Wednesday, February 6, 2013

I am back!

Well, I never physically left (although a few months traveling around the world sounds pretty good right about now) but my mind and heart had been absent from the creative world for a while.  I had set my novel-in-progress aside, almost afraid to touch it for some reason I still cannot identify, hardly any reading, and no writing at all.
But I turned on my computer last night, opened my writing folder, and there I was!  The dread lifted and I am going through the final edits - and have dropped three books on my coffee table. 
What was the source of my problem?  Fear of failure and rejection, lack of time, and "unripeness."  While I might fail at this art, will certainly receive rejections, and definitely do not have time for this pursuit, I know one day I would regret not trying.  And the time that passed has allowed the work to sink in and become ripe for the final review.
But now back to the more important and interesting things!
As I read my query letter again for the first time in months, it almost felt like I did not write it, allowing me to read and digest it without emotional involvement.  I was able to determine whether it worked or not and why.  In the process I thought about what should and should not be on a query letter.
Of course we all have exhaustive lists of what we should have on our query letters (and I will not bore you with more of that) but what we omit is equally important.
Here is what I have learned NOT to do on a query letter:
- Address it to "Sir or Madam" or provide other general salutation.  Pick an agent and know his or her name.
- Be reasonable and try to avoid any comparison to other authors, especially bestsellers like Dan Brown etc.
- Mention or explain things about you that in no way or tangentially relate to your writing and the novel you are submitting.
Do you have any to add?