#IWSG: Fear of a Query Letter

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It’s the first Wednesday of the month (already!) and once again I’m participating in Alex J Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writers Support Group Day. You can find a list of other participants here. Please go to their websites and take a look around. I did last month and made some new friends in the blogosphere all while getting to read some really great stuff.

 

So my novel is done (Whoo-hoo!) and even though I’m excited to finally be done with it I know that the next step will be just as tough as writing those 80,000 words; querying.

I think that was part of the reason I dragged my feet so much on this project because, when it’s done, what do I do? Leave it in a drawer? Use it as a cup holder? Wear it on my head? No. I’ll have to give it to my trusted first readers (okay, just one, my friend Toya), and bite my nails until she’s done (the last time I let her read my novel I had bad dreams that when we met up to talk about it she laughed at me. And I mean doubled over, slapping the table laughing. But I digress).

Anyway, I’ll let Toya (and probably others) read it, give me some feedback, and then I’ll start the process of writing my query letter. And since I’ve been putting it off, the writer’s guilt has been blinking in the back of my mind like a broken red light. You need to start thinking about your query. Blink. Blink. And then of course, I decide that I need to do the dishes, or go to Zumba, or worse, watch Bad Girls Club Mexico (don’t judge me). But I know it’s something that I need to do, especially if I want to go the traditional publishing route.

Let’s see: condense the main elements of my story into a few paragraphs, write it in such a way that the agent gets an idea of the novel’s voice, and oh yeah; don’t ramble on too much about how I’ve always loved to write, ever since I was eight and wrote my first story called Sheeba, the Cat (which, coincidentally, was about a cat named Sheeba).

Sure, hon. Piece of cake. (Insert beads of sweat on Quanie’s forehead.)

I’m shaking in my boots! (And I don’t even wear boots!) But I know that I’ll get it done, and even though I’m afraid of rejection (and also afraid that the agents, much like my friend Toya in my dream, will laugh at me), I’m going to do it anyway.

Because you’re a glutton for punishment? No; because I can’t let fear of failure keep me from pursuing my dreams.

But what if those agent people laugh at you? Then I’ll just find their phone numbers and crank call them on Friday nights.  I’m still going to do it.

Really? Yes, really.

 


What are you Reading?

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I used to read a lot when I was younger. The library was right around the corner from my grandmother’s house, and I always used to walk out of that place with books stacked up to my chin. I used to lose days reading, and never wanted to play outside with my cousins because the world inside the pages of those books just seemed a lot more interesting. I read a lot of speculative/horror fiction (R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike) among lots of other genres (sometimes, I wouldn’t even look at the title of the book. I would just read the first line and if it grabbed me I would take the book home).

But lately, I’ve been having trouble finding books that I truly connect with, and I can’t seem to figure out why. I’ve wasted so much money on books that I couldn’t finish or finished books and didn’t feel completely satisfied, so now I am on the hunt for books that I can’t put down.

Here are some of my faves:
Sula
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Devil in a Blue Dress

I also read some of the stories in What we Talk About When we Talk About Love recently and loved them. I love books with strong willed female protagonists and also one that doesn’t start off too gimmicky; I like a more controlled start, one where the author is in control of the story and isn’t trying to use bells and whistles (or car chases or a dead body or profanity) to get me to turn the page.

Any suggestions? What are you reading? What are some of your faves?