The Thing About Query Letters

I powered through and finished hot mess #1.

I like it! I feel good about it! It’s a book I would like to read, and would have adored and probably read over and over when I was in middle/high school. But now, in order to get other people to read it and hopefully make money off of it, I have to get in published. In order to get it published, I have to find an agent.

Part of my week-long retreat to the mountains (where there was nothing but one bar of cell signal, rain, and ticks) was to revise and really nail down my query letter. So I did! I agonized how to best craft those short paragraphs to land me an agent who’s gonna love my concept, then love the manuscript, then sell the crap out of it.

After a week or two of procrastinating and wallowing in insecurity, I finally started to dig into agents who have posted MSWLs or who have represented works and authors I love. I read submission guidelines and realized something important:

My query letter, which I agonized over, was worth very little. Well, that’s not true. It’s worth a lot, I spent a lot of time on it and it really appropriately sums up my novel. What I mean is that it was not what agents wanted to see in a query.

They had very specific guidelines, sometimes down to the paragraph or even line, of what they wanted. My carefully crafted query letter got chopped up the first time I needed it.

I guess I should get used to chopping. They say you get 100 rejections before you get picked up, so here I am, on my quest to collect nirn root. This is just the first annoying task in this series of tasks, but it puts me one step closer, right?  I hope?

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