Sunday, January 30, 2011

How to get noticed by Imajin Books: Hook, Line & Sinker

Our goal at Imajin Books is to find original stories with unique characters and exciting plots told in the best possible way by authors who are well prepared to market their works. And there are ways that a writer can get our attention. Today we'll address the dreaded query. There is probably no single word in a writer's world that illicit such chills and terror as "query".

Use the Hook, Line & Sinker Method!


If you want us (or any publisher) to read your query, you must hook us in the first paragraph, preferably with the FIRST sentence. If you've been writing for a while, you've probably heard that the first sentence of a novel is vital in hooking a reader. So is the first sentence of your query. Acquisition editors and publishers are readers too. Your first sentence/paragraph should tell us something about the story or something about YOU, something that will make us want to know more. Something that will make us ask YOU questions.

Example of a bad hook:

I've written a fictional novel. It is about a woman searching for her mother, who gave her up at birth, and their reunion. My friends have all said it's well written, so I think you'll really like it.

Example of a good hook:

As an adopted teenager, I always wondered what it would be like to search for my birth-mother, find her and reunite with her, and in my novel A Mother's Gift, I explore such a tumultuous journey between nineteen-year-old Kaitlyn and her birth-mother Magda. Though not a memoir, I use my own longings and experiences to create an emotional journey that will touch the hearts of every reader.


An expert fisherman casts his line in hopes that he's given it just enough distance--not too little, not too much--and then he reels it in, hoping the action will attract attention of passing fish. Just as a fisherman casts a line with precision, a writer must create the query letter and cast it with precision. Writers must present their queries in ways that will make a publisher sit up and take notice. Don't forget, many of them are wading through the endless virtual slushpile. Yours HAS to stand out.

Ways to stand out: 

Use the hook; keep the query short but entertaining and cast out only enough information to gain their interest; remember that in the end it's the story that's key--not your 3 page biography; and do your homework (research) so that you know you're sending your query to the right person and the right publisher. If we're not looking for nonfiction, don't send us nonfiction.


Most publishers will ask to see a synopsis and sample, either up front or in reply to your query. Some publishers prefer the "old-style" synopsis (3-20 pages that summarize the entire main plot of the story, including main characters, main conflicts and resolution). At Imajin Books, we're looking for a synopsis written like back cover text you'd find on the back of a novel. Write a stunning synopsis/description for us and include it in your first query and you'll have a better chance at grabbing our attention. And it gives us the opportunity to see how well you've researched back cover text, how well you can write it and whether you have an instinct for marketing. Send samples to publishers only per their guidelines.

Synopsis & Sample Tips: 

Study the back cover text of popular novels in your genre and formulate your back cover text/synopsis accordingly. If the majority of books in your genre use a 4 paragraph summary on the back cover, write a 4 paragraph summary for your book. Do not plagiarize material found on other authors' books, but do imitate style, flow or organization to create your best synopsis.

Give the publisher what they ask for, nothing more, nothing less. If we ask for a 5 page sample, we want your first 5 pages. Don't send us 10 pages from the middle of your novel just because you think it's a better scene.

Finally, writers who yearn to become successful published authors must believe in their own skills and creative abilities. If a career as an author is what you want, don't let a simple thing like a "query" get in your way. You must be persistent and dedicated. If your query is not initiating replies from agents or publishers, re-write it. If your sample does not result in a request for the full manuscript, re-write it. If your novel does not get an offer of publication, edit, edit, edit. If you want to be an author, BE one! Never give up!

Dare to Dream...and Dream BIG!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Follow Imajin Books on Twitter

We invite you to follow us on Twitter. If you're an aspiring author, let us know. If you're a book lover, we'd like to know that too. Tell us what kinds of books you'd like to see published.

Divine Intervention is re-released with new cover & bonus content

a novel by Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Fiction: Paranormal, Suspense, Thriller, Mystery, Crime
Ebook - Second Edition with Bonus Content & New Cover

CFBI Agent Jasmine McLellan leads a psychically gifted team in the hunt for a serial arsonist―a murderer who has already taken the lives of three innocent people.

Release date: January 31, 2011

Available at Amazon Kindle Store and soon at other ebook retailers. A new trade paperback edition will be released soon too.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Imajin Books is OPEN for submissions until February 15th

The search is on! Imajin Books is looking for quality fiction!

We are now accepting submissions until February 15th, 2011.

Imajin Books is looking for novels in various genres, including YA, romance, mystery, thrillers, horror. At this time we are not looking for science fiction, but may consider your work if it's a crossover genre with one of the above.

Please visit our Submission Guidelines page for more information.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Whale Song review: "Your words made me weep."

"I was captured by Cheryl Kaye Tardif’s emotional tale, “Whale Song” is brimming with the ageless story, though, and appeals to readers across generations. Whale Song teaches us not only about the traditions and lore of Canada’s west coast Indians, but also about ourselves—about the children we once were and the wise elders we are destined to become...Cheryl Kaye Tardif, your words made me weep."

--Eileen Schuh, author

Read the full review.

Ebook available at Kobo Books, Amazon & Smashwords, Barnes and Noble and more.

New trade paperback (2010 edition) now available at and Amazon.

Lancelot's Lady review: "I absolutely loved it."

"Lancelot's Lady is a compelling and emotional tale of two people destined for one another. The suspense builds and builds until the stunning and shocking conclusion is revealed. D'Angelo pens a wonderful story of two passionate souls searching for someone to complete them. The sparks fly and the attraction sizzles between Jonathon and Rhianna, and the pages just fly by as this reader found herself captivated with their story. I absolutely loved it!!"

--Wendy, reviewer & blogger

Lancelot's Lady is available at AmazonKobo BooksSmashwordsBarnes and Noble and more.

Skeletons in the Closet review: "Brilliantly conceived..."

"SKELETONS IN THE CLOSET is a thoroughly entertaining and unabashedly Canadian collection of horror shorts - a straightforward, in-your-face, goosebump raising, skin crawling creep fest with brilliantly conceived endings that, while crystal clear in their intent and meaning, typically arrive out of a shockingly distant and unforeseen left field...
Having vowed that I would read more from this obviously talented Canadian author, I was thrilled when I discovered this collection of short stories...SEPARATION ANXIETY tells a tragic story of the grief of losing a child to an untimely accident and reminds us that revenge is a dish that is sometimes best never served at all! DEADLY REUNION is a chilling little tale of long lost teenage acquaintances that starts with stories of teenage angst and the cruelty of bullying ending with paranormal visions and questions about fate and destiny. If a reader was as twisted as Cheryl Kaye Tardif, one might say that her endearing story, OUIJA, is about a gift that keeps on giving! There are several other stories and I was also thrilled to discover that, unlike so many other collections of this type, there is not a single piece of dead wood in the entire anthology.
I can't wait to try some of Tardif's full length novels. Highly recommended." --Paul Weiss
You can read Paul's full review at and on

Skeletons in the Closet & Other Creepy Stories is available in ebook edition via Amazon, KoboBooks, Smashwords, B&N, and other ebook retailers. 

THE RIVER: "a high speed thriller"

Amazon Top 100 Reviewer, Paul Weiss, says THE RIVER is "a high speed thriller... fantastic, compelling...readers will shiver with delight..."

THE RIVER is currently available in ebook (Kindle, Kobo, Smashwords, Nook and more) and trade paperback* editions. 

*A new trade paperback edition with bonus material is slated for late 2011 and will feature an updated new cover and a smaller price tag.