Sarah's Scribbles

The Year of Months

My Very First Query Letter

Ok, I just danced around the house and woke my sister up (SORRY KAYELEE! There are still cupcakes in the kitchen if you're angry with me) to tell her this... so I need to take a deep breath.

Whew.

So, most of you know I recently won a query letter critique on Kathleen Ortiz's blog. For those of you not knowledgeable of the publishing world, a query letter is something you send an agent/editor to try to get them to read your book. So winning the contest meant that a Real Live Book Agent was going to take a vicious (virtual) red pen to my query letter.

And then I thought: Um.... What query letter?

It's confession time, Dear Reader. Before entering this contest, I had never written a query letter. I know, I know, but I thought it better to focus on revisions for Miranda's Fire first. I, of course, had written/spoken less polished summaries of my WIPs... and the summary/hook is the main part of the query letter. Also, I had read countless blog posts on how to write a query letter, query letters that worked, biggest query letter mistakes, etc... Plus I've gotten pretty good at writing letters that make people give me their money, so that helps.

So I wrote one. Then I let it sit for a day and revised it. Then I let it sit for another day and revised it again. Shortly before I was about to send it to Ms. Ortiz, I had a slight panic attack. It was late at night so I went on facebook chat to see who was around and asked two very smart people (Thanks Brent and Cookie!) to read over it real quick. I made some minor revisions based on their comments and sent it off, stomach flip flopping.

I know it was silly to be SO nervous, but this was my very first query letter experience and I hear people bemoan them so often that I am quite terrified of the whole concept.

Well, I just got back the agent's notes. She made some minor comments - three to be exact - and I mean, like, MINOR. Three! I was thinking, "What does this mean? Was it so bad that she didn't even know what to say?"

Then I read the note at the bottom and I squealed like a teenage girl at a Jonas Brothers concert.

She said that it "was a REALLY well written query" and then some more stuff about not fixing something that isn't broke. THEN! Then, Dear Readers, she said that it "sounds REALLY intriguing" and that, when I'm ready, she would "love to take a look at the first few chapters" and that I could "feel free to bypass the query stage" and send her an email.

As a writer, I lament that have nothing better to express my feelings than this: SQUEE!!

Now, it's back to revisions. A good query letter isn't worth a darn thing if there's not a great novel to follow it!

3 comments:

I've kind of started reading your blog now, so I thought I'd say hi and congrats. That's really awesome and sounds very "squeeable".

 

This is FABULOUS!!!!!! Awesome query skills, girl ;)

 

hehe, thanks chris and christa! I'm still kinda riding the high and letting it fuel my revisions.