Writing and sending out query letters has to be my least favorite activity, and I know I’m not alone in this. It’s not even the marketing and other left brain activities that bother me (I’m quite left brained). Networking and talking about my craft is actually something I enjoy doing.
The part of query letters I dislike so much is the tediousness of them. I’ve written about a dozen so far. As far as new author query letters goes, I’m not yet even scratching the surface of how many letters I will likely write before hooking some poor sap of a literary agent into taking me on as a client.
It’s the same as writing dozens of resumes, and frankly, that’s what they are! But having to manipulate my base query letter to match every detail of every literary agent just enough to stroke their interest and their ego enough to keep reading is like running down the street with my head scraping against a brick wall. If the Internet were an actual place, my blood would be strewn across dozens of platforms.
There’s another thing that irks me about query letters and resumes and cover letters and all those sorts of things. I love talking about my craft, and I can even get behind talking about myself.
The biggest irritant is the slow response or even lack of response.
Nobody has to explain to me the mountains of idiotic query letters literary agents get. I get it. I’ve heard of slush piles. But spending a week writing query letters is like taking your driving test and then the driving instructor disappears.
You have no way of knowing if they watched you drive, if they scored you, if you imagined their existence in the first place and you are sleeping and still need to take the damn test, and by contacting them to ask if they received your query letter (that you should have spent lots of time on), you actually decrease your chances of a potential response.
If you can’t tell, I’ve written one too many this week and need a sedative.