Writing While… Part V — writing while writing a query

Writing while writing a query

For the past several months I’ve been sending out my novel to agents (you can read about that journey in Writing While Submitting and Writing While Receiving Rejections). And even though both submitting and receiving rejections are not on the list of my most preferred activities, writing a query beats them both.

My current query is a few months old. I was thrilled with it when I wrote it. But then a few months of submissions later, I realized that I was getting very few requests off that query. Agents were suspiciously silent. Which, after I thought about it, could basically mean any of the following:

(1)They didn’t respond because they were being rude;

(2)They didn’t respond because they weren’t interested in my book;

(3)They didn’t respond because they didn’t understand enough from my query to be potentially interested in my book

Since addressing (1) and (2) would just be a waste of time, I decided to address the last issue. And so I posted the query I’ve been sending on the Absolute Write Forums under the Query Letter Hell heading.

There is a reason they call it Hell.

After reading a few critiques I wanted to crawl into a dark hole on a planet where light doesn’t exit. I also wondered what in the world ever possessed me to think I could write when I am so horribly, terribly awful at it.

So I closed my computer and spent a few hours hating myself and everything I’d ever written. The next day, probably because I am a sucker for punishment, I re-worked my query and posted it again. This time, I thought, it had to work. Because in my head it sounded really, really good.

The bad news is that it wasn’t.

The good news is that, although I still want to crawl into a dark hole, it doesn’t have to be on a planet without any light. So I am guessing I am developing thick skin.

What I am not developing though is a successful query. Even though I keep writing one over and over again.

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3 thoughts on “Writing While… Part V — writing while writing a query

  1. I wonder, I wonder….people live to critique. it somehow shows you as more perceptive to see faults than say why something is good? how can you be sure they’d ever find a query good enough?

    1. I think there is certain truth to what you say, Nicola. Especially since posting it on Absolute Write Query Hell assumes you are looking for improvements. And chances are I’ll never write a query which will be to everyone’s liking. But at the same time those who critique there have seen so many queries that they do know what they are talking about. And once in while you get someone who points out an improvement or a good line or even a good query. So it’s not always “hell”… although 95% of the time it is. 🙂

      I am on my 10th draft in three days so keeping fingers crossed!

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