It's a rare Sunday post for me, but I had to get this out whilst it was still in my brain. Since I've turned off the AC in my house for the first time in about ten days, who knows how long anything will remain before my brain actually melts.
Yesterday, Saturday, I attended my monthly Mad City Romance Writers meeting. This is a great groups of writers, published and unpublished, that both inspire and push me to be a better writer. I love going because some of the folks in this group are people I'm sure I wouldn't meet in my regular life, but it's our differences that make these meetings a lot of fun!
So yesterday the topic was Query Letters. If you're a writer who's submitted one of these beasts, you know how awful the query is. What is the magic formula for a query? Many books have been written and sold on the subject. I can save you a lot of time and money by answering this questions right here:
There is no magic formula for a query letter.
Yes, a lot of authors who have made their money writing books on how to write the guaranteed query are going to get plenty beefed at me, but I don't care. If you want to spend your dollars wisely as you invest in your writing career, there are three books you need to buy:
1) Writer's Market.
Get the current year, of course. This manual of agents, editors, magazines and publishing houses is a must have. Generally costs $35 in bookstores, but worth every penny because it's a lot of info in one place.
2) Stephen King: On Writing
Forget all other how to writing manuals. Get the one written by the master. One part autobiography, one part writing manual, it's the go to for any writer. I believe it's $27 new, but you can get this one used any place.
3) Dream in Color...by ME!
Duh...you thought I wasn't going to MARKET in a blog? Please! LOL!
As for the query letter, here's the very best thing I can tell you: The most success I've had is when the agent or editor asks for pages or a synopsis in addition to a query. You can use www.querytracker.net as a great one stop info guide to which agents and editors want both a query and a synopsis.
As for writing a query, keep two things in mind:
1) Keep your hook and story synopsis short. The hook is one sentence. The story synopsis isn't a synopsis, it's a paragraph with the bare bones outline of the story.
2) Keep your biographical info shorter. No one cares if you won your 5th grade writing contest. Open with the big stuff first. (I made this mistake in mine and was soundly scolded yesterday! LOL!) Then, if you're a little thin on writing credits and you feel you MUST mention you won your fifth grade writing contest, keep it simple: I'm an award winning writer. It's not lying....really.
Most of all remember this: Rejections on queries, like rejections on everything else in writing, is purely a matter of luck. If I hadn't met Rhonda Penders at a chocolate fountain in Green Bay Wisconsin, Dream in Color would never have happened. You will get your big break, so long as you work hard, remain persistent (And by persistent I point to my inspiration and critique partner, who has sent out more than 80 queries in the last year.) and look for that magic chocolate fountain!
but above all...KEEP WRITING!