The time has come for the next step — the Query step. I will not pretend this step will be any easier than the step of constructing the manuscript. This step could be the part that induces me to drink. To see a riotous breakdown of what writing a query letter on gin looks like, follow this link. The first time I read this, back well before I was going to write a query letter, I laughed so hard a little coffee came out of my nose.
The internet is ripe with tips on querying. What to do. What not to do. How to look like an amateur. How to look like a pro. How to be a pretentious snob no one will ever want to work with. There are different styles, different do’s and don’ts, some incredibly helpful, others complete nonsense.
It’s actually amazing how much contradicting information you can get on one subject, but then, isn’t that the problem with researching on the internet in the first place? My sister-in-law and I just had the same discussion about pregnancy advice. One article said yes to chamomile tea, the other a firm no. I told her valerian root (which is found in Sleepytime Extra) is a no-no, but I drank chamomile through my pregnancy and never heard any different from my doc. My son did come out a little sleepier than expected, but what the hell?
Apparently, writing a Query is harder than drafting a novel. Some even describe it as an art form. I don’t really get that. It’s a letter. It requires that you can compellingly summarize your novel in a few concise paragraphs. OK, this is harder than it sounds. To summarize, as defined by the infinite wisdom of Webster, means to give a brief statement of the main points. This should not be too hard for the author, but authors are notorious for being fluffy headed and wordy. Those qualities make summarizing a lofty goal.
There’s also the mysterious question of do you or do you not compare it to other books on the market in your chosen genre. This requires a skilled hand, a dose of humility, and a knowledge of the many possible books you could be compared to. As a YA reader, I know a few, but since I have been writing my own novel, I have been remiss is my duties as reader. This leaves me wondering what the hell to compare it to and if that is a good or bad sign that I can’t?
Finally, the author bio. Some say you must absolutely include a brief history of you as a writer. Others think this is superfluous as they are hiring the book, not you. I say, let my material speak for itself. Plus, I’m unpublished, so I have very little bragging rights. Unless I can include this pic of my son: