Today marks the day that I am 80% confident in my query letter. After letting it sit, and tightening a few sentences I’m almost ready to send it off. I’m getting exhausted working on the prep work to submit my MS to the agents. Both the synopsis and query gave me a run for my money – something I really wasn’t expecting from them. I honestly thought I’d put a few hours into each, review a few days later, put in a few more hours and be done. But instead it was days upon weeks, then a month before I really felt confident in it. But I think the query is there…finally. Now I’ll let it sit for one more week without looking at it. After that I can review again and see if there are any last-minute things to tweak, but I’m sure if anything, it will be minor.
Why is it that the query is so difficult for writers? I think it is because first you need to sum up your book in only a few words. Not an easy task when you know the book inside and out, and everything seems like an important event that contributes to the overall essence of your book. But also you read all the blogs and websites saying what a terror they can be to write and you get scared. I’m not saying a query is easy. Not by a long shot. What I am saying is that I think were too busy trying to take a step back and write this amazing letter that we end up just running in circles in our own heads. Trying to sum it up in one perfect sentence, one perfect paragraph, and then one perfect page is a difficult task. If we could relax, and first try to write a simple letter explaining our book as though talking to a friend, then go from there, it would be easier. I wish I hadn’t been so centered on writing the best query ever written by man, and just simply focused on my story and what it really is about in the grand scheme of things. Make it short, snappy, and to the point, leaving the reader wanting more and you’ve got a great query. Lesson learned – for me at least.
Do I have a perfect query letter now? No. Do I think it’s good enough to attract an agent? I sure hope so. If after my first round of queries I haven’t received a request for a partial, then obviously it needs some work, but until I submit that first round and all those rejections come in, I’m going to be confident that what I’ve written is going to snare me one hell of an agent. I do want to review my book one more time before I send it off. I really can’t stand the idea of reading and editing it again, but I want to make sure it’s the best I can do. I was sure it was the best I could do 6 weeks ago when I finished the last draft, but since then an idea here or there has popped into my head. I’ve put those idea’s to paper, making the minor adjustment to a chapter as needed, and I think it adds to the story, but I just have to be sure there is nothing missing. I need to read it one more time and make sure I get the feeling of compeltetion. One more final draft of the novel won’t kill me. After all, I’ve waited 13 months so far, what’s another month in comparison? Besides, I don’t want to waste my chance at a great agent because I didn’t make that one final effort to tighten up my story.
Your turn. How many drafts of your query, synopsis, and manuscript did you do before you knew it was ready? Did you just know, or was it the fact you simply couldn’t stand to look at it anymore?