Wednesday, January 8, 2014

And the Query Letter Process Begins

One thing that most trying to get published writer's hate with a passion is writing a query letter. It is a wretched process because you basically have to condense 70 to 95k words into about one to two paragraphs and hope you sound like yourself and not some demented Alfred Hitchcock introduction. Or maybe that would work? Hmmm...

Anyway, my darling husband suggested that I try getting my bounty hunter book looked at again. And me being a lover of all things torture I agreed. I looked up examples of query letters and began to panic. (Please see "How to Write the Perfect Query Letter" on Writer's Digest.) I have no writing degree, have never been published and could not survive at times if it was not for the spell check. Every agent wants a small bio. Do I say I am a stay at home mom? Shall I list my past jobs as Executive Assistant and Oncology Massage Therapist? Do I mention that I have entered numerous writing contest and have been rejected by every single one without any feelings of despair? Do I get cheeky and claim I work for Xavier Inc (our son), but manage to get a chapter done during nap times? Who am I to the literary world? Who does the literary world want me to be? Who am I at all? How do I make sure this complete stranger feels the love I have for what I have written? I want them to be enthralled and moved by my dystopian suspense/romance as much as I have been. I don't want to put it in a drawer and let it rot.

Writing a query letter brings up every flaw and passive aggressive horror about oneself. They are not easy. You may write a story and adore it, but then you need to explain it in as few lines as possible. Agents are busy people. They get bombarded all day long by people just like me hoping to be the next Neil Gaiman or Margaret Atwood, oh I should be so lucky. Why can't I write something as succinct as the creator of Breaking Bad did in regards to his plot? "What would happen if Mr. Chips turned into Scarface?" There it all is. In one question no less. You already know you are in for a serious ride. I refuse to hide my envy here, that is pure brilliance.

For starters I have sent a first draft of a query to my husband and I am sure I will be working on that a dozen more times. I feel like an ass saying that my third novel would be easier to query, but I have not written that letter yet. Or maybe I should. Maybe it would help. Maybe I can write it and pitch the novel before it is even finished. Then I can get back to reworking the bounty hunter query letter. Or by then, I would not have to because they would buy it since my other book is selling well. Oh yeah, dream big lady!!

Nerves are an incredible thing. And I need ones made of the strongest steel I can find.


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