Saturday, October 17, 2009

From the Query to the Call with Elana Johnson

Meet Elana Johnson, YA writer and Blogstress Extraordinaire. Elana also wears another hat: Query Ninja. Elana decided to sum up her knowledge in the new Ebook, From The Query to the Call, available at her website

Tell us about yourself, Elana.

I’ll be brief. Or at least I’ll try.

I am many things: A mom. A wife. A teacher. A US citizen who breaks the speed limit (shhh). A blog addict (I read at least 40 blogs a day. And I comment). A reader. A reality TV watcher. A friend.
And an author. I love to write. It provides a release from my real life. Not only do I write novels, but I love to write on my own blog. And I also co-author the QueryTracker blog. Oh! And the Query Ninja blog. I run that too, in conjunction with my ebook, From the Query to the Call.

How long have you been writing? What kind of fiction do you write?

I’ve been writing since December 2007, so coming up on two years now. I write YA, anything from science fiction to fantasy to paranormal to straight-up high school mayhem. There’s nothing better than YA. My current favorite genre is dystopian fiction, since that’s what I’m currently querying.

You have an ebook; what is this book about?

My ebook is called From the Query to the Call and it’s a guide for everything a writer needs to know after they finish their novel. I remember feeling so overwhelmed with the whole “query” side of writing. I researched for hours, attended conferences, read agent and publisher blogs.

And then I compiled it all into a handy guide that shares what I know and have learned. It’s basically got three sections:

1. How to write a query letter. And not just any query letter. A killer query letter. One that will set yours above the other slush the agents are getting.

2. Entering the query trenches. This covers everything from e-queries, cover letters, submitting partials and fulls, corresponding with agents, and of course, fielding “the call.”

3. Query letter samples. I take the reader through progressive queries during the letter writing section. In addition to that, I have a whole section devoted to letters that worked. I think studying something that is successful helps you develop something successful of your own.

And that’s the ebook. You can check out my website for more information.

What prompted you to write it?
I wrote this ebook because I wish wish wish I had something like this when I started. From the Query to the Call is 63 pages, and it contains everything a writer needs to know from the time they decide they want to query literary agents to the time they sign with said agent.
There’s so much conflicting information out there, and the sheer volume of it is enough to scare away Hercules! I remember feeling like I was treading water, barely keeping my head above the crashing waves, as I searched for the information I needed on how to find a literary agent. I literally spent hours and hours searching for a single piece of information. Thus, I wrote this book so authors could have the one guide that has everything they need in one convenient place.

What advice do you have for writers who seek publication?

I have a three-step process:
1. Work hard.
2. Don’t give up.
3. Finish strong.

Tell us something unexpected about yourself.

Oh, dear. I feel like I have no secrets from the blogging community! I attended four universities before I graduated, is that unexpected?

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