Yesterday, I finally sent out my first query letter.
(But wait, you’re thinking, why do you query? Don’t you own a publishing company? Can’t you just publish your stuff yourself? Yes, of course I could. I have self-published before, although not through CBAY. See my Amazon page for some examples. However, I am a firm believer of diversified publishing. In other words, I believe every author should be doing a mix of traditional and self-pub. But back to my query.)
And when I finally hit send and mailed the query out, I felt incredibly silly. Why? Because I hadn’t done it about nine months sooner.
The book I’m querying, I finished in the beginning of February. I’ve made very few changes since then. The query, I’ve had written since May. So, why did it take me so long to send out?
Simply because I didn’t think the letter was perfect.
And that leads me to the very important lesson I learned: There is no such thing as a perfect query letter — just like there’s no such thing as the perfect book, the perfect spouse or the perfect time to have kids. If you wait until your query letter is perfect, then it will never get sent. Sometimes you just have to take that leap of faith and press send.
Now, I’m not saying type up something and send the first draft. I got other folks to read it and give me feedback before I sent it off. What I didn’t do was trust them enough back in June to send my query then. Instead, I opened it about once a week and changed maybe a word (or nothing at all), pronounced it “still not ready” and then closed it back up again.
And that, as I said before, was silly.
I know just as much as anyone how hard it can be to finally take that plunge. Rejection is a constant way of life in this business, even for the publishers. (Try standing at a booth pitching various books to uninterested customers for hours at a time. It will numb you to rejection for the rest of your life.) And let’s face it, rejection ain’t fun. If you never submit you won’t get rejected, but you also will never get accepted.
So, let’s all make a pact. Take out that query or submission you’ve been working on for the last few months or year. Glance over it one last time, pick an agent or editor off your list, and send it out. Then for fun, let me know in the comments that you did it. (Don’t put a person’s name. Just say sent to agent or editor.) We’ll all support and encourage each other.
I’m off to send another query now.