Blog · Writing

To Query or Not to Query

I am on the cusp of doing something I swore I would never do again. I’m going to query.

What is a Query?

“It is the act of presenting your soul to a literary agent. The agent then slaughters your dreams in a ritual equivalent to death by a thousand cuts.”

Why for the love of God would I subject myself to this again and again and again?

Money. Recognition. Fame. Money.

I pitched this book to an agent at Chuck Sambuchino’s writing workshop last fall. The agent asked to see the first hundred pages. With the 100 pages I need to send a query. A query is your hook. A few short lines about your book that will make the agent drop everything and read.

Sounds easy, right? NO. Hell to the no.

To this agent’s credit, she had positive things to say. One being: Don’t hit that self-a712ca9973609f97a6e93bd92e51697e.jpgpublish button so quickly. – BE PATIENT.  She liked me, but then again maybe she liked everyone. Maybe she’s a liar. Or delusional. (see that right there? that’s self-sabotage)

Reasons why writing a query helps the writing process.

The query will define what your book is about. The genre, the plot, whether it has holes or is too complex. My problem is that I can never, ever, describe my book. You ask me for the plot of a book I’ve read and I can tell you in three sentences. You ask me what my book is about and I’m like, “Uh, um, um. A girl that likes a boy and then they go to the beach, and like, she kisses him, and then they go to a party. The end.”

Why not to query?

I am a self-published author. I have 3 books currently for sale on Amazon. I sell a few dozen books a month, sometimes more sometimes less. Thousands of pages are read a month on Kindle Unlimited. I’ve been invited to several book signings. I’ve been featured in a book subscription box, and this fall I am a featured author on a cruise. (like on a boat)

I could save myself the stress and aggravation of querying and self-publish this book. I could do alright. I could sell enough books to support my Starbucks addiction. Or, I could query, get an agent, sell my book, and pay off my car.

What if my query sucks?

If your query sucks the agent will not read your pages. They receive hundreds of requests a week, in order to weed out the ones without potential, they use the one-page query to determine if you are worth their very valuable time. It’s important not to suck.

I’ve decided to hire a professional to help write my query. I’m lucky because the editor I’m using actually edited the first draft of this manuscript. I sit here writing this blog when I’m supposed to be writing a sample query for her. (Procrastination is a writer’s BFF)

Doing this together.

I’ve decided to query several agents. If I’m going to query one I might as well query ten maybe even twenty. It’s like taking lashes after five rejections you’re numb to the pain.

I’ve decided to document my journey in a weekly blog post. So, stay tuned!

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5 thoughts on “To Query or Not to Query

  1. This is the scariest part of writing for me. I one day hope to query, but it is just so stressful, but I hope to one day find the right person to be an agent for me and hopefully get published… idk which avenue for publishing would be best yet for me, but I am 18 and I hope to finish a full book this year. I did query once for a book I finished that did alright on wattpad, but I have so much hope for other books in the future. Thank you for this post. I enjoyed reading it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish I started all of this when I was 18! You are so ahead of the game. My last query quest was in 2011/2012. Epic fail. Then I went to a writing workshop in 2013 and was like OH! I suck. My book was unpolished and horribly written. My query was a joke. It more like a pen pal letter. Go to workshops where agents speak, it helped me SO much! Invaluable information. I even saw RL Stine speak at one conference. Most are worth the money. You can take some courses online too! Writers Digest offers lots of webinars and chances to pitch agents for feedback. Good Luck! I’m rooting for you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so much! I will definitely try to attend and look up as much information as I can. I am currently at the beginnings of a book that I have a fantastic feeling about and I hope to at least have the first draft written this year. I can’t wait to see where my writing takes me!

        Like

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