|Lime tart to the right of the computer. That may or may not be my gmail...|
|Erin actually works...|
Well, when I have projects to work on. (Don't judge me! I'm between projects.)
For the past several weeks, I've been meeting with a friend of mine, Erin Summerill. She is one of the best photographers I know (she took my author photo!), and you should definitely like her Facebook page so you know about her contests! She's giving away some headshots later this month.
When she's not snapping photos, we meet at the library. She writes while I, uh, answer email and read on my Kindle, and sometimes tweet.
So we were there last week with the Pegster, and I was whining about how I didn't have anything to work on. Erin said, "I know what you can do! You can write my query letter."
I already knew a little bit about her book, but I told her to tell me about it. She starts talking, and I'm typing a few notes here and few details there. She's still talking. I stop typing. I was totally rude, actually, and I said, "I've got it. I don't need to know any more."
It's actually better in pictures. Here you go:
|Erin tells me about her book.|
|"I just can't fit in ALL THE THINGS!"|
|The most exciting part...|
|"Stop," I say. "I got it. I can write it."|
And that's the thing right there, my friends. The reason you can't write your query letter is because you know ALL THE THINGS.
Today's advice: Don't write your own query letter. Ask a good friend to do it for you. Tell them the basics (or what you think are the basics), and let them craft the letter.
I can pretty much guarantee that what you think are the basics won't all make it into the query. There just isn't room. Really the query is the setup of your novel -- think, "What does someone need to know to understand my main conflict?" -- and the inciting incident that leads to the main conflict. It's what you write in the first 30 - 50 pages of the book.
After that, all the query letter needs is the consequence. Think, "What will happen if my MC can't overcome the main conflict?"
We seriously don't need anything besides that.
So I wrote Erin's query and I sent it to her. Now, it's probably not perfect. The voice might be a bit off. Some details might not be quite right. She might not like the way I crafted a sentence. But at least now she has a starting point. A piece of writing that ONLY HAS THE BASICS of the book and not ALL THE THINGS she has in her head.
This method works because the query letter was written by someone who is free from all the things.
So there you go. Stumped on your query letter? Ask someone else to draft it for you! Then, of course, you'd edit it the same way you edit your manuscript. With love, and care, and possibly a few more sets of eyes on it.
What do you think? Have you ever thought to have someone else write your initial query letter? Do you think it might actually work?