If your experience has been anything like mine, finishing your novel was a day to celebrate your months (or years) of hard work, open a bottle of wine, and perhaps make a purchase of that semi-luxurious watch you’ve had your eye on for a while. If new mothers receive a ‘push’ present now, shouldn’t writer’s get something similar when their novel is finished? But, much like new mothers who go through the difficulty of labor only to embark into the wonderful quagmire that is parenting a newborn, any writer seeking publication knows that when you finish, the query must come next.
Writing a query, to totally understate it, is a challenge. You’ve spent so much time in the heads of your characters and the action of your story, making it as wonderful and well-edited as you can, and now you are being forced to condense all of the intricacy and passion into one paragraph, along with identifying the interests of each particular agent you query, on top of summarizing why said agent should assume you can write in the first place and even bother reading your pasted-in chapter(s) of your manuscript at the bottom of the e-mail.
It’s rough, confidence-deflating, and not to be done (at least in my case) without a volume of caffeine. But it is essential to getting your work read, requested, and eventually published.
If you aren’t aware of Brenda Drake’s Query Workshops, the information posted on her site with sample queries and feedback from published authors is eye-opening and can bring you out of the abyss of your own monumental task of parsing your story into a hook.
Similarly, Writer’s Digest’s Successful Queries (if you’ve been following my posts, you’ll see why I selected them as one of the best new writer resources online; can’t seem to go a post without mentioning them) offers you queries that have resulted in agent representation by genre, along with the actual agent’s feedback on why they liked the query.
So, no excuses anymore–get querying!