As I slowly return to the quest of trying to get my novel published I’ve been thinking a lot about the process involved and the steps I’ll need to go through. Publishing a novel requires a lot of step, but none of them can really be accomplished without the Query Letter. The query letter is your books introduction to the publishing world. It’s a single page letter covering the genre, style, length, and a quick run of the plot. It’s pretty much the same as the synopsis on the back of the paperback. A quick teaser. An appetizer designed to make you want to know more.
In the world of writing. It’s your novel’s dating profile.
Does your novel drink?
Does she like dogs?
Does it listen to classical music or is she a top 40 kind of gal?
Is it the type of novel you can bring home to show to your mother or is it a guilty pleasure you can only find time for when no one is around?
Will she make you cry?
Will she break your heart?
All of these have to be answered in the query. You’ve got, on average, 250 words to answer every question in such a way that you leave people begging for more. You can tease a little, but not too much. You can flaunt your ideas, but don’t stick them in people’s face. Flash a little skin, remember to smile, be demure, accentuate your best features, and above all be yourself.
The purpose of a Query is to get them interested if not flat out hooked. Ideally, whoever reads your Query will want to read the book. The perfect query would be like two swirling pools of light dancing before your eyes while a deeply hypnotic voice chants softly. “Read my book. Love my book. Buy my book….”
And of course, the problem with Query letters, just as with dating profiles: no matter how well it’s written someone just may not like it. And that’s okay.
No, really. That’s okay.
That’s the tough thing to remember. Just because someone doesn’t like the query doesn’t mean your novel is bad. Some people just don’t like bananas. Sure, the sane part of the world can stare at them and shake our heads in wonder, but that doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with bananas. It just means they’re not for some people. Every agent, every publisher, has to make they’re own decisions.
With luck, they’ll come to their senses and realize just how fantastic my books are. And if they don’t, it’s really going to end up being their loss.