Traveling Teens, Rocky Roads – Query Letter

What makes me “The Adventurous Writer”? I keep submitting my ideas to my agent, possible publishers, and potential editors — no matter how many rejections and “that wouldn’t sell in a million years” ‘s I get! Rejection isn’t fatal, but giving up is, my friends.

“No rejection is fatal until the writer walks away from the battle leaving dreams and goals behind,” says Jeff Herman (literary agent of Mark Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield, who created the Chicken Soup for the Soul series).

Traveling Teens, Rocky Roads was my second non-fiction book idea. Here’s the query letter I sent:

Dear Esteemed Editor,

He was 16 years old when he was found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. When asked about his part in the murder of a 14 year old girl, Warren Glowatski said he needed release. From what? “All the negative shit I was dealing with: my parent’s divorce, having nowhere to live, just totally feeling unloved, uncaredfor, powerless.” (Chatelaine, January 2007).

Not having control can be the most stressful part of life for both teens and adults. Teens are particularly affected by powerlessness because they’re bound by rules at school, home, and in society. They can taste freedom but are still buckled in.

Teens’ response to stress ranges from participating in murder to dying their hair purple, from cutting themselves to breaking curfew. They’re on their own safaris – and they don’t easily admit their need for a guide, maps, or gear.

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But the need is there.

Traveling Teens, Rocky Roads: Secrets to Surviving the Safari of Your Life

  • Hooks readers with exciting comparisons between African animals and real life.
  • Explains how to take control of life – and feel effective and powerful.
  • Describes easy, practical ways to solve problems and deal with stress.

In 50,000 words, this non-fiction book helps teens 13-18 years old deal with change and daily life. The safari analogy grabs interest without being overtly self-help and encourages a sense of control, thus reducing feelings of inadequacy and powerlessness.

My degrees in Education and Psychology give me a solid background with which to research and write this book. I taught grade 8 through high school at an American school in Africa for three years; not only did I go on safaris, I also took my students camping in the wilds of Kenya every year.

And I write. In addition to contributing to various publications (alive, Esteem, Good Times, Today’s Health and Wellness, cahoots), I write weekly articles for the local newspaper.

I look forward to your response.  

Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen


If you have any questions or thoughts about this query letter, please comment below! I’m happy to share how many publishers I pitched to and what their response is.

Laurie's "She Blossoms" Books

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Growing Forward When You Can't Go Back offers hope, encouragement, and strength for women walking through loss. My Blossom Tips are fresh and practical - they stem from my own experiences with a schizophrenic mother, foster homes, a devastating family estrangement, and infertility.

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How to Let Go of Someone You Love: Powerful Secrets (and Practical Tips!) for Healing Your Heart is filled with comforting and healthy breakup advice. The Blossom Tips will help you loosen unhealthy attachments to the past, seal your heart with peace, and move forward with joy.

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When You Miss Him Like Crazy: 25 Lessons to Move You From Broken to Blossoming After a Breakup will help you refocus your life, re-create yourself, and start living fully again! Your spirit will rise and you'll blossom into who you were created to be.

And, if you’re interested in ways to improve your own query letters, my articles on Quips & Tips for Successful Writers may help:

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One thought on “Traveling Teens, Rocky Roads – Query Letter

  • Laurie PK

    Rejection letters are battle scars — & the more battle scars you have, the more you’ve fought for your dreams.
    .-= Laurie PK´s last blog ..9 Tips for Creating a Blog Button or Widget for Your Blog =-.