Query Letter Lessons


I haven’t looked at my query letter in over a week.  For the most part it’s done and all I have to do is send it out.  Or so I thought.  The more I research agents and agencies the more I realize there is a lot more to this process than I ever imagined!  Most of the agents I’ve pegged as possibilities want more than just a query letter.  They want a one-page or extended synopsis, the first 10 pages, or the first five chapters.  All things I thought would come after I was rejected a few dozen times and then finally accepted by one (wonderful) agent.  It’s funny how my writer’s imagination often tries to paint my future!

My goal was to send out three queries before the end of the year, but the added tasks at hand are a bit concerning. I now find myself scrambling to polish my novel’s minor punctuation errors and fixing a few issues regarding missing “of’s” “the’s” and the bane of my writers existence: homophone mix-ups. It looks like I’ll be spending a few more evenings in my writing spot to get all of this done!

It’s all so maddening, but I can’t help but step back and do a little self-reflection.  I’ve learned a lot since I made the decision to try and get published.  The process is far from over and I have a lot more to learn, but here’s where I stand now:

1) Query letters truly test your ability to not only write, but sell your story.  I truly believe this is the ultimate test of whether I’ve got the gumption to follow through.

2) Writing a synopsis is difficult, but I’m making it much harder than it needs to be. My fears and doubts are holding me back and I need to start fighting.

3)  My novel is done, but I’ll always want to change it no matter what.  My inner perfectionist will never be satisfied and I have to learn to be okay with that.

4) I can’t make everyone happy.  Everyone sees my novel differently and perceives my query letter through an individual lens.  I can’t beat myself up when someone doesn’t get it.

5) Allowing doubt to fuel my procrastination has to stop.  Today.

c.b. 2011