even worse than writing the novel

I’ve begun working on writing a query letter for Finnegans Deciphered. Ugh! What a difficult and unpleasant task writing query letters is. It’s harder than writing an entire novel. I have to distill the essence of my 64,000-word story into about 200 words of scintillating, captivating prose. Success hangs on doing this right, on picking the right angle, the right details, the right words, the right tone, and then the right agent. I hate this part of the work.

I’ve written plenty of queries before. I’ve even written some that have worked well, garnering interest from several agents. But the effort is freighted with loads of conventional wisdom and horror stories of imperious agents. There are (often conflicting) formulas for how they should be written and supposedly good and bad seasons for when they should be sent. I happen to believe that most agents see past all of this nonsense and look for the kernel of interest within the query.

And that probably makes the job harder. If it were simply a matter of applying conventional wisdom and your choice of query letter templates, then I wouldn’t be facing this anguish. Instead, though, I think I need to write the query that gets to the kernel of interest about my novel. And how do I do that?

I want to give the novel another read through. There are a few more details I want to address, and I’ve let it sit idle long enough to (I hope) allow me to approach it with a more objective eye. It’s not time to begin sending out queries yet, but just laying the ground work for that is a chore.

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