Query.Sign.Submit.Debut! with Shannon Parker

Shannon is a young adult author and her debut, THE GIRL WHO FELL, releases from Simon & Schuster March 1, 2016! She is represented by Melissa Sarver White of Folio Literary.

Connect with Shannon . . .

To get the book . . .

Insight from Shannon on querying, signing with an agent, going on submission, and being a debut author! 


What advice would you give to querying writers?

Don’t let rejection define your querying experience. Rejection only means your work has not found its perfect agent yet. YET. Remember the positives: 

-you wrote a novel
-you perfected your query letter
-you took the frightening leap of introducing your work to the big bad world of publishing.
These are things to celebrate through rejections.

What resources and websites did you use when querying?
There are a TON of websites that can help you prepare your query letter, but the single most helpful resource you can have during this process is an agent’s feedback. If an agent provides specific comments on your character, plot, pacing, conflict…LISTEN. I don’t advise changing anything yet. Just listen to feedback. If several agents say the same thing about one or two aspects of your novel, use that advice. Go back to your manuscript and revise. 

How did you keep track of your queries?
I’m an Excel spreadsheet nerd. 

What was your method for querying? 

I queried in small batches and waited for feedback. Some of that feedback pointed me toward revisions. 

Had you queried other books before the one that got you your agent?
I was very lucky to get an agent for my first two novels. She was lovely and loved my work. Unfortunately, industry editors didn’t agree. My agent wasn’t able to sell my projects and then she retired. I was so happy I had her support, but I wasn’t ready to query again. So I didn’t. Instead, I became a Lit Agency Intern. I learned the ropes from behind the curtain and I LOVED IT!

What helped you get though the query trenches? 

My writer friends are the best for helping me through the exhilaration and heartbreak of this industry. Non-writer friends help me to remember there is life outside of writing. 


Are there any specific questions you’d suggest writers ask an offering agent during “The Call”?
Okay, so I didn’t get “the call” from my current agent. I had worked with her for about a year and never mentioned that I was a writer. When she found out, she asked to see my current contemporary YA project and she was really intrigued by it. It was dark and edgy, which is the kind of YA she liked. And I liked her. So it was not your “normal” offer of representation, if there is such a thing. 

How editorial is your agent? 

My agent gives excellent broad notes that are spot on. She knows the industry so well and I trust her instincts.  

Did you have any previous contact with editors that you shared with your agent? For example, from conferences or workshops.
Great question! I had feedback from several editors who had rejected my first projects. The editors stated that the project wasn’t for them, but they loved the writing and would like to see my next project. I think that helped my agent with her starting point. Although, in the end, the book sold to an editor who was seeing my work for the first time. 

At what point do you share new story ideas with your agent?
I always discuss the concept with my agent once it is fully fleshed out in my mind and I’ve given her the opening chapters. We have a phone chat about the concept and the execution and it’s an ideal way to make sure we are both on the same page. 


What is a typical first round like once a writer goes on submission?
For me, my work went to five or six initial editors.

Do you see the feedback from editors?
From my first agent, yes. From my second agent, no.

What do you suggest a writer does while out on submission?
Hang out with your non-writer friends when you can. It is good to step away. J And write your next project. Always focus on the next work. 

Can you check in with your agent if there hasn’t been any news in a while?
Yes. I can always check-in with my agent and I treasure that about our relationship. When I went on sub with THE GIRL WHO FELL, I checked in at about Week 4. There had been some initial interest by then, but nothing concrete. I appreciated my agent sharing that interest with me, even though I knew that the initial interest could come to nothing. I was fortunate that an offer came through during Week 5 of the first round of submission. So lucky. Because I knew what it was like to get zero offers while on submission. 


What is the best thing about being a debut author?
Other authors, readers, bloggers. There is so much support for the words we write, and our crazy brains. It’s humbling. 

What have you learned about being a debut author?
Expect the unexpected.

What else are you working on along with all the promotion?
I have another YA that will release in 2017. I can’t say much more than that now, but soon. 

What was it like to see your cover?
A total rush. Seeing my 90k words distilled down into one image was one of the trippiest parts of this whole ride. 

What was it like to receive your ARCs? 

Like eating ice cream by the sun-warmed salty shore with your BFF as you discover you’ll be starring in the next Bridget Jones movie. Pretty much.  

What was release day like? 

I’ll let you know after March 1, 2016! :)

What advice would you give to writers who are working hard to get to their own debut year?

Be hard on your characters.
Be easy on yourself. 

Thanks, Shannon!

See other Query. Sign. Submit. interviews
Read inspiring stories of writers getting agents
Learn about Tools for Writers- like Scrivener 
hank you, Lois!
See other Query. Sign. Submit. interviews
Read inspiring stories of writers getting agents
Learn about Tools for Writers- like Scrivener - See more at: http://www.writeforapples.com/2015/05/querysignsubmit-with-sarah-marsh.html#sthash.bwWRRT6z.dpuf
- See more at: http://www.writeforapples.com/2016/02/querysignsubmitdebut-with-lois-sepahban.html#sthash.5emyi2Gx.dpuf

Insight from Lois on querying, signing with an agent, going on submission, and being a debut author! - See more at: http://www.writeforapples.com/2016/02/querysignsubmitdebut-with-lois-sepahban.html#sthash.5emyi2Gx.dpuf

Connect with Lois . . .


  1. Great post! Shannon,Loved hearing about your journey :)

  2. Great interview!! And a lot of good advice. I particularly love "Be hard on your characters. Be easy on yourself"!


Please note: ALL SPAM COMMENTS WILL BE DELETED without being posted. If you're here to add a paid link, save yourself some time and skip it. Actual blog reader comments are happily accepted. :)

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.