Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Carriage Return, Oct 23, 2018.
I figured we could use a thread just for those of us in query on a novel. Anyone interested?
I don't have much to add but i'm with you! I'm just testing the water with my submissions. 3 to begin with and if I get no response I will have no idea whether I need to edit and polish (or burn that MS and move onto pastures new) or keep persisting elsewhere. What are you querying? Are you querying editors or publishers or both? How many at a time? I've been wondering if they do like your work are they more likely to put you out of your misery sooner rather than later or does it have no bearing on the waiting time?
Needless to say I am looking forward to this with partial trepidation.
Considering taking some marketing classes but I'm skeptical how much help that would actually be with this. Maybe I'd be better off buying a couple of the best books on querying from Amazon.
If you're looking for agents, I'd recommend against thinking in terms of learning about marketing and really focus on learning about writing. I don't mean you should ignore the market - obviously it's easier to get an agent to represent a book that's likely to sell in the current market. But creating a product the market wants is a whole different focus than persuading the market it wants your product. If you're looking for an agent and a publisher, I really think you want to focus on creating the product, not marketing it.
I think writers always have something to learn about writing.
And I know lots of writers with agents. I can't think of a single one of them who did more than send a query letter and a highly sellable manuscript.
I think writers looking for agents often fall into a sort of trap, thinking the system is stacked against them or agents are all assholes or you-need-to-be-published-to-get-an-agent-and-you-can't-get-published-without-an-agent or whatever the complaint du jour is, and I really don't think it's productive or accurate. I also think it can prevent writers from continuing to work on their writing, which I think is a mistake.
If you're self-publishing, you need to worry about marketing. But if you're looking for an agent? I don't know any reputable agents who want to be marketed at. They just want a sellable MS.
Do you need to really study marketing in order to write a competent query letter?
I mean, read Query Shark, sure. Read other query letters. But... read books about marketing?
If I were looking for a job, I'd read a couple websites on resumes and cover letters. I wouldn't read about marketing in general.
But, I sense you would rather suffer. For others who may stumble across this thread - you need to write a competent cover letter. That's all the "marketing" there is.
Your argument is of the sort: "Thumbs are fingers, therefore all fingers are thumbs".
Dude. I've written a good query letter. I had offers of representation from a couple reputable agents. I've been through this. It really wasn't as hard as you're making it out to be.
And if it were just you talking to yourself, I wouldn't worry that you're building it up into more than it has to be--if that's motivating for you or something, carry on.
But when you post about it on a writers' forum, other writers read it and I really worry that they get the wrong idea. They think that getting a deal with a publisher is so totally onerous that there's no point even trying, so they jump right to self publishing without even trying to work with publishers, and I just don't think that's good.
It's not easy to get published, no, but in my experience that's because it's not easy to write a book publishers want. The writing is the hard part. The querying? It's annoying, yeah, but there's no magic to it.
The query letter that I used to introduce my book to agents was nothing special. It was fine. It got the job done. That's all there was to it.
I'm not sure how you can pull "and getting published is likewise" out of a post that explicitly states "It's not easy to get published".
I'm sorry if it's tired. And I don't think something "wrong" is a useful way to look at it. But if you keep trying to find an agent and aren't able to, then it seems likely that there's a problem with either your query or your MS, yes. The problem may not be one of "quality", whatever that means, but it may just not be something agents think will sell right now.
I mean, maybe the thirty-first agent will be the charm... I'm not suggesting you give up or anything. As you yourself said only a month ago - you've just begun, and you're just being impatient. And I know it's annoying to send queries out. And it can be comforting to bitch about stuff, for sure.
So... carry on, I guess. But as you're posting publicly, I felt like I should mention that your experiences are not universal.
I can't imagine you'll be surprised that writing a book without taking publishers into consideration may make publishers less likely to consider your book.
I also worry a bit about the "rubbing the backside of an agent or publisher" attitude... possibly that's just you trying to be snarky with me, but if you truly believe that writing with the market in mind is synonymous with whatever "rubbing the backside" means... then, yeah, you might have an extra level of difficulty in finding someone who wants to work with you.
Whatever. I feel like I've posted enough to make my point. I wish you luck with your querying, and if you end up self-publishing, I wish you luck with that, too.
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