That’s 3 separate giveaways with opportunities for picture book, middle grade, and young adult manuscripts. More on that later. First, let’s hear from Ariel:

2/18/2016 Update – Thank you to everyone who entered. I so appreciated all of the kind words about Sub It Club and appreciated all the sharing you did. We had so many entries! After much counting and calculating, we have winners! I am so excited for them! The winners are:

Query letter critique: MD Knabb

Picture Book Manuscript Critique: Marlaina Grey

Slush Pass from Agent Mary Cummings: Tracey Brown

A huge THANK YOU to Ariel and Mary for the fantastic giveaways to help us celebrate!

Even if you’re too late to enter, you’ll still want to read our guest post from author Ariel Bernstein:

Ariel BernsteinWhen I first started querying agents, I read their agency website profiles and tried to find as many online interviews as I could to research what they were looking for. I often came across requests for picture books with ‘humor’ and ‘voice.’ Since I felt my picture book, I HAVE A BALLOON, has both, I highlighted that in the first sentence.

In the second paragraph, I wanted to show what the book is about without giving away the ending. I also tried to match the tone of the book to how I described it, although it’s a little hard to explain what I mean without showing the text! I picked a contemporary picture book, Bob Shea’s UNICORN THINKS HE’S PRETTY GREAT, as my comp because I felt my book had the same sort of ‘silly humor’ and would appeal to a similar audience.

For the bio paragraph, I tried to keep it focused on my writing background and what I was currently working on.

Dear Ms. Cummings,

I am writing to submit my picture book, I HAVE A BALLOON, in hopes its humorous story and distinct voice match what you’re looking for.

Owl has a red balloon. Monkey wants her big, shiny red balloon. Monkey offers to trade Owl every possession he can find until, in desperation, he’s left offering a sock. But when Owl points out that this sock has a star and a perfectly shaped hole, Monkey has a pretty tough decision to make. I HAVE A BALLOON, a story told by dialogue and illustrations, is 338 words and is meant for children ages 3-6. Readers of such picture books as Bob Shea’s UNICORN THINKS HE’S PRETTY GREAT will similarly enjoy the silly humor of I HAVE A BALLOON.

I am an associate member of SCBWI and attended my first conference in February in New York. I write a tongue-in-cheek blog entitled “How to Raise Benevolent Dictators” (http://a3bernstein.wordpress.com/) and have been published on the Scary Mommy parenting blog and the Atticus Review online literary journal. In addition to I HAVE A BALLOON, I have several other completed picture books, including a second one featuring the Owl and Monkey characters. I am currently working on a chapter book.

Below please find the text for I HAVE A BALLOON. Thank you very much for your consideration!

Ariel Bernstein

Well targeted, personalized, and to the point–we all know how hard that can be when putting together a query letter. Thank you Ariel for sharing with us! Now, I bet you all would love to win a critique or a slush pass. Here are the details:

Ariel is offering one picture book manuscript critique as well as one a critique on a query letter, picture book through young adult! These giveaways will be separate so you can enter one or both, depending on what you write.

  • Picture book must be fiction
  • No rhyming manuscripts
  • Under 1000 words
  • Query letter can be for picture book, middle grade, or young adult manuscripts
  • Query letter not to exceed one page

Agent Mary Cummings of Betsy Amster Literary is offering a get to the head of the line slush pass!

  • Mary is open to fiction and poetry for children and teens, from picture books to middle grade and young adult novels, including contemporary and historical, humor, mystery, fantasy, and multi-cultural
  • No children’s nonfiction, please

To enter please leave a comment on this post. Tell us if you want to be entered in Ariel’s picture book manuscript critique giveaway, her query letter critique giveaway, Mary’s slush pass giveaway, or all three!

For extra entries:

SubItClub Badge (175x88)Display our badge on your blog and link it back here to http://www.SubItClub.wordpress.com

Follow us on Twitter @SubItClub or on Facebook.

