Friday, September 3

Query Blues

So I started writing my query last night. The entire experience was awful. I tried to look at agent blogs and writer blogs, but it didn't work out so well. Whoever says writing a query isn't hard—and I’ve learned there are a lot of you people out there—should be taken out back and pelted with snowballs.* Repeatedly.

Quite frankly, I don't care if other people think it’s easy or difficult. I think it’s hard, therefore it's inconsiderate for others to undermine my troubles by telling me it’s easy. People mean well, but they have to realize that every writer is different, which means the query process—from start to finish—is going to be different, too.

For that reason, I'm not going to sit here and tell you query-virgins out there that this “simple” 250 word letter is easy if you follow the appropriate steps. *snicker-snorts* No, I won't do that to you. However, I will warn you that you may be just like me and find it extremely difficult to write. If that's the case, I'M SO SORRY. We can cry on each other's shoulders if you want?

So what about you guys? Are you query-virgins or are you a pro at it? Do you find writing the query easy or hard? Have any tips?

*If you don't think I can find snowballs in September, think again.*


  1. Have you tried Query Shark? ( The archives are extremely useful, I've found. I took what I learned there to try writing a query. Not sure if it's enough of a hook, but at least the process was less stressful for me.

    Good luck!

  2. I've only written one query. And the most stressful part about it? The words that came out on the page made the book sound so much cooler than it was. I wrote it after the first draft in an effort to sort of clarify the main plot. And see if I could boil the plot down effectively going into revisions. (Which would hopefully lead to revisions that made the book better.)

    Query writing= not fun at all.

    Have you been to Nathan Bransford's forums? There's a whole section for getting feedback on your query and he even does the occasional query critique Friday where he'll choose (via a random number generator) a query posted in the appropriate thread to be re-posted for feedback. (Including feedback from him.)

  3. So, I used to think writing a query was easy. That was the first time I thought I had nailed it, and then proceeded to strike out with my book utterly. The next book, I knew was going to be harder to write a query for, and every SINGLE time I think I have it right, I start second guessing myself almost immediately. It's terrible. At this point, I don't know if my problem is my query letter, or if it's my actual book! THERE IS NO WAY TO WIN.

    Okay, okay, I'm trying to be chill. I have done all the research. I have let people crit my query (all 132346547 versions of it) and now I am right back at square one with you staring at it going I have no idea how to make this work.

    I am right here with you.

  4. It is really hard because there is no standard template; you have to fit your query to each specific agent.

    Start off small and write the blurb: the three of four sentences that are the hook of the novel.

    Good luck.

  5. My query is terrible (pronounced ter-reeb-blay). One helpful (but not really) thing I've learned is to write it BEFORE writing the book.

  6. Ack, queries. They're hard to write (and synopses are even WORSE), and whoever says otherwise...well, that snowball idea sounds quite right.

    I've got no advice (I know, I suck), because I have a hard time, too. And I'm by no means an expert yet. Heh.

    Best of luck to you!

  7. Queries are very scary. Taking something that you love and summing it up in two to three paragraphs is HARD! Dammit! K...yeah...feeling a bit better.

  8. JA- Yep, I've looked there. I enjoy reading the crits, but I dont find it all that helpful. It's so rare that a good query comes around. I wish there were more examples of GOOD queries, ya know?

    Stephanie- Aww no! Yes, I agree with you. I had to take a whole day away from my first attempt to calm down, LOL! And yes, I've looked at Nathan's. I didnt find it all that helpful *shrugs*

    Amalia- Oh no!! *hugs* Im sorry.

    Donna- Thank you!

    Mariah- lmao yes, not as helpful when the book is already written. But maybe I'll try that for my next book. Couldn't hurt, right? ;)

    Jenna- Thank you!!

    Tina- Yes, yes they are. Lmao.

  9. :HUGS: Darlin' if I had a dollar for every query I've written I could buy myself a few hours with a psychologist. If that's makes me a pro at this, then someone needs to fire me. Every one of them was hard. True, the first few were harder than they are now, but still. All the resources out there still can't tell you what's the perfect information for you to put in, and what to leave out, or even which plot thread of your glorious manuscript you should focus your 250 words on.

    Last night, I started writing the blurb for this rebirth of DLN, and you know what? I have pages and pages of blurbs with big red lines through them. What I ended up with was one great sentence to start with. :shrug:

    In the end, you do the best you can. Then you ask people who've read your manuscript if the thing sounds like what they read and you ask people who haven't read it if the letter makes them want to read it. If the answer's yes to both, then you send it out and hope for the best.

    Hang in there.

    Oh, and one place that really helped me - with both queries and synopses was: Author! Author!. It looks like she's in the middle of doing a series of posts called "Querypalooza", so that might be worth a read. If not, search her archives.

  10. People say queries are easy to write? Who are these imbeciles?

    There is nothing more difficult in writing. I feel your pain. And my own.

  11. It is hard. But you can do it! Like Elana Johnson says, we can do hard things. Good luck!

  12. Have you written a synopsis yet? EVEN HARDER. Am I evil? Perhaps. But I love you and I know you can do it. Hang in there. They don't say, "writing the book is the easy part" for nothing.

  13. B.E.- Great tips... Thank you.

    Matt- I know! People are crazy lol Im sorry you're going through the same thing.

    Angie- lol I dont read Elana's blog... But I'll believe you ;)

    Di- Ugh, no I havent. *is scared* And you're not evil lol. You didn't say a query was easy-- you just said a synopsis was harder, LOL.

  14. Queries are very hard to write. I took on class on the subject and it helped. Just write a good pitch, get some feedback on your letter, then send it off.

    Best of luck!

  15. Jennifer- Yeah, they are. It just takes time.


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