Thursday, February 13, 2014

Ready to Query?

I've been asking myself that question for months. Am I ready to query? Well, if I want to be published, I figure I’m probably going to have to do something other than pray.

The answer to the query question isn't easy. Although my book is great (you’ll love it), I’m still doing some in-depth editing. But, what difference does that make?  I could still send out query letters. Right?

I could. But, what if by some miracle, I get a reply asking me for the whole thing? What do I do? Do I send my baby out before it’s ready? Do I take a chance that the editor or agent will gloss over any mistakes or inconsistencies because my writing is so incredible?

Wait a minute. If someone wanted my work, I could always throw myself into an insane editing marathon and hope that everything would somehow end up being perfect. Right?

Yeah, right. My life would be a mess, not to mention what a manuscript, edited by a bleary-eyed lunatic, would look like. No, no editing marathon.  Much better to work on my masterpiece until it’s ready for the firing squad. Also, this way, I’d have less chance of cultivating an ulcer.

Although my work isn't quite ready for querying, it is close. And, I know that writing a query letter is extremely difficult. The process has been known to demoralize even the most confident writer. Therefore, I wouldn't attempt it alone. Especially since my confidence can be iffy. I tend to moan while waiting in line to pitch my book.

There are many sites where you can find excellent instruction about how to query. Here are three I like:

Since I've read a lot of these articles, I've learned how to query. Right?

I'm sure you guessed the answer. No. I’m still in novice land. What I need, what a lot of writers need, is feedback, someone to read my pitiful query attempts and point out the problems. Where do you find someone like that?

One venue is a writing group. A good writing group will have members who’ll give you an honest critique. If they've had any experience writing query letters, their help can be invaluable. Often, however, group members’ experience with query letters is spotty. And, what if you don’t have a writing group? If you're not part of a writing group, my advice is to search for one. I have an online critique group through the Sisters in Crime Guppies subgroup and a physical writing group near my home.

Another really good option to solve your query concerns is to find an online workshop where you can get feedback on your letter. You’ll find them advertised through writing forums from time to time. I’m considering taking one next week from Savvy Authors. Savvy'sQueryWorkshop
It’s inexpensive, looks to be thorough, and, best of all, it provides feedback on your efforts. 

Once I have my query letter tucked in my back pocket, I can get back to editing. By the time I’m ready to rock some agent or editor’s world, my query letter will be ready. 

Bestseller lists, here I come!