I’ve talked about the publishing process quite a few times here on my blog.
I’ve also talked about the dreams I still have about querying.
We all know what querying entails: making sure all the awesomeness of your MS is neatly tied up in 250 words or less. Sounds easy, right? Then you actually try and do it and…ugh.
A few weeks ago I had a really productive phone chat with my agent about a new makeup story for an older crowd (twenties)–so, I’m working on a NAish novel now. Chick lit has always been my passion. Books by Sophie Kinsella and Allie Larkin are among my favorites, because they’re light, fun, and allow you to get lost in a story and leave you with all happy feelings.
So after we threw around some basic ideas, I said I’d work on putting together a summary for the story and send it to her before I completely dove into the new MS. As I sat down to brainstorm concrete ideas I started doing something I swore I’d never do again.
I drafted a query letter.
No, I am not actually querying (Carrie is The Dream Agent) and no, I am not crazy.
Think about it: when we go to a bookstore, the only way to know for sure if a book is interesting is by flipping it over and reading the back summary.
Writing it up in that way seemed the best way to consolidate what had been floating around in my head. It took about two weeks to settle on a plot, characters, and the basic story, and a week to write the query. It got very frustrating at times, and every twenty words or so I’d slam the laptop closed, wondering why I was putting myself through this.
In the end, I am so glad I did it. It was far from a perfect query; I also know the MS is going to change a ton of times as I write it. But still. It gives me a place to start from, and now I have a fairly neat flow of ideas I was able to present to my agent, and for myself to follow as I draft.
I learned a valuable lesson: querying is a lifelong skill and even though I don’t technically have to do it anymore, it’s a skill I can implement throughout my life (unlike algebra, geometry, and scientific notation.)
I plan on doing this for all my MSs from now on. I’m really glad I had this idea and even happier I was able to follow through with it.
What about you?? Do you like writing queries or loathe them?? Do you think it’s a good skill to learn and have throughout your writing life??