what are you waiting for? she asked.
last night. after dinner. while i stared at the television, even though it was off.
specifically, why am i not cranking away at the query letter?
i didn’t have a handy response. actually, i had a couple, but they really didn’t hold up:
- i could say i wanted to hear back from all the readers, before i hit the final pass and nailed the query letter, but it’s been a month since i finished the book and i’ve been getting predominantly positive feedback from my readers.*
- or i could say i wanted time away from the book to be able to look at it objectively when i returned, but, again, it’s been a month and i’m more at loose ends without it than with it.
so, as usual, my wife was right on. not just because of the generally good responses, but because this is up to me. do i feel that it’s where it needs to be. other input is great, but it all comes down to my name on the cover. is it where i will feel proud to see it in the store, where i will be happy to say, i ‘wrote that’?
the answer? yes, yes it is. i’ve taken several of the comments into consideration as i’ve made the most recent edits the last couple weeks, and it’s time to get off the pot, as it were.
it’d been rattling around in the back of my mind for the past couple weeks, but i didn’t realize how complacent i’d become, putting the responsibility on my readers instead of me. i’m thrilled they’re reading it, without question, and i expect to get further feedback, but it’s time for me to take the next step.
so i did, hacking and patching and throwing out and taking back and smoothing and wrinkling and switching and otherwise revising the query letter. and it was great. i hate the query letters (see various posts on Witness query), as is the common theme in the writing world (and i’ve discussed this point before with Witness), but it was great to be playing in this world again, and i was immediately re-invigorated by the whole project.
what’s more – and i really am the luckiest person i know – my wife took on the task of scouring AgentQuery.com** for potential agents. i’ve been through the site a thousand times over, but she agreed to try her hand, with No Good Deed specifically in mind, and she spent the evening culling through the lot, without the least complaint.
of course, i didn’t quite finish last night (do i ever?), and today was spent entirely on school work (and boiling maple sap down to syrup), but it’s very, very close, and i’m feeling quite excited about tonight. Of course, some agents require a synopsis, which might even be more difficult than the query letter, but that’s because this is only my second one. however, it’s my second, so it’ll be easier than the first.***
which means, there’s nothing to wait for, anymore.
* completely agreement? of course not, and it’s always fascinating to hear multiple distinct reactions, sometimes polar opposites, to the exact same words on the page. it’s always appealing to me to try my hand at amateur psychology in these situations, but the point is that, despite the various differences in specific opinions, the overall response has been decidedly positive.
** fabulous, indispensable resource for agents.
*** just look at the difference between the entire writing process of Witness versus that of NGD).