Curious Queries

I started this blog because I call myself a writer and it seems that’s what writers should do: have a blog.

If you’re a writer who wants to be published, you’re supposed to blog, as well as be active on Twitter, be social on Facebook, comment regularly on other blogs, read the professional publishing blogs religiously, post regularly on sites such as shewrites, participate frequently over at authorsden, and set yourself up at bookbuzzer, jacketflap (if you’re doing the YA and children’s lit thing), and others like them. You should also keep up to date through RSS feeds from galleycat, publisher’s weekly, and shelf awareness.

After breakfast, you need to read and memorize everything put out by Writer’s Digest and Writer’s Market, as well as read plenty of short story magazines so that you know what they’re looking for, and read lots of books in your genre. And then, you need to research agents to know who is looking for what and who is selling to whom.

At some point, you should write a book.

I did it a little backward, I wrote a book first, and now I’m muddling through all the other “should do’s” on the list. I seldom sleep between 2:00 a.m. and 4:30 a.m., and yet I still can’t figure out how to fit it all in.

Of course it doesn’t really matter, because I can’t get my bleeping query letter perfected. Oh yes, there’s that, too. Can’t believe I neglected to put that up there in the first paragraph.

If you want representation, you need to write a query letter to agents to “pitch” your book. I think it’d be easier to grab my lips and pull them backward until I turn my myself inside out. Vaginal births of mammoth babies sans an epidural seem less painful. Juggling spit-balls of fire from Satan over a sleeping baby would probably be less stressful.

I finished a book of 86,628 words. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end. It has fleshed out characters. All the themes that were introduced and sub-plots that were brought in come to closure. The story arc follows the traditional paradigm I was taught in writing courses: (part 1 raises central question; part 2 begins with turning point and has the protagonist pursuing a goal; part 3 is another turning point, climax and resolution). I know it intimately well. I can practically tell it to you orally word by word without the text in front of me.

And yet I can’t write a 250-word sales pitch for it. What gives?

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Curious Queries

  1. I have just started to get back into my writing and would like to go full time so I don’t have to work in shops. I have started tweeting, have a facebook page, got a blog etc. I have written half a novel and yet another half a novel. Can’t seem to progress forward. Too much time social networking. When does the writing come in. AAARRRGGGHHH!!!!

  2. A sales pitch uses less adjectives and modifiers.
    Hire a marketing team….

    • After a quick content analysis, I discovered the modifiers make up less than 3% of the total words in my query — and they are “necessary” (e.g., “women’s fiction” needs the modifier “women’s”). My problem is not the unnecessary words, it’s in condensing the layers of character-driven work into just a few sentences. And as far as a marketing team? Ha! Ever hear of starving artists?

  3. thelisas

    I wonder what would happen if HWP members wrote queries for each others works…? Might be insightful. Might be grounds for murder-suicide.

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