Monday, 27 March 2017

Thoughts on a Query

I am subscribed to Fussy Librarian and BookBub, both mailing lists that point me out to quality books currently on sale (or even free!).

Every few days I'll trawl through these lists to see if there's anything I want to add to my TBR pile.

As I read through the descriptions, some work for me, some don't. And then there's a third category where the description falls completely flat and uninspiring. These are usually for indie-published books. Even if the book is my crack, unless it's free on Kobo, if its description sucks, I won't get it.

A week ago I got a really nice, personal rejection from an agent for a novel I'm pitching. I'd convinced this agent to request pages based on a single Twitter line. (She said very nice things about my work, but in the end, wasn't quite for her.)  A few days ago I got three form rejections (to be added to the seventy previous form rejections I've received) for the same book, the one I'd pitched by a query letter.

These stats alone tell me that my query letter sucks.  While the book is stunning and beta-readers have raved about it, my query letter is letting it down.

Believe me, I've tried. I've done draft after draft of the query letter, workshopped it, minioned it, done everything I could think to make it a good query letter.  I've failed.

I've got about another hundred agents to go before I consider taking this book indie. If I can draft a really catchy query letter, I'll not have to consider indie. But if I can't, and an agent simply won't pick it up, indie might be the way to go, because great story.

Then I realised, the blurb on the back of the book, the one that readers of Fussy Librarian and BookBub look for is pretty much the same as the query pitch. If I can't entice an agent with my query letter, I won't be attracting readers with my description.

I dread having to rewrite my query letter Yet Again. I honestly don't know what I can do differently. But if I don't, I'm doomed to obscurity regardless of the publishing path I choose.

Her Grace isn't always bad at all query letters. Just this one.

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