The Querying World and Why I Bother

Alright, so I’ve edited another book nearly to completion. Persona will be absolutely, totally, and finally finished if not next week, then definitely the week after. Some of you will remember I started its major overhaul/re-write in the summer of 2013 by posting chapters once a week, but since then I’ve let the work get passed between not one but two editors – both of whom I am supremely grateful to.

In the wake of their suggestions I have had to dig deeper into the story itself and I confess, I’ve learned so much about theAJMaguire-PersonaCover-1280h craft of writing just from this one book that I honestly don’t feel ashamed by the length of time it’s taken me to complete it. I’ll probably write another “What writing Persona has taught me” post but for today I’m going to concentrate on the next phase in Persona’s journey … The Query.

Honestly, that word makes my palms sweat, and my palms don’t normally sweat.

Query.

It’s been almost 2 years since I’ve written a query letter and my brain is overwhelmed by all the do’s and don’ts you can find out there.

Introduce myself or the work first?

Work first, of course, they don’t care about me unless they like the work.

How the H-e-(double hockey sticks) do I write an elevator pitch again?

Oh, wait … wasn’t there a formula? (Blank) meets (Blank) in this (insert brilliantly creative jargon here) that will leave you …

Authors Note: I’d like to say I made that formula up but I’m pretty sure you can still find it on some movie pitches out there.

Suffice to say, I’m terrified.

Which is silly since the worst these people can say is “No thank you” or just plain “No” and really, I’ve got six novels out for sale now. You’d think I’d be over it or something.

But, as every writer who’s submitted their work before knows, “No thank you” somehow twists itself inside our heads to become … “You should never write another book.” “Your work is crap.” “Don’t bother anymore.” “Nobody likes you.”

Or my personal favorite; “You should go eat worms.”

Which … now that I think about it … probably reveals a lot about my childhood than anything else.

I need therapy.

But I can’t afford therapy so I write. And when I finish writing I have this crazy notion other people might want to see it, which loops me back to the Query Phase and the vicious cycle continues.

Why do I bother with this?

With the publishing industry the way it is, I can easily self-publish and move on. I did that with Tapped, after all.

But … I did that with Tapped because I didn’t want to compromise on certain elements of the novel. I wrote it, and I’ll be writing all of its series, with a distinct purpose in mind (to investigate and convey the affects of religion on a social and personal level) and I recognized at the very beginning that the concept was risky and likely wasn’t going to sell.

So my motivations with self-publishing Tapped were not because I simply gave up on the traditional market, which means … I can’t do that with Persona.

Which means I have to at least try with Persona.

Which means … I have to query.

Again.

….. Excuse me, I need to go eat a gallon of chocolate to prepare my fragile ego.

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