The agony of the query

So, you spend months, maybe years creating characters and new worlds for the novel of your dreams. 

You agonize over sentence structure and the opening “hook”. 

You paint the scenery of every scene to perfection. 

You give your protagonist relationships, a goal, throw some obstacles at them, and concoct an antagonist to stand in the way of their happiness.

Everything is going according to plan, right?  Everyone loves your writing, so you’re a shoe-in with the publisher, right? 


No matter how great the novel is, your hopes of publication still hinge on the evil query letter and your ability to write a good one.

Whether your story is ten thousand words, or a hundred thousand, you still only have two-three hundred words to sell yourself and the book to an agent or publisher.   And not only that—the letter has to stand out from the rest, convey the unique “voice” of your characters, and sum up the story—characters, hook, conflict and resolution—in two short paragraphs.


And damn.

I like a challenge, but when it comes to writing a query, I’d rather stab out my eyes with a fork.  Summing up the story isn’t a problem.  It’s the voice that kills me.  How can I bring the flavor of the book in without blowing the word count all to hell? 

How can I convey the humor and witty banter that brings the characters to life?

The depth of relationships?

The hot sex scene the ladies will eat up like a creamy slice of tiramisu?

The subplots that weave back together to bring a satisfying ending to the reader?

I wish I knew.

2 thoughts on “The agony of the query

  1. I would go with just adding in the ‘hot sex scene the ladies will eat up like a creamy slice of tiramisu’ and sending that alone to all the male agents. 😉 You’ll get some head nods you way. Or some injunctions against stalking. One of the two. 😉
    (And remember, I’m with ya, girl. 100% Ugh. Just rewrote another to send out.)

  2. “but when it comes to writing a query, I’d rather stab out my eyes with a fork.”
    This is the MOST PERFECT summation of how all writer’s feel about writing their query.
    My latest mindset has shifted dramatically, though, and I’m wondering if I’ll ever write another query again. 🙂

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