This Week in Writing: How many times can I write one query?
by KATE FALL on SEPTEMBER 19, 2009
This week at MigWriters, we’ve been talking a lot about query letters. There’s something about the autumn air that makes one want to get down to business and sell some writing, am I right?
Last Saturday, I sent out a query for my novel SEVENTH GRADE HEX QUEEN. Did I labor over that succinct, one-page query letter? Oh, boy, did I.
First, I wrote out a one-sentence summary of my story.
Second, I expanded the summary to three sentences and called that Pitch 1.
Third, I wrote a different Pitch 2 that I felt conveyed my main character’s voice better.
Then I gave MigWriters both queries and let them have at ‘em.
Next, I used their comments to take the best of both queries to craft my pitch.
Then I bid on a query letter critique from published author Saundra Mitchell on Cynthea Liu’s Take the Dare Auction.
I reviewed Saundra’s critique and ran it by my Rochester area crit partners.
I used all of those comments to edit the query yet again and set it aside for a couple of weeks.
Finally, right before I sent it out last week, I edited it one last time.
All that for three paragraphs! By far, most of the work went into the one-paragraph story hook. In that paragraph, I wanted to convey voice, plot tension, humor … basically everything short a promise to wash your car if you buy my book.
I really hope I didn’t ruin that query with my last edit. Maybe I should look at it again– NO KATE, DON’T. Walk away from it slowly. Deep breath. Yay, isn’t querying fun and not obsessive at all??