Right about now (the funk show brother…sorry. Couldn’t resist!) creepy music ala ‘Axe Murderer Horror Flick’ sounds.
Why? Because you’re done. Finished.
You. Are. Incredible.
You’ve developed your voice, you have shown versus told, and you’ve gone through the rigorous revision process.
Your book is ready! The world is welcome! But if that celestial choir of awesomeness doesn’t abruptly switch to the discordant symphony from hell…well. You must be new!
For those that know what comes next, the Dreaded Query has foreshadowed every thought, edit, and rewrite since you completed your first draft.
Hang on to your hats! It’s time to break it all down…gangnam style! I don’t know where all these musical references are coming from, just bear with me!
One of three things happens when you complete your manuscript.
1. For fear of getting hurt, you shelf your work, pulling it out and dusting it off on days when you feel depressed just so that you can remind yourself that you’re awesome (I’m guilty of this).
2. You go rogue and self-publish. You rebel! You entrepreneur! (I, however, have neither the capital required to launch a successful marketing campaign, nor do I have the time to spend running a business…because that’s exactly what successful self publishing will entail. I’m not saying don’t do it, but I’m a business woman in ‘real life’. Be prepared. You get out exactly the same amount of effort that you put in).
3. You go the traditional route. You decide to try and nab a book deal. Most writers will ultimately decide to ‘give it a go’, and why not? That’s what you want, so go for it!! But…you’re going to need a literary agent. Mid-size and large publishers will not…I repeat…WILL NOT touch your manuscript with a 100 foot pole unless you have an agent. They don’t see you, or hear from you unless they offer you a contract. You are a peon, and they will only speak to an agent.
If you aren’t already familiar with the process involved from the moment you type ‘THE END’ to signing that book deal (teeny tiny expectations people! J.K. Rowling got $2000 for Harry Potter and look at her now!), I’ll run through it for you…vets, stay with me.
1. Let your manuscript rest…again. I know you’ve finished revisions, but it’s like a fine wine. The more brewing time, the better.
2. Prepare your query letter (dun, dun…DUUUNNNN)
3. Run through your manuscript one final time.
4. Wonder why you need to write a query letter.
5. Share the body of your query to strangers. Online forums and social media are excellent places for this…or you can do what I do. Walk up to random strangers in the mall, thrust my phone into their face, and ask: ‘Would you read this book?’ *Whispers* don’t judge me!
6. Toss your query and start over…what do mall goers even KNOW about books? Filthy savages!
7. Once your query is ready, you need to research!! Which agent is the best fit for your manuscript? (Online resources like Publisher’s Marketplace and Query tracker are a good place to start…but I like to use A Guide To Literary Agents. It’s published once a year, and can be found in every bookstore. 2017 is out now).
But, writing a query can be more difficult than writing the book itself. Not because it’s hard to write a letter, but because the body of the query is a synopsis of a synopsis of a synopsis of your work….written in your voice, detailing everything but nothing, captivating their attention without revealing anything (kind of like this blog post)!
Sounds impossible? I promise, it’s not.
But there’s a lot of information available out there, most of it in direct conflict with each other.
In my Twitter musings, I realized that despite all the info out there, a lot of writers were still having trouble with the query, so I reached out.
And several brave souls have allowed me to spotlight their actual queries – Yes, for real This is not a drill! – so that together we might help other writers in the same boat.
So join us for this series (I’ll attempt to blog once a week, because good query dissection coupled with examples is every writer’s drug of choice), where we will break down the barriers, demolish the secrecy, and open the doors to one and all.
This is the Query Masterclass…which I now dub #QueryMC
If you haven’t already found me on Twitter, then come join the madness!! You could be missing out!