I have started to send out queries to agents for my Golden Heart ® finalist manuscript. Every time I hit the send button is a gulp-worthy moment. I have selected a small group of agents and hope to hear responses back from them over the next few weeks. Fingers crossed that they ask to read the full manuscript.
What the heck is a query, you might ask? Let me give you an Intro 101 course. A query is a letter that contains information about your book, like the genre, word count, and a summary blurb describing the characters and your main conflict. The query also should contain information about you as well. Oh yeah, it should only be one page too. For many agents, that is all they want to see when you first contact them. A few paragraphs to grab their interest and make them ask for more. Now, you may think that a one-pager should be easy for someone who writes hundreds of pages. Well…you would be wrong. A query is one of the HARDEST things to write.
How do you convey your characters, a bit of your plot and your writing style in a couple of paragraphs AND convince them to come back for more??? I know the most-seasoned of writers who literally cringe if you say the word ‘query’ in front of them. But as writers we persevere. For queries you want to have someone else read it before you send it out. You may spend as much time on a one page query as you would thousands of words in your manuscript.
And ultimately, you are trying to sell your baby, the book of your heart, months of your life…do you get how emotional this all can be? And the kicker is that before you can send out your letter, you have to research, research, research to find agents that are looking for what you are selling. So are we writers gluttons for punishment? Yes and no. We love what we do and want others to share in our writing and no one is going to knock on your door and ask you to submit. You have to take the initiative. Keep your head up and click send (and if you need to gulp, that’s okay too).