Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Query Letter Hell

I am indeed in query letter hell.

In both senses of the word.

Several times now, my query letter has floated around in the forums at Absolute Write. Several times now, it's been dissected into small pieces. Which is what I want, obviously, otherwise I wouldn't post it there.

Except I can't seem to make it better.

For some bizarre reason, I'm fighting an uphill battle with this particular query letter. I've written at least one query letter before, and while that doesn't make me an expert on writing them, that one got me several agent nibbles at least - one of them was the third agent I queried and would love nothing more than to work with.

So what the heck is going on with this one?

I can't seem to hit the nail on the head when it comes to voice. I'm incapacitated in some way when it comes to conveying the ideas I want to convey (or think I need to convey). Maybe I should go shorter. I don't know. I've written, rewritten, rearranged and added, reorganized and changed, rewritten, and more.

When I thought perhaps I'd reached a happy(ish) place, I sent the query to a very small number of agents. As if the cosmic universe were paying attention, one agent responded - and actually commented on the letter, stating that perhaps if it were just a bit stronger, she might have asked for material.

Well hot diggity dog - a real live agent response with advice! I promptly thanked her. I mean really, you can't ask for much more than that when all you've sent off to an agent is your query. Unless, of course, the agent puts that in all the form e-rejections...but I doubt it. That doesn't make much sense since some queries (as we all know) can be downright frightening.

Whatever the case, I took it as a sign that I need to work harder. Which sucks since I'm ready to tear this (and every) query into tiny little pieces while horns pop out of my head and flames appear in my eyes. Despite said demonic feeling, instead of doing freelance work like I'd ordered myself to do earlier, I ended up working on yet another query. One completely different from any of the others I'd written. I'll see how that flies over in Query Letter Hell.

And until I get one that functions, I'll continue to stew in Query Letter Hell.

But I'm getting to the point where I really, really hate queries and their whole existence.

Photobucket DAMN YOU, QUERY!


Anne (aka "stormie") said...

Hate, hate, hate(!) when I can't get a query right. My deepest sympathies!

LM Preston said...

I feel your pain. Having written quite a few queries for three manuscripts. Don't stress to much, if you've gotten it as far as you can remember one important thing - subjective - all of this is subjective. I have several author friends who never even got their query reviewed, and still got deals. When I read the letters I thought it could use some brush up, but the agent loved the idea in spite of it. Why don't you try going to some conferences and doing a pitch session (have you 3 line hook ready), that way you can get advice face to face from an agent.