Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Query letters


Rachelle Gardner's website should be of use to authors here. The post that caught my eye was a list of the most common mistakes in query letters to literary agents. What comes across from them, among a lot of helpful tips, is the astonishing self-confidence of the people who send query letters. Well, it may not surprise you, but it surprises me.

But then, it always amazes me how people think that writing a book is easy. (Well, some do; others think it is impossibly hard and would never think of attempting it). About five or six years ago I took a call (at work) from a lady whose name I never knew, who wanted to know "how to get a book published." How should she go about it?

Just like that. Through the sounds of tea being slurped and biscuits being crunched, it came out that she "hadn't written it yet, but I know I can." Had she even started it? "No, not yet, but it won't take long, will it?"

The conversation made me look at myself. Why didn't I approach the thing with the same astonishing self-confidence? Why don't I breeze up to literary agents and critics and introduce myself with a beaming smile and say "Hello, how are you? You must read my latest offering, I'm sure you'll love it."

Show me a real, live literary agent and I'm likely to scream "Where's the nearest table, so that I can hide beneath it?"
Never mind. I'm sure I'll grow up and become accustomed to it all some day. Meanwhile, since we've had snow flurries again but no white stuff on the ground, I've used one of my pics of the Dent valley to remind us all what snow looks like on a good day.

2 comments:

オテモヤン said...
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Linda Banche said...

Ah, Jen, you and I react the same way. I'm always worrying if my stuff is good enough. Then I see stuff that isn't very good getting published and I wonder what that author is doing that I'm not. She probably breezed up to the agent and said how great she was. I don't think I can ever do that.