Writing a query can give a writer a big honking case of self-doubt. I had to write one the other day for my current manuscript. Working on it almost drove me to tears.
The main part of a query is like the blurb you find on the back cover of a book. It’s a brief overview of the premise that serves to entice the reader into buying the book. In a query, you’re trying to entice a publisher or agent into reading the entire manuscript.
Here’s the thing–I used to write blurbs. I worked at a film company and wrote blurbs for their repertory movie theater schedule. Not only did I not find it difficult, I loved doing it!
I also worked for a different film company for about a year as a freelance reader. A reader has to create a logline (state the premise in 25 words or less), write a synopsis and give an opinion as to whether the company should or shouldn’t consider buying the script or film rights to a book. I rarely read screenplays. I mostly read books about to be published.
I used to boil the premise of other people’s books down to 25 words or less ALL THE TIME. For a query you can use as many that will fit on one sheet of paper. I really struggled with this latest one, first writing what was more a synopsis than a blurb. I had to cut it almost in half.
The other difficulty is conveying voice in a query. I could do that in a logline for someone else’s work, no problem. When it was my story, it was much more difficult.
Starting my next project doesn’t seem that daunting. Having to eventually write a query for it–very daunting.
After several false starts, I pretended I was writing a blurb for someone else’s story. That seemed to make it easier.
My beta-readers assured me the query I eventually sent out was good. We’ll see if they’re right.
5 thoughts on “Writing A Query Is As Much Fun As Dueling Sharks”
I can write 500 words on the wonders of a paperclip. BUT DON’T ASK ME to write 25 words on what my novel is about. I freeze~!
Many writers seem to have problems with queries and synopses. Maybe being so close to it is what makes it difficult.
How about if you write my query letter and I’ll write yours.
LOL, Robin–good idea!
Grear post. Good luck with your query.