I just wrote my first query letter!!!
Exclamation points aside, it’s not the funnest thing in the world. A little nerve-wracking, to be honest. How do you boil 70,000 words to just 250, while making it sound enticing, lively, and irresistible?
Wait, this sounds like something I’ve done before…something I did in my previous incarnation as an editorial assistant….It sounds like…
WRITING FLAP COPY!
Yes, once upon a time, I wrote the descriptive copy on book covers. (I considered picking out a few of them from Amazon, but then I thought there might be legal issues there.)
I’m not saying that every single paragraph of cover copy was a brilliant masterpiece. Some of them could definitely be improved upon, but I have practice.
I will admit that it’s a little tougher to describe your own manuscript – probably because only half of you sees the actual story in front of you and the other half just sees the vision of what you wanted it to be. (One category is not necessary better than the other.)
But if you think about it, query letters are actually a better opportunity to represent your work. In the post-publication world, you usually only have two chances (ie. editions) to sell the book to readers: the flap copy of the hardcover and the cover copy of the paperback. On the other hand, if one query letter doesn’t get a lot of attention, I can always rewrite it before before I send it out again – to a fresh list of agents, of course.
Now, to compile my research into an agent query log on Excel…
(Please, note: This is euphoria after completing a task I’ve been stressing over for weeks. This bugged me much more than cover letters for job applications, but really, it’s the same concept. You must learn to brag about yourself in a believable way.)