Even as my manuscript goes through stages of polish, the query letter (a better, more brutally honest title for it would be “begging letter”) goes through stages of its own. Even more than writing perfectly balanced evocative prose as a novel, as my previous post rants about, writing a one page letter describing how amazingly awesome your manuscript is and why this agent should give it a chance is a daunting task.
Yes I said daunting, and I’d go so far as to add difficult, depressing, and dastardly.
In this process the Internet, and the kindness of strangers on the Internet, have been invaluable. In particular, I turn to Writer’s Digest.com. Their site has an ongoing series of actual query letters that worked alongside comments from the editor or agent about why they responded to that particular query. A good basic post to start with from their site is “How to Write the Perfect Query Letter” from 3/21/2016. You can find it here.
Another resource that I’m increasingly grateful for is Jane Friedman. Her website is basically a goldmine for unpublished authors (it’s possible that published authors could use some of her articles too) and she is so generous about sharing her expertise. If I ever get a chance to meet her in person I owe her a big box of whatever treat she likes best. A good post from her on this subject would be “The Complete Guide to Query Letters” from 9/7/2016. You can find this one here.
If my own query letter ends up working *fingers crossed* I will be sure to post it on the blog. If it even gets more than one reply, I will go ahead and post it because hey, something about it gets replies and it might help another author write their query. I’ll be sending out another round of begging letters this week, which means adding to the scoreboard sometime before Christmas. So I’ve got that to look forward to.
Header image credit: stocksnap.io & Sergei Soloviev