May 11, 2009

There is Only One Thing Left to Do

It's finally that time kids ... I've written, I've edited, I've pruned, I've rewritten, I've moved chapters, I've edited some more, and edited again ... and now it's time. The only thing left to do...

...*Poppins pulls her hair out, breaks into a cold sweat and screams!* ...

The only thing left to do is write the query letter.

I have painfully realized through my first attempts at query letter writing, that I am indeed not very good at it. Well let's be honest, I'm horrible at it. My novel comes off as silly, superficial and uninteresting when I try to summarize it. The novel itself, not so silly, superficial and uninteresting. Does this make me a bad writer? Am I suffering from lack of oxygen to the brain? (No need to answer that one kids...) Why is it so hard to summarize 80,000 words into 250?

...*Poppins sighs (Loudly!) and places her wrinkled forehead in her tiny child sized hands*...

I've read ALL the blogs and articles I can find on it, yet I still can't seem to perfect it. And seeing as I AM Desperately Searching for my Inner Mary Poppins, you can guess that my Query Letter is not leaving my Inbox until it is PERFECT! I'm just not sure how to get it that way yet.

Can you help me? PLEASE SHARE WITH ME YOUR SECRETS! I like secrets! (No not the secret about your co-worker's husband's affair with the secretary's sister who was once a man, or the one about your brother's uncle's monkey that just got out of Banana Rehab, and I do NOT need to know that you pick your nose and pee in the shower... ) Tell me your secrets to Query Letter writing! I need all the help I can get!!!

... *Poppins gets down on her knees and begins to beg with her pathetic blue eyes turned into a puppy dog fashion*...

8 comments:

Jessica said...

Hmmm, well I have a little formula I like to use. Okay, first though, it has to sound like a blurb and in a query, it's more than okay to end on a hook.
So, I say the main character and I put an adjective in front of her name. Something that best describes her.
Like, bold PI Rachel, or Prudence Riley, free-spirited socialite...
Then I introduce the goal.
Then the conflict.
Then the stakes.
:-)
There's lots of good places to get query critiques, though I recommend donning your leather skin first. But it's worth it SO much to get others' takes on it before you send it out.
You can do it! Congrats on reaching this stage. It's like an exciting adventure when it's time to send your baby out into the world. :-)

T. Anne said...

I've done queries seven ways to Sunday. the ones that garner the most attention are short and sweet with something personal (short of begging) written to the agent.

Cathie said...

No clue, but good luck at getting published!

Marybeth said...

Thanks Jessica! I will have to try it that way. I have to admit...I did do the Nathan Bransford Mad Libs query letter to get started. How lame is that...LOL

T. Anne...I am all about adding that personal touch. I love the agents who have blogs and twitter and give us a chance to get to know them. It sure makes querying a bit easier!

Thanks for the sending some luck my way Cathie...I will take it! :D

JM81 said...

I know nothing of query letters....Good Luck!! But I do know that my friend's brother's uncle's monkey fell off the banana wagon and is back on the smack. It's a sensitive subject.

Katie said...

Once you find the secret - could you please share it with me!?!?

This is one secret - although completely useless to you at this point. But for my most recently completed rough draft, I actually wrote the query and synopsis before I wrote the book. Told you this wouldn't be helpful... but something to consider next time. It's much easier for me to go from small to big than from big to small.

Litgirl01 said...

Oh gosh! I can't help you with this one. Rick Daley has a site that deals with queries...you can submit them for critique. Try that! :-) Jessica Faust has samples of successful queries on her site with comments on why she liked them. Check them out! :-)

Here is the public query site: http://openquery.blogspot.com/

StephanieM-K said...

My "specialty" is persuasive writing -- and I used to spend my days writing and editing blurbs for national newspaper syndication that summarized anything and everything "cool" in 100 words or less. I haven't personally written queries to literary agents or publishers, but I did help a friend shop his novel for an entire summer so I do have SOME experience in this realm (though it's outdated since this was before "the internets.") I'd be happy to offer my two cents if you'd like some help from a marketing/media person's perspective.