Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Un-loved Query

I have queries on my mind.

There is a fabulous online conference happening right now called Write on Con and one part of it involves attendees posting queries to the forums that may be seen by a secret "ninja agent" and requested. How exciting is that?

Unfortunately, not everyone will have their book requested.  Some may even receive less than positive and sometimes downright hurtful feedback.  That's a risk in posting to a public forum. Even though it's almost always a valuable learning-experience, when it happens, it can still be a blow to your self-confidence.  So I wanted to share the time when I got less-than-stellar feedback on my query attempt for "Rape Girl".

My query actually got singled out as "a cliche" when I posted it to Absolute Write Water Cooler for feedback last year. In fact, a separate thread was started to discuss its cliche-ness.  At that point, "Rape Girl" had a rather pathetic attempt at a less harsh-sounding title.  It was called  "Word on my Forehead".  Feel free to go over and read the whole shebang for yourself if you'd like.

The thing is my book is NOT a cliche. I knew that. But it was hard not to be affected by being set-apart like that, especially with that particular "c" word--ouch!  After a couple hours of distress, however,  I was able to convert it to a learning experience and saw the value of the discussion.  Yet it wasn't until my editor told me that my book was "riveting and powerful" that I let the word "cliche" unwind from that tight place in the corner of my brain and drift away.

Queries are hard.  Your attempt may not net you a request.  It may even draw some fire.  But, if you're a writer, you need to believe in yourself and your work despite all of that and keep plugging away. I'd write the query for RG very differently today. Stephen Roxburgh helped me identify the heart of my book--something I hadn't managed to zero in on while writing it.  Given more time and introspection, and query attempts, I think I would have.  You have nothing but time to get it right.  Believe me, the book industry isn't going anywhere.  So keep on keepin' on.

And best of luck!



3 comments:

  1. "But, if you're a writer, you need to believe in yourself and your work despite all of that and keep plugging away." I LOVE that comment! I need to tattoo it to my arm so I can see it every time I'm at the computer. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. You're welcome, Erica! And thank you so much for commenting. :D

    Teresa, it's so true. And I believe in you and your work, too. Don't forget THAT either, 'kay?

    ReplyDelete

I never bite the hand that comments

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