Querying can be tough. Writing a short, maybe three paragraph, explanation of your 500 page book sounds like an impossible tasks. How are you supposed to get all the super cool characters and plot points that made the book worth writing squeezed into three paragraphs?
The problem is, you don’t. You take your main character, maybe one extra side character (Love interest if you have one), your antagonists, and go over the biggest hurdle in your book. That’s it. It’s that easy and that hard.
At least it’s not the elevator pitch. (Don’t get me started on that monster)
Everyone says writing the book is the easiest part. I beg to differ. When I first started looking over the querying process I realized I would need to start writing my query before I even finished my book. So, I worked on it in pieces. I wrote a first draft, because yes this is going to be done in drafts as well, and then I rewrote it.
I wrote down all the notes and possible suggestions for how to make a great query. Hint: look up Jane Friedman’s The complete guide to Query Letters and Query Shark. Both are literary agents that offer some sound advice when it comes to writing queries and sometimes do query critiques in their blogs.
Also feel free to sign up for Query Tracker. It’s a great resource for when you’re in the query trenches and need a way to keep up with your queries, it’s a year subscription that costs $25. Not to shabby for all it provides. Also there’s a great forum that you can join that allows you to post your query for review and fellow writers will give you advice to make it better.
You will have to actually look over other queries and maybe give some opinions of your own to get advice on yours, but it’s still a great community, and plenty of other topics you can look over. Everything from querying etiquette to tips on author platform can be found inside those forums.
Definitely worth a look at if you’re feeling a little loss on the whole process and just want some advice from fellow writers.
My own querying process is feeling a bit stale.
I’ve done the write, rewrite, have people read it, pay an editor to look over your query and write it again and……
I’m trying a thing….I’m thinking it’s the first chapter so I’m going to try and rewrite it so that the second chapter (?) is the first chapter and see how well this works out. This also means I’ll be looking for people to beta read and tell me if it is actually my original first chapter and if the second chapter works better as my first chapter.
Though, I’m hesitant because I have so many balls up in the air right now, that going in and rewriting my first chapter and what not in this MS seems a little insane but if there’s no interest it just makes sense to try something different.
Do I really know what I’m doing? No
Does any of us? No.
Why? Because the market is so subjective that what works for one person may not work for another. There’s no concrete formula that will get you that perfect agent and grand publishing deal, so we’re all just rowing down this creek with only one paddle and hoping for the map you were given isn’t completely useless.
For those concerned about rewriting this while I have queries out. Their just queries. Not whole or partial requests that agents are looking over. And if someone does show interest in what I have now I will send them the MS as is without the changes…maybe mention that I was considering the changes but I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.
So, I’ve gone on long enough about how querying is working out for me. Let me know if you’re going through the same process. How is it working out for you? Has it worked out for you? I want to hear all about your victories, even the smaller ones like you’ve finally gotten it written. Because any small step is still a step closer to your own success!
Until next time!