Tag: query letter

Why Wait Until New Year’s?

I’m going to throw down some mid-year resolutions. And I’m going to put them on post-it notes and stick them all over my desk so I have to stare at them all the time.

In no particular order:

  • Finish my query letter
  • Send out ten query letters for each of June, July, August and September
  • Finish the first draft of The Unknowing
  • Re-read Writing 21st Century Fiction and post-it note the shit out of the tips I feel best apply to me
  • Write up an outline for the new book idea I have stewing

I think that’s a pretty solid start. I encourage everyone to join me in making a few resolutions as well!

Good Idea, Or…

Sending queries on Friday the 13th. Very bad idea? I’ve had a pretty fantastic day so far… in fact there could have been a lot of disasters, but everything’s gone off without a hitch.

I’ve got Grimes and Alt-J cued up and the firepit’s lit. The evening air is warm and the beer is cold. I’m going to try my luck.

Face. Meet Keyboard.

And then meet screen. And then meet tabletop.

Query letters are bastards to write. Really there’s no other word. Writing the book was easier. Even editing was easier. Since I wrote the first draft of my query, I’ve done more drafts than I did of my novel (12 vs. 6). It’s also taken the same amount of time as my manuscript revisions took (four months), and nearly as much time as the first draft.

That’s insane.

Now I’m at the point where I’m obsessing over single words. Leave it in or take it out? Where to put the most weight, voice, hook, concept or pacing? And the big one for me, Canadian or American spelling?

I’m losing sleep over it. I’m waking up at 4am to take out a comma or move two sentences around. THE QUERY MUST BE PERFECT YOUR ENTIRE PUBLISHING CAREER IS DEPENDING ON IT the internet screams.

I’m giving myself 48 more hours and then whatever I have at that point is what goes out. Seriously, enough is enough.


Away they go, off through the intertubes, and who knows what will become of them?

Safe travels, brave queries. May your reception be warm and encouraging.

Deep Breaths

I’m done my last round of edits on The Unravelling. It’s time to send it out into the wide world and see what becomes of it.

Maybe I need a paper bag to breathe into.

One of my latest goals was to have at least one query sent by the end of the month. Well that’s likely going to be achieved tomorrow (I don’t actually remember what the other goals were – I should probably go check those). At that point I expect to have an absolute crisis of confidence and spend the next few days in my pajamas until I’m over it.

The good news: I have a query letter I’ve worked my ass off on and a nice long list of agents I’d like to send it to. And today a friend sent me the nicest message about how much she liked the draft I sent her. That’s a great boost to start the query process, I think!

And being done with editing means that I can go back to writing, which is extra exciting! I’m still figuring out my point-of-view problems so I might take a week or two to ponder those some more/watch lots of Netflix.

Exclamation points!

The Query, The Quandary

And I thought editing was hard. Writing a query letter, specifically the part of the query that describes the story, is enough to make me smash my head against the screen. I did that last night, actually. Twice. Thankfully my MacBook’s a sturdy machine.

There’s a lot of great resources out there to help writers along the way, but a lot of it’s conflicting. Loglines! No loglines! Reveal the ending! Don’t reveal the ending! Include a bio! Don’t include a bio!

And then there are helpful suggestions like my dad’s for a letter: “Yo bro’….what’s up with THIS??”

Love you, dad, but just no.

Slowly, I’m getting there, but it’s agonizing. I’ve re-written the damn thing ten times and probably have another ten ahead of me before I’ll be satisfied with it. The biggest problem right now, I think, is that I’m never going to know which one is best. And a lot rides on that letter, you know?

Back to head smashing.

The Up-and-Coming

Well, the arbitrary date we’ve assigned to indicate the beginning of another pass around the sun has come. I’m all for any opportunity to think about goals and aspirations for the future, as well as doing some planning. It’s like outlining, but for your life.

That was deep, hey? Anways.

I’m finished the third draft of The Unravelling. Other than the possibility of a few more minor tweaks, I feel like what I have now is what I’m comfortable querying on. I have a critique scheduled for my first 15 pages early next week, and based on how that goes, I may do a bit more work on the first two chapters, then start figuring out who I’d like to send it off to. I started researching literary agents this week and plan to spend a good amount of time in the next few days working on a framework for my query letters.

  • Goal: Send out my first query letter by the end of January. Try to send one a week after that.
  • Goal: Be organized about this shit. Keep track of everything in a spreadsheet (I do loves me a good spreadsheet).

I’m on the fence about using a professional editing service. Before, I felt like it was something I definitely wanted to do, but now I’m wavering. I might send out a few rounds of queries first, and if there are no bites, then go with a paid edit.

  • Goal: Curb my chai latte habit (slightly) so I can save for an editor if needed.
  • Goal: In the meantime, find a few people who don’t know me at all to read the thing.

I’m also looking ahead to starting in on The Unseeing in earnest sometime soon. I think my outline is pretty much complete, and things are starting to build themselves up in my head around the few scenes I’ve already jotted down. I’m not at the bursting point yet where I won’t have any choice but to start writing, but I feel like it’s soon. I miss sitting down here on my writing couch in my writing room and just letting my thoughts carry me away every night. It’s been so long!

  • Goal: Start my first draft no later than March.
  • Goal: Finish my first draft no later than the end of 2013 but hopefully sooner.

Can’t forget the most important one:

  • Goal: Be awesome.

Fear and Excitement

That pretty much sums it up. I just submitted The Unravelling to Harper Voyager’s open call for unpublished novels. It’s the first time I’ve sent it off anywhere, and I’ve been editing and revising frantically for the past four days to have it done in time. It was a little scary to click the ‘submit’ button (and super-annoying after I worked myself up to it yesterday only to find that entries were no longer being accepted, but that was resolved today, whew) and send my heart’s work off for strangers to pick apart.

To do so I had to write my first query letter as well. Wanna read what I sent? I’d love opinions and critiques so I can improve on it.

Attn: Agent X:

In the heart of Montmatre, Paris, touch-phobic songwriter Callie Kincaid’s best friend is murdered by a terrifying creature, triggering a cataclysmic series of events and forcing her to team up with enigmatic alchemist Remy Dane to discover the root of her fears and the powers behind them as the fabric of the world begins to unravel.

The Unravelling follows Callie’s quest to avenge her best friend’s killing in a world that’s increasingly falling apart. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tidal waves have killed millions in the past month, and the disasters aren’t natural. The creatures terrorizing Paris seem to think she has something they’re looking for, but as far as she’s concerned she’s just a normal girl who happens to be able to sense the emotions of others when she touches them. Under the tutelage of Dane, Callie begins to learn to harness the abilities that have hidden behind her phobia, but is she strong enough to overcome her fears and find the key to ending the chaos that has overtaken the world? The Unravelling, complete at just over 100,000 words, is the first of a three-book series that continues with The Unseeing, currently a work in progress, and The Unknowing, outlined.

I’m a freelance writer whose work has been published in The Calgary Herald, The Calgary Sun, Avenue Magazine, Resorts Magazine, Birth of a Mother and many others. I have also worked as a scriptwriter and researcher for the nationally-televised non-fiction series Taste! The Beverage Show, Wine Basics, Beer Basics and Spirit Basics. The Unravelling is my second novel.

Thank you for your consideration,

Nicole Bross

What do you think? Would you want to read this book?

(if you happen to see a spelling or grammatical error included in the above, please, please don’t point it out, I’ll be crushed and will obsess over it endlessly)

(the letter wasn’t actually addressed to Agent X either, that’s just my place filler for a real person’s name)