query letters, or how to lose my mind

it was a glorious sunny winter day outside. i know because we had to bring the trash to the dump before it closed. aside from that, i’ve spent the rest of the day trying to write a query letter for Witness. i’ve written the first 105,000 words of a four-part series (yep) and now i’m supposed to squash that down to a single page (or paragraph, depending upon who you read)? as the python boys say, my brain hurts.

like countless writers before me, of course, i’ve scoured the net looking for answers, examples, samples, copies, tips, guides, and any kind of info on writing query letters. it’s all over the place, both physically and quality-wise, as is also no surprise. i’ve been reading teenage author’s tips on query letters (yes, published teenage authors – making me feel overwhelmingly incompetent) . the two best i found, though are:

arcaedia (livejournal incarnation of literary agent jennifer jackson),

and the folks at agentquery (an excellent resources for agent hunting)

as i said, both excellent resources. of course, neither is the holy grail, as there is no such thing. the letter is as unique as your work, essentially. or that’s what i’m getting out of it. the last 8 or 9 hours of maddening frustration have helped drive that point home. and i’m still stuck. i know, people probably spend weeks on this, honing and drafting and crafting and finally nail it. i’m just feeling almost painfully anxious, now. i had such high expectations for today (see previous post). the only thing i’ve managed to do so far, is half fill out the application for kirkus, because it asks for a synopsis, and i’m beating my head against the wall.

but wait, why not just use my cover copy?

oh, by all that’s holy…

isn’t that where these things usually end up, anyway, in the course of the traditional publishing process? am i crazy?

nope. i can’t do this now. it’s too late for me to be thinking straight. there has to be a flaw here, somewhere, which a good night’s sleep will reveal. too bad i’m so wound up over all this i probably won’t see a good night’s sleep for some time.

bleh. enough. bed. try again tomorrow.


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