Clash of the Query Letters 2023—3rd Place

Congrats to Claudette Manzanares for winning third place in the Clash of the Query Letters 2023! Here's what our judge (Michelle Barker) had to say:

I really liked the way the author used voice in the query for Don't Say Anything. Combined with a strong premise and an exciting pitch, it looks like a strong project. 

Successful query letter example, Don't Say Anything by Claudette Manzanares



Dear Agent, 

DON’T SAY ANYTHING, my YA suspense novel complete at 96,000 words, is a fast-paced mashup of Holly Jackson’s A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder and the Veronica Mars television series. Given your interest in thrilling YA fiction, I thought the book a good fit. 

Eighteen-year-old Laurel Delacroix can’t freaking wait to get out of her house. She’s off to Toronto for university in a couple of months and has secretly signed a lease with her best friend and one-time crush, Dre. Now all that’s left to do is ace her finals and party with her friends… right? 

But then Laurel hears her dad speaking Russian with an unknown woman in the dead of night—and later spots him in a bar meeting sketchy-looking men—when he’s supposed to be out of the country for work. When Dad disappears without a trace, Laurel is hell-bent on finding him. He’s been lying to her nonstop, and she’s done being manipulated. 

As her search for Dad gets persistently derailed, Laurel is plunged into a world of espionage, murder and betrayal. She learns a deadly virus has been weaponized for Russia. By Dad. And her stepmother Audrey isn’t who she seems to be, either. A vicious attack leaves Laurel decimated and Dre bloody and beaten. With the handover of the virus fast approaching and Dre’s location now unknown, Laurel is torn between her loyalty to blood and to doing what’s right. Even if she manages to stop a global disaster and somehow rescue Dre, Laurel is scared of what she’s become. And whether she’s still someone Dre will want to love. 

From the moment a close family member revealed to my teenaged self that she'd been [REDACTED] during the [REDACTED], I’ve been obsessed with reading and writing stories about the ways in which people choose to deceive each other. 

My work has placed second in a writing competition (Yummy Mummy Club) and has also been published in The Globe and Mail, Blank Spaces Literary Magazine and in a Christmas anthology with Mystic Publishers Inc. 

Thank you for your time and consideration. I have inserted the first chapter below. My entire manuscript is available at this time. 

Warm Regards,

Claudette Manzanares

Claudette Manzanares, author of DON'T SAY ANYTHING, in this excellent query letter example

Claudette Manzanares draws much of her creative inspiration from her upbringing in Northern Ontario, but now calls Acton, Ontario home. She gets up at dawn to drink a pot of coffee and write stories before heading to work as a massage therapist. Her work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Blank Spaces Literary Magazine, in a Christmas Anthology with Mystic Publishers Inc., and has won a writing contest with the Yummy Mummy Club thanks to her experiences raising two fantastic kids. In addition to writing short stories, Claudette is currently seeking representation for her first YA novel.


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