Take part in our private Sub It Club Submission Support Group and/or our Critique Partner Matchup.

Share this post via social media!

Please let us know about your extra entries in your comment.

Entries are open until WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 17TH at midnight PST. Winner will be announced on this post the next day. Good luck!

Ariel Bernstein is a picture book, chapter book and short story writer. She has been published in Scary Mommy and Atticus Review. Her debut picture book, I HAVE A BALLOON, will be published by Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books in Fall 2017 and will be illustrated by Scott Magoon. Her chapter book, WARREN AND DRAGON’S 100 FRIENDS, will be published by Viking. Ariel is a member of SCBWI in New Jersey. You can learn more about her on her website: arielbernsteinbooks.com.

156 thoughts on “A Query Letter That Worked from Ariel Bernstein + a Slush Pile Pass & 2 Critique Giveaways!

Add yours

  1. This agency is one I was thinking of contacting because Ms. Cummings is open to poetry. Mine is a non-rhyming poetry manuscript. I would love to enter all three contests. Best of luck with your book!

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  2. Thanks for sharing your query letter, Ariel! Congrats to you on your successes. Please enter me into all three giveaways – the picture book manuscript critique, the query letter critique, and Mary’s slush pass giveaway. I follow SubItClub on twitter and Facebook. I also tweeted this post.

    Like

  3. Congratulations Ariel and thank you for sharing your query letter!

    I would love to be entered in all three of the giveaways, thank you!

    Like

  4. Thanks for the analysis of the query letter. Displaying the text with the explanation is instructive. Please enter me in all three giveaways.

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  5. Great post. I love the way the writing community shares with other writers. Please enter me in the PB manuscript critique, the query letter critique and Mary’s slush pile pass. I follow Sub It Club on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you for this opportunity.

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  6. Thanks for sharing this letter! I would like to be entered in Ariel’s manuscript critique giveaway. I follow Sub It Club on FB, Twitter and belong to its FB Submission Support Group.

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  7. Thanks Ariel for sharing your critique letter I was looking for an example that actually worked. Please enter me in all 3 giveaways I’m ready to get an agent 🙂

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  8. I would absolutely love to pass the slush pile!! I’m in a submission cycle and it would be so helpful! What a cool giveaway! 🙂

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  9. Thank you, Ariel, for sharing your successful query letter. Querying seems to be on the great mysteries of submission, so having examples is super helpful. Please enter me in all three giveaways!
    Extra entries: Badge displayed on blog, Twitter follower, shared post via Twitter

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  10. I would like to enter the query letter critique and slush pile pass, please! I have a contemporary YA novel that I am seeking representation for. Thanks for the opportunity and advice!

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  11. Congratulations, Ariel! I would love to be entered for Ariel’s query letter critique and Mary’s slush pile giveaway! I follow Sub It Club on Twitter, tweeted this post, and am part of both Sub It Club Facebook groups. Thank you!

    Like

  12. Congrats Ariel! Thanks so much for sharing your query. I’d love to be considered for all three giveaways. I follow SubItClub on FB, Twitter, and shared the post. Thanks!

    Like

  13. Wonderful new, Ariel! And thank you for sharing your letter. Sounds like an adorable story. I’d love to be entered into Mary’s slush pass giveaway, please. I follow SubItClub on FB and Twitter and commented here. Thanks!

    Like

  14. Congrats, Ariel! And thanks to both you and Heather for this great post. Love your query and would like to be considered for all three giveaways. I follow on twitter, FB and am part of the support group.Thanks!

    Like

  15. Your book sounds so funny, Ariel! Please enter me in the manuscript critique and slush pile pass. I also follow Sub It Club on Facebook (as Marlaina Cockcroft) and on Twitter. Thanks, this is a nice giveaway!

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  16. Congrats, Ariel! I look forward to reading your books! Thanks so much for sharing your query. I would like to be considered for all three giveaways. Thank you!

    Like

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