It’s been another busy week. I’ve been writing, planning out my blog, and now I think I’m ready for the next step…. tackling query letters again.
*insert dramatic music*
It’s been a while since I’ve sent out query letters to agents and publishers. If you’re new to the writing game, a query letter is basically a bit like a job interview and a story pitch all in one. You have to show your writing chops, plus really sell the idea of your novel. You also usually include a sample of your novel (first chapter, first 50 pages) as per the requested guidelines.
And, of course, every agent or publisher you send it to has slightly different guidelines. It can be a real process in and of itself–forget the hours of writing, rewriting, and editing (read: sleepless nights, endless frustration, crippling self-doubt)… this is where trying to publish a book gets difficult!
But the first step is to plan. This year, I purchased Writer’s Market (rather than just checking it out from the library). That’s right! I’m getting serious!
I figured, if it’s my own copy, I can highlight potential publishers/agents and then take notes beside them based on the response.
(I’m also mentally preparing myself for the deluge of rejection letters I’ll use to wallpaper my office….)
Because, here’s the thing: Rejections are gonna happen. Harry Potter was rejected 12 times. Kathryn Stockett’s The Help was rejected 60!
There are a million reasons why an agent or publisher may not be interested in a work. It doesn’t mean that the manuscript you poured your heart and soul into is just plain bad. (At least, as a writer, you hope, hope, hope that’s not what it means.)
Writers are notorious for having nasty inner voices. Rejection letters just give those voices more fuel. But, for the past couple of years, I’ve taken a break. Now, however, I think it’s time to step back up; crack my knuckles; take a long, hard look at the publishing world and say, “I’m ready for you. I’ve written my best. I’ve re-written my best. I’ve edited my best. It’s time for the next step, whatever may come.”
It takes a lot of luck, along with hard work, but I think it’s time to be brave again. Because rejection, in any form, is always hard.
Here’s hoping one day I can look back on this entry and think, Wow, I was so worried, and now I’m published.
Cross my fingers. Knock on wood. Do any other “good luck” rituals that come to mind.
Let’s do this.