Find that voice deep within you!

Querying Writing

Are you brave enough to ‘Query’ your writing?

Ask yourself the question, ‘Why do I write?’. Be honest with yourself. When you sit down at your keyboard or notepad, what’s the underlying motivation driving you forward? A definition of motivation is:

the process that initiates, guides, and maintains goal-oriented behaviors

Querying your novel with editors and agents can be a tough journey
How can you narrow the odds of your book being picked?

Now fast forward a little to the end of your current writing project. You have a completed work, of sorts. It’s as good as you can make it. What next? Maybe mixed up in your motivations for writing there may be the desire that you’d like other people to see your work or maybe not?

Perhaps you’ve got this vague notion that you’ll finish your writing masterpiece to wide applause, getting noticed and rewarded far and wide. The change from writer to promoter though can be challenging for authors. Moving from the creative writing mindset to getting your work noticed requires you to morph from writer to project manager, fully decked out in protective armor mode.

Moving from your own private world of positive feedback and well-wishers to the harsh reality of agents and editors is not for the faint-hearted. Unless you’re very lucky the word ‘rejection’ is going to become part of your everyday life. You’ll see your beloved writing project torn up, shredded, thrown out, stamped on, and generally dismissed as a heap of crap. There is one truth though you need to remember as you traverse this lonely rejection journey, it’s part of the process of becoming a published writer.

This hazardous journey was the topic of discussion at last night’s Finding Your Writers Voice meet-up. We poured over ‘The Complete Guide to Query Letters’ by Jane Friedman. The guide helpfully breaks down the whole process of querying into four elements.

What are the four elements that you need in your query letter?
Four Query Letter Elements

The formula is quite straightforward in terms of the do’s and don’ts. The key piece of advice I took from the article is not to start the process of querying until you actually have your story finished. Finished, being defined as the best place you can get it to, minus editors or copywriters involved. You’ve taken it as far as you can.

Once your project is complete, start the process with confidence, and if anything by some miracle happens fast then you are ready to go. The worst possible scenario is you start the querying process, an editor or agent asks to see the work, and opps, you haven’t quite finished, disaster!

The other main resource that was most interesting is the website Querytracker. The website has a section where they publish interviews with authors who have been successful in finding literary agents. Nearly four thousand authors give insights into their query journey and share their query letters to help other writers. The website is well worth having on your query resource list, spending time reading the many successful query letters is a worthwhile investment of your valuable time.

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