The Agony of the Query Letter

Woman with thoughtful expression writing a letterThere is nothing quite like the agony of writing the query letter. Imagine – you pour your heart, soul and time into writing a novel. You’ve overcome hundreds of insecurities, millions of excuses, and managed to convince yourself that the 80,000 words that you’ve strung together amount to something that other people may actually want to read. Now you have to get the right person to do just that.


Thus, the query letter. Writing a 200 word blurb that will seduce a literary agent into reading your manuscript. It doesn’t matter how good the novel is (or isn’t). If you can’t jump this first hurdle, getting your work into the hands of one of the major publishing houses is next to impossible. You have to make every word count. Every word.

queryIf that’s not enough, you have to research all the agents. Find out who is taking on new clients, and of those few, who reps books written in your genre. Personalize each letter. And try to ignore the odds. Because, odds are, you’re going to get rejected. Repeatedly. Odds are that your query letter will be a work in progress, undergoing constant rewrites in your quest for the golden query.  Odds are, the query might break you a little. Maybe even make you cry.

wpwrite4Maybe you’ll send it off to the query shark. Maybe you’ll pay another writer to review it. Maybe you’ll decide to self publish. Or, maybe, you’ll succeed. Maybe an agent will ask you for your entire manuscript. Maybe more than one agent. And maybe one of them will ask you for a synopsis. DOH >.<

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