Jul 20, 2011

Why I Write Queries Early & Often



Queries are the bane of every unpublished author I’ve ever had the pleasure of speaking with. They hate them. And I totally understand why. I hated them too. I loathed them so much I barely gave them a though for my first 3 novels – which is probably the reason I didn’t get a single partial request.

But as of late I’ve learned to embrace the query – and now it’s just those blasted synopses I hate (kidding).

When I have a WIP I can usually tell by page 5 if it’s going to be a novel I’m going to take the time to finish. So, when I make it to the 10,000-word mark, I write that dreaded query.

What results is never pretty. But it’s the bare bones what-this-book-starts-with query.

I write that WIP’s query probably five times before I’m done with the novel and then I probably write it another 3-6 times while in revisions. Then I send what I’ve got off to other people so they can tell me where I’ve made something nonsensical – because as an author I’m too close to the story and invariably include it.

That’s the thing about queries, what makes them bearable for me: they don’t have to be great the first or even eight time around. They’re like an oil painting, you have to work it into art in a succession of layers.

How do you feel about the query process?


2 comments:

  1. I can tell there's been a difference from when you first started sending me your queries to how you write them now. I think it's a great idea to use them almost as a mini-outline at the beginning of the story to see if the storyline is all there (at least that's how I see it). Querying sounds so hard. I know I've said it before, but you writers are a strong breed!

    ReplyDelete
  2. "They don’t have to be great the first or even eighth time around" -- true of our stories themselves, too. I've taken a break from querying my novels to focus on writing/submitting short fiction, but I need to get back on track. Thanks for the tips.

    ReplyDelete