Thursday, June 9, 2011

Queries are thorns.

Maybe I should say the process to writing a query is a thorn--the result, you hope, will be a rose. I think that works.

As you know, I've been working on a query letter. It's not the easiest task in the world. First of all, I know my book way better than anyone in the world at this point, so when I'm trying to condense the now 120,000 word thing there are a lot of things I may leave unanswered without realizing it. My subconscious fills in the blanks while I'm writing, therefore I don't see what questions objective readers would have.

This is where my friend Shelby comes in. I let him read the query I posted [here]. He could pinpoint all the things I hadn't referenced. He had questions for me, and I could answer them easily enough, the point was, I hadn't done this in my query. At first it makes you feel like a bad writer. Or at least, I did. Especially after you write query after query and none of them are quite spectacular enough. : / I'm still at the point where I feel like a bad write because I'm not able to do this whole 'query thing' easily.

I feel as though, part of what makes it difficult, there is no 'universal' query. All of them are as unique as a writers style. Maybe I'm wrong though. lol.

I rewrote my query again. It is very short. Is that a bad thing?

Barren Reed, a pirate and notorious enemy of the government, never thought searching The Orient for his father's treasure could kill him.

 For Barren, it isn’t greed that motivates his search for the treasure, but his nightmares, which seem to be telling him something vicious lies in place of Jess’s so-called “treasure”. His fears turn out to be correct when he discovers the treasure is cursed and may kill, not only his wife and closest friend, but his entire Elvish race. Barren must destroy the treasure before everyone dies, but there is one problem—the device cannot be destroyed without killing its assailant. Barren must make a choice—cease to exist himself, or watch his world waste away.

I've reread and reread it, and I cannot think of anything else I'd place here. Or anything I would elaborate on, again...I still know my book better than maybe people have questions?

On an almost related note, and I'm sure most would agree, you should never tell a writer, "I just want you to be realistic"...I think we've all been told that. Realistic about what, honestly? We're all writers, publication doesn't 'make' us writers, so I wonder why so many people tell me to be realistic about "becoming" a writer when I already am one. Granted, I know they are referring to 'making it' in the publishing world...but that is also a reality of our own. No one else is going to understand the process, the hard work, the dedication it takes for something like getting a book published.

It's really funny, those of us who have queried, and research the markets, we all know the difficulty it takes to get a foot in the door, we of all people know best! Outsiders, however, aren't as clued in, and still think becoming an author is an unrealistic goal...and yet the writers stick with it.

I don't believe things are impossible. Things only become impossible when you give up.


  1. I like this query best of all. It's intriguing with just the right tone.

    Also, don't worry about what any one thinks about you and your writing. You got it right. Things are only impossible when you stop trying.

  2. I think all writers share some level of loathing and frustration when it comes to query-writing. Espeically when you have to tailor each query to each takes SO long. Honestly, though, a synopsis is way more of a nightmare for me!

  3. Query writing is so hard. I used to dread it. I obsessed over every single world.

    I've read some excellent, short queries. So don't have the hang-up that more is better.

  4. I'm with Kayeleen, this is the best of your queries so far! Perfect beginning, loved how you separated the hook from the synopsis. It's not too short in my opinion. Perfectly executed by friend :)

  5. I used to hate writing queries. Like some of the other comment's mentioned, I'd stress over each word. My biggest piece of advice is, unless the guidelines specifically say not to, always always paste in the first chapter at the end of your query.

    Best of luck - and nice blog btw!

  6. You are so right! Giving up is the only way you can lose in the writing game. Rejections can't defeat you. So it all boils down to you defeating yourself. And you're not going to let that happen, Ashley, because you're wise and already realize that truth.

    BTW, I think this new query sounds great. And short is always good, as long as you pack in all of the necessary info.

    Are you a member of QueryTracker? You can join for free and they have a forum where other writers help refine your query before sending it out. Just a thought!

  7. Can querying be done easily? I did a pitch for my critique groups writing challenge, and it's dreadful. I've imagined getting the pitch right would give me the foundation to write my query. Ugh.

  8. Thank you for coming by my blog. :)

    Good luck with your query. I don't think it comes easily for very many writers.

  9. Thank you guys! I enjoyed reading all of these wonderful comments. The best thing about it--we all can relate!! And help each other out. ;)

    @ Kayeleen - I'm so glad you think so!!
    @ Catlin - I agree, the synopsis is hard. And I will also have to revise that now that all these edits and the query has changed.
    @ Medeia - Thank you for your advice! Makes me feel better!
    @ K.V. - YAY!!!! :D
    @ Steven - Thank you for visiting my blog!!! And thank you for your advice!! :)
    @ Anita - Yes! I am a member! I use it a lot, I just haven't gotten involved in the forums. It's hard for me over the Summer because I don't have internet access. :/ And thank you for your kind words!!
    @ Donna - I wish we didn't need queries. I'm not sure if they really do demonstrate our ability to write...or what their purpose is! They're difficult! But so far I've had some great critiques...but in the end it's just the writer writing the query, and no one else.
    @ Michelle - No problem! I love new blogs! :D.