Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Query Query Query

I finished my book in the spring of last year, then began editing, fixing, and tinkering with the manuscript, finally I felt it was ready to share with the world.  So I began to figure out my next step - The Query-

Okay, this shouldn't be that hard right, WRONG, it was painful.  I would sit at my desk and read site after site on how to do it, then read query after query.  This query stuff is a hard.

So I began with reading and learning as much as I could about Query's. The right and the wrong way to go about them.  I came up with my first letter and man I thought it was just simply perfect, then I put it up for peer review.  Shredded to pieces, I think my greeting and closing were all that remained after they got done with it.  They were right, of course, it did stink.

So back to the drawing board.  Again, I labored long, laborious hours to achieve the penical of perfection. I read it my family read it, my kids' friends read it.  Until at last I had a stack of discarded query's, but out of that stack came a really nice letter.

So my advice for query writing:

  • Read and learn everything you can about query letters.
  • Out line your novel, some do it before they even begin their book, but I just don't work that way, so mine was after. 
  • Write, re-write often.
  • Let the letter sit for a day, don't think about it or read it, just leave it alone. Then read it with fresh eyes. You will be surprised how stupid it sounds or how great it sounds after a day.
  • Peer review, but you must have thick skin and be willing to learn and also willing to discard the bad advice. It's a tightrope act.
  • My best advice- I had a friend who recently graduated from college with a degree in writing read my query.  She had my interest in mind (unlike some of the peer review websites) and really helped me fix the flaws. Kudos to her!!
Now, I don't think I will ever be done.  I am constantly refining the letter, tailoring it to fit the agent I am sending to.  

So do you have any hints, tricks or secrets to query writing?  If  you do let's hear it!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

You Wrote That?

So let's begin my journey.  In high school, lets say 1984, I wrote a short story about a pilot whose plane was about to crash.  I remember it clearly, a fresh piece of notebook paper, back then we used notebook paper, and a no. two pencil.  The story is now lost to me with the marching of time, but I remember  I was so excited to turn it in because I just knew it was good.  A week later I get my paper back with an A across the top, great, but something else was scribbled across the top of my page that kind of hurt.

"You wrote that?"- 

I wasn't the best of students back then, I had other things on my mind, like boys, music, and making sure my face wasn't covered in pimples. But from her note, and what I knew of this teacher, she just assumed I didn't write it, that I had copied it from some book. I hadn't.

Yeah, yeah, you say so what. Well add to that, that my mom thought I wasn't the brightest bulb in the room and that my brother 'the golden child' I like to call him, was a super genius, then there was little ol' me, sitting in a corner with drool coming down my chin.  Those words from my English teacher just drove the nail in deeper, I shouldn't write...

Now I am older, and those words from that teacher probably meant something else. So a few years ago, with the urging of my husband, I started a story.  I started, then life happened and I put it away, but a year ago, I found it, and finished it in six months.  It has been the greatest, joyous, scariest thing I think I have ever done. I feel reborn that these stores that I have wrapped up in my head can seep out in some form.

I hope you will join me as I write and maybe even sometimes blabber on about my life, family, and writing!