Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Q - Querying: The Faraway Milestone

The Query. The one page that can make or break your career. The one page authors dread to write.

It seems to be that on the blogosphere, the query is the despised, necessary step toward traditional publishing. The querying process is described as an emotional rollercoaster during which you will need all the cheerleaders and supportive friends you can go.


But honestly? I’m looking forward to it. I can’t wait to write my first query, to have it critiqued, revised, critiqued again and revised once more, before I send it to the wild, dangerous world of literary agents. My guts clench at the idea. My head says I must be crazy to want this. But my heart? It’s clamouring for this milestone.

A querying writer has a finished MS. She has gone through half a dozen drafts, through months (or years) of polishing. A querying writer stuck to her story through the whole process. Writing, editing, rewriting, replanning, letting it cool, editing again, polishing. Endless hours of hard work.

Only when they are done can the query be perfected. Sending a query means moving on. Taking the next step. Asking someone to seriously consider publishing you.

My first query might be years away. It’s a faraway milestone still, a distant dream I hope to achieve. It promises pain, fear, false hopes and many horrible things.

But my glass is always half-full, and beyond all these things, the query is a step to success.

So, I say, long live the query! May mine one day find the crammed inbox of dozens of agents, and perhaps touches one of their hearts.


  1. I love this. Very hopeful! I hope you'll find the agent for you when the time comes with your positive attitude!

  2. I have no love for the querying process. I hate it so much I've stopped doing it, using revision as an excuse. For this last ms I got about eight queries into the process before I decided to rework some parts. Times up, though. I've told myself May 1st is the deadline for querying again.

    I hates it, Precious. I hates it. But it does mean I'm out there trying, so...

  3. I'm like LG, I hate querying. I started about a year ago with my MS, and after a bunch of rejections and putting it away for about 9 months, I started tearing it apart and re-writing it. I would love to finish the re-write in the next couple of months, but we'll see how ambitious I'm feeling.

  4. I highly recommend writing the query before the book. So much easier, more helpful, and more fun.

  5. kudos to you for being so positive. As for me there's no love lost on writing the query on this end - I've posted a draft of my query on my site today ( http://bit.ly/f4KYss), it's my 'Q' letter too - but I'll tell you what's worse than a query: The synopsis. Holy LORD, that is a tough one. You basically have to compress your entire book into 2-5 paragraphs, hitting all major plot points, paring down any 'extra' info so you get to the essentials, while explaining your plot as if to a child. I did this for the same conference submission I did my query letter for and it was WAY more painful than the query letter.

  6. I haven't queried yet, but I'm trying to learn all I can before I do. I'm hoping I'll have your good attitude when it's finally time, but right now I just find the whole things a little scary.

  7. magpie: Oh yeah, I do dread the synopsis. I've tried drafting one and it always end up harder than my draft queries.

    LG, Akari: This is what I'm talking about. Everybody hates the queries, and it's likely that after I've sent a few, I'll think the same. But for now, querying would mean I've accomplished something: writing a full MS. That has to mean something.

    Margo: I do have a few query drafts for my projects. I did them when I was done planning the outline. It made me change some of the scenes, too.

    Kendal: A positive attitude is my way of shoving the scary as far as I can. ;)

  8. It's all about the positive attitude, and one that every writer needs. Good on you. As far as I'm concerned, writing is not for the faint hearted, it's too subjective for that.

    Great post!