Saturday, March 27, 2010

Query Quibbles

Last night I stayed up late and finished editing my first novel. (Deep sigh) I need a fresh pair of eyes to do a full read over of it. I've only read it about a million times, and to me, it's stale and boring. I'm seriously hoping that it is only because I know exactly what happens and I know the contents like the back of my hand. If I have a fresh pair of eyes who are willing to go in and read it like it is an "official" novel, maybe that opinion will be different.

With the finished editing comes the time to start submitting query letters to agents. (double deep sigh) Writing a query letter is HARD. After I finished my edits I attempted my first draft for my letter. It took me over an hour to get around 250 words written. And today I re-edited the whole thing to something totally different. Writing is a forever changing process, especially for a girl who changes her mind about six thousand times a day.

I did a search of several different agents on a few literary agent sites this evening. I composed the ones that seemed to fit the criteria of my book in a list. This is probably one of the most nerve racking things I have ever done in my entire life. It's a catch 22. I spent well over a year preparing this manuscript. I've edited, re edited, rewrote, snipped, tore apart, screamed at, you name it to get it ready. In all of that mixed emotion, I had a lot of fun. Here's the catch -- An author spends all of that time polishing their work and then the agent search begins. Why is it that I'm shying away and putting it on the back burner after all of that hard work?

Could it be the fear of rejection? Yes. In the book, Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul, it mentions that getting an agent is a long line of rejections followed by one shining moment when you finally get the acceptance letter. The hard part is if you have a strong enough backbone in between rejection letters. I'm scared that I don't have thick enough skin to take it. I'm definitely going to find out. If I give up now, before even trying, that year of writing, while was fun for me, is for nothing.

Another fear is that my manuscript won't peak an agent's attention, and I'll be forced to put it in a drawer, never allowing it to see the light of day again. Since it is my first manuscript, the chances of that happening are immense. We all have to start somewhere, though.

I'm not going to submit anything tonight. Tomorrow afternoon I'm going to sit down and take another long look over the list I composed of probable agents to submit to. Ready or not, I've gotta give it a try!


Jemi Fraser said...

It is really hard to take steps in this process. I think I've written about 10 versions of my query letter so far, and I'm not happy yet.

Have you checked out Agent Query Connect or Query Tracker yet? Both sites are amazing. They both have forum sites to help aspiring writers along the process. You might want to check them out before you start sending. There's tons of great advice there.

Good luck!

Mary McDonald said...

You are an awesome writer with a good story. Just remember that. :-) I wish I could do that fresh eyes read for you, but my eyes aren't quite fresh enough. lol. All the back and forth we did on where we were going with our stories, plus reading it in increments means I know everything too.

ModernDayDrifter said...

Yeah, I have been doing a lot of reading on those sites. I just gotta remember to be patient. I've also gotten a lot of help from Mary on reworking my letter. Special thanks to her and thanks for wishing me luck!!

Tracy said...

Welcome to the crew of us in the Query & Submit stage. I've been at this for weeks and I still don't have the query pitch right yet. (Though right now I'm at the point where I'm pretty sure I'm way over-thinking it).

Do you have someone, at school perhaps, that you trust to read it over and give you their honest opinion? For me, letting someone else read my story the first time was more nerve wracking than sending out my first query letter (until it came back as a form rejection).

All the rest of the feelings are totally natural too, so don't let them freak you out too much!

Talli Roland said...

Oh, querying. It's SO hard. Then worst for me is writing the synopsis. It's like pulling teeth.

Best of luck! I agree with Jemi - AgentQuery and Query Tracker are great sources of info!

ModernDayDrifter said...

Tracy - I think I can probably find someone who will read it, but I'm with you....showing someone my entire story like that is going to be crazy. I gotta get over that part, obviously, if I want it published.

Thanks for all the suggestions everyone!