Self Doubt, Query Letter Hell, and Taking a Flying Leap

Posted by in Stuff About Writing

It is the last day of preschool for the summer. For the next 108 days they are mine, all mine.

So I, of course, had lofty plans for this week. I was going to write a query letter, and a synopsis, so that I can be ready to start querying agents. The whole “getting your writing published” process is ridiculous, and awful, and for some reason I want to do it. You query agents, they all want something different, but you need to start with a fantastic letter that makes them want to read more. Sometimes they want the first 50 pages of your work right then, sometimes you have to wait.

There is apparently a lot of waiting. I wouldn’t know. I’m not even there yet.

Cause I’m stuck. I’m stuck on the freaking query letter. I’ve ‘worked’ on it all week. And by worked I mean that I sat in front of my computer, and stared. Then I checked gossip blogs. Then I made another cup of coffee. Then I read a thousand sites about how to write a query letter. I looked a hundred templates, and conflicting advice from a million agents.

I know ‘how’ to do it…. I just don’t know ‘HOW’ to do it.

Can I describe my novel in less than 2 minutes? Hook you with the stakes that my character is facing and suck you in with both plot and emotion?

Maybe?

 

Amber, a permanently down on her luck Laredo barmaid, can count the things that she owns on one hand. She just inherited a mountain cabin and a chance to start over, but to claim her happily ever after, she first has to get away from her abusive, former cop boyfriend, Billy.

When Billy falls victim to his own vices and the upper cut of a tall visitor, Amber sees opportunity and flees. Hitching a ride with her savior, she exchanges one danger for another. While he may be a stranger to her, but Nic – heir to the Chicago Mob, knows exactly who she is and plans to use that to his advantage.

Luke, Nic’s former best friend is racing south to catch them. Luke has been charged with the task of bringing Nic home and Luke cannot disappoint the boss and expect to live. But Luke fears for more than his neck, he knew Amber in a previous life and is the reason that her life is in danger. Nic hopes to use Amber, and Luke’s love for her as a negotiating tool. Luke can’t let that happen.

As Nic and Amber barrel across the country they face police chases, road blocks, a gang of teenage thugs, and the force of the mob. Through it all, they discover that something is growing between them that neither of them imagined. When a hitman’s gun gets pressed to her temple, Amber can no longer ignore the signs that Nic is not who he has claimed to be. She doesn’t know what is on the road ahead, or who is chasing after her, she must decide what she is willing to risk, her life or her heart.

 

What do you think? See, it’s harder than you’d think it would be. Is it a description of my book? Yes. A descent one? Yes. Does it make you want to read it? Hopefully, yes. Is it because you love me already? Probably. Does it make an agent want to read it? How the hell would I know?

Here is the problem. There are only so many agents in the world. What if I send them this and they hate it, and I never hear from them? How do I know when it is ready? How do I know when I am ready? Then the self doubt begins to spiral and I find myself doing laundry, dusting the porch, and cleaning out my closet. Doing anything, anything at all to not think about this.

How do you know you’re ready? Do you have to? Or do you just jump?