Sunday, January 12, 2014

New Query

No surprise here, the exercise of peeling back my ms to 140 characters was GOOD. I mean, so good, that the Tweets I wrote revealed with painful clarity just how terrible my query letter was. I mean, rancid. UGH. Because it reflected NOT ENOUGH of my book's conflict and only hinted at the catalyzing event.

I was being coy. And it was getting me nowhere. I haven't queried that much, but clearly the letters haven't set anyone's world on fire, so what I was doing wasn't working.

Argh. I want it to be perfect NOW. *Sweats*  Impatient much? Yah. Always. Anyway, I took a hatchet to it, rewrote the thing, and now it's shiny & new. I actually feel cautiously optimistic. I've sent it to one agent (crossing fingers) and am also getting ready for #sunvssnow.

Query Shark is a beautiful thing, by the way:
She's brutal, but it's all so very, very good. I made a few very important changes based on critiques of other queries from this blog, which is exactly what Janet Reid (the shark) intends. She's not interested in seeing your query for critique unless you've read her entire archive - hoping that many will answer their own questions just by reading how others have made the same mistakes.

Another great post on writing a good query:

I think we all  feel frustrated on occasion about the difficulty of writing a good query.
If AgentQ could see past my terrible query, he/she would discover my amazing ms!!

But of course, that's not true. Not at all. The thing about the query is, it really does reflect your writing talent. Because if you can clearly, concisely capture your plot, conflict, and characters, you're in command of your work. And your words. And if you can sell it, you're a good candidate for the partnership that is agent-author.

One more note, a bit of irony for me. In my years as a reporter, one of the things that used to set my teeth on edge about the process of moving from job to job in the tv news biz was that in spite of the quality of my work, the job offers usually came down to whether the news director like my presence. My personality. My FACE. I worked simultaneously on being smart, talented, connected, and photogenic, and that always felt a little wrong.

Now as I reinvent myself in this new career, I am judged ONLY by the content of my writing and it's very unsettling. Because I keep thinking, If AgentA could see how nice I am, how personable -- maybe he/she might like my ms!!!

Change is good. Sigh. *Laughs self-deprecatingly*
Wish me luck with the new letter!

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