Queries, loglines, and synopsis seem to be the bane of writers seeking to publish their book. It is, admittedly, a challenge to sum up an entire novel in a few paragraphs, or just one sentence.
I, however, seem to thrive on the query writing process.
Composing my logline made me giddy with joy. My query letter keeps evolving as I send it off to different agents, learning more succinct ways to sell my novel in 200 words or less, and I love it!
Here’s why: I can feel myself growing as a writer.
Each time I’ve revised my query, I’ve felt a thrill of excitement because I’m so pleased with myself for working harder at something that isn’t easy.
So what am I selling in these lovingly written queries? Well, I recently finished writing two novels.
Yes, two. And I’ve got a good start on the third.
I meant it to be one book, but after weighing in at 270,000 words (and counting), I said, “Whoa, baby,” and cut it into a trilogy.
Each time I revise my manuscript I become a better writer. These aren’t the first books I’ve written, but they’re the first of my fiction forays that feel ready and happily marketable for mainstream publishing.
Researching agents is fun for me, too. I’m learning tons in the process, and enjoy sleuthing the Internet to find a bit about each agent, personally and professionally. Then, another task to improve my letter-writing skills, I figure out the best way to personalize the query.
I’m sure I’ve made tons of mistakes. The first query I sent out didn’t have the word count of my book, and my novel description started with a total cliché. Whoops. On the other hand, I think I nailed adding a personal flair for that particular agent, so maybe she’ll give me a chance anyway. And maybe not.
I’ve only been at this for a short time. Encouragingly, the first response I received was a request for my manuscript. The next day, to keep me humble, I got my first rejection (which hasn’t been the last).
The first manuscript I sent out didn’t land me an offer, but it did get me to head back to see if I could revise, yet again, tweaking and tightening up to make it the best story possible. In fact, that rejection made me switch around the order in which the story is delivered, rather than go chronologically, making it far more engaging from the start. It also motivated me to call in a professional editor, and that has led to an even better book. Yay!
I believe so strongly in my story, and feel my skills as a writer are worthy, so I’m not discouraged by the kind emails I get saying “no thanks.” Because sooner or later, someone is going to say, “yes, please,” and I’ll be on my way to the dream of being a professional novelist with an agent that loves my writing enough to be its champion.
I’m not going to quit my day job. I couldn’t, of course, as my full-time-plus-overtime profession is being a mom and taking care of the house.
And I know that getting an agent is just the first step on the path to publishing; that my manuscript will probably get revised again before it ends up on an editors desk, and again before it graces the shelves of bookstores.
But you know what? The challenge of it all feels great.
Because, any way you look at it, I am neck-deep in the creative process, and growing by doing what I love. Writing.