Up and Over the Query Letter Mountain

I used to read angsty blog and forum posts written by frustrated writers who were toiling over query letters and think, What’s the big deal? You write the letter, you send it off. Clearly they were making mountains out of mole hills.

Then it came time for me to write one.

And I got it.

What a nerve-wracking, nail-biting, anxiety-inducing venture that little letter is. Turns out those mole hills loomed rather large after all.

I questioned everything. Was I professional enough? Too professional? Overly personal? Cold? Desperate. Did I capture the essence of my book? Holy cow, what was the essence of my book? Hang on, I wrote a book?! In a blink, I’d over-analyzed everything and was totally out-of-whack.

Then I remembered a little book I’d downloaded a while ago that I thought might come in handy one day.

Elana Johnson’s From the Query to the Call. Great book. Filled with practical information and examples of winning letters. I only wish I’d remembered it when I first sat down to craft my letter.

If you’re about to enter the querying fray, check out Elana’s book. It’s free on her website. Seriously, it will lead you through the madness. (Thank you, Elana!)

The other resources that have been wonderful are Amy and Kate, my two writer friends who are also writing query letters right now. We’ve been workshopping each others’ letters. So helpful, getting feedback from people you trust an who want to see you succeed.

So that’s this month’s confession: my query letter is out in the world. *gulp* I hope it does what it’s supposed to do.

Now I find myself joining those angsty writers obsessing over response times and acceptance rates and all the other things that drive us writers bonkers. Turns out you tackle on overly-tall mole hill, and there’s another one right there, waiting to be climbed.