More Rejection

September 5, 2010 at 5:42 am (September Blog Tour, Thoughts on Writing) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I’m currently faced with a decision. To keep agent hunting with my MS in its current form, or to overhaul the MS and see what happens. Technically I’ve only been rejected from four agents, which isn’t bad and two of them were not form rejections, which is better than when I first started trying to get Death’s Daughter published but still, I’m tossing up in my mind whether I need to go back and refine the work or whether to give a few more agents a try.

I guess what it is going to come down to is whether or not I actually think I can make the MS better than it is. One of the comments I received was that the beginning felt a little generic and so there is the question of whether I can change the beginning and make it better. If the answer is yes, then I should. However, I started sending the MS out because at the time I thought I had reached the limit of what I could do without further guidance and I was happy with how the story worked.

Before I send out another submission I will definitely be re-reading the MS, particularly focusing on the opening. I will probably make minor changes (just because  I never read anything I’ve written without changing something), though I may be facing another round of rewrites.

At the end of the day, I can only do what I can do. As long as I’m happy I’ve put my best effort out into the world, things will be alright.

How do you know when you need to revise more? How do you decide your MS is ready?

In other news, if you missed the start of the tour:

September first I visited Eric’s blog and he guest posted here.

September second I visited Geoffrey’s blog while he guest posted here.

Yesterday I visited Lua’s blog and she guest posted here.

Join me on the 7th on Sonya Clark’s blog.

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Query, Query, Query

July 18, 2010 at 5:31 am (Thoughts on Writing) (, , , , , , , , , )

I’m going to admit right up front that I am terrible at writing query letters.

A query letter is kind of like writing a cover letter of a resume when applying for a job and I was never any good at that either. For one fairly important reason. I can’t talk myself (or my work) up.

Even when I say something nice about myself or my work I have this niggling need to qualify it or use low modality to devalue the statement. This makes it really hard to write a half decent letter at the best of times. Add in a dab of anxiety about the possible outcome and a smattering of anticipation and what you have is a perfect recipe for word muck and nothing good is ever going to come out of that.

I know I am not alone in the being bad at writing query letter’s department. I’m quite certain there are a lot of people also blundering around in here with me. So how do you write a better query letter? Clearly I haven’t figured out how to write a brilliant letter yet but I’m going to share some advice with you and it is the advice you will find nearly everywhere online if you look for ways to improve your query letter.

1.  Read the guidelines every time you submit. Don’t read the guidelines for one agent/publisher and assume the guidelines will be the same on the next one.

2.  Even if like me you can’t write a brilliant query letter, you can at least check the basic spelling and grammar of the letter.

3.  Visit lots of author blogs. Lots of authors out there have written their list of tricks and guides for writing queries and a lot of that information is really helpful as to what to include and what to leave out.

4.  Be professional. As I said at the beginning, writing a query letter is kind of like writing a cover letter for a job and you always need to put your best foot forward. Set the letter out properly and be relatively formal and professional.

5.  When in doubt, ask or search. Don’t guess. If you don’t know what they actually want in your query letter, read the submission guidelines again, the frequently asked questions and anything else that may tell you what you are and are not to include.

The reason I’m remembering how bad I am at writing query letters is that I’ve finally decided to try to get a manuscript I shelved last year published. I’ve been dusting it off and cleaning up the rough edges but it was more or less ‘complete’ when I shelved it and decided to focus on other things. A friend of mine recently asked what was happening with it and was shocked when I told her I’d put it aside and that was enough to make me want to revisit the project. So here I am, writing another query letter and hoping I don’t stuff it up too badly.

Best of luck to everyone out there writing query letters.

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