query letter revisions- overcoming insecurities

query letter revisions- overcoming insecurities

I finished my debut novel this past summer, and now I’m looking for an agent. Using QueryTracker, I’ve sent out a total of ten query letters to date, and I’ve majorly revised the letter four times since beginning the process a couple of months ago. Unless I have another specific spark of inspiration, or an agent gives me feedback on what I can change for better success, I’ve decided this is my best, final version.

Revising the query letter as we continue to query agents is part of the process. I decided I’m done revising now, however, because I’ve done the best I can to relay the story, and whatever doubts I have in finding an agent come from my protagonist. She’s a stay at home wife and mother in a midlife crisis, and I’ve attended enough writing conferences to know this is a character the publishing world (in general) thinks it has seen enough of… but I don’t think the publishing world has given her enough credit for the amount of readers who can relate with her… instead, the publishing world tells us to write unique protagonists with fresh twists.

I’m all for something fresh! But there’s something to be said about a protagonist finding her way out of the everyday rubble into everyday twists of happiness. My protagonist finds her fresh life by doing serious redesign work on herself… and leaves her marriage for a younger man but circles back to her ex-husband to rebuild their relationship, as the new people they’ve become. Not the most popular story for those who have divorced, I know. But Livy, the protagonist, has her own path, and for her that path leads her to go forward with her ex-husband.

Interesting how the essence of my novel’s storyline made its way into the process of sending out query letters. What I mean is, Livy, the protagonist, fights through insecurities to become her best version. Well, I’m finding that while I reach out to agents with this query letter, I’m fighting through insecurities of my own, to revise my letter and put my work out there.

Obviously, Livy is a character worth my time, otherwise I wouldn’t have spent years finishing her story. So I shouldn’t discount that, and I’m not. I’ll give it my best shot, to find an agent with this novel, and if it doesn’t happen, I’ll self publish and promote it while writing my second novel.  

One look at this website and you’ll see this guy knows the business. Take some time to review his steps for writing a query letter, along with his invaluable examples to keep us on track! Click here then scroll down.

(There’s also fabulous advice on query letter construction in a separate post, where Kelley Lindberg gives us pointers on the Hook, Book, and Cook strategy.)

Now that we’ve read Nathan Bransford’s info and implemented it as best we can, if we continue to receive rejection letters, which is usually the norm, keep reading to get good advice on keeping ourselves strong and resilient while querying!

Click through to this author’s blog for details under each tip given below.

These are her main bits of advice on taking care of our mental healt while querying:

1. prepare your heart for rejections

2. take mental health breaks

3. analyze your manuscript with a critical eye

4. celebrate wins, no matter how small

5. explore all the available options

6. decide when it’s time to shelve your manuscript

7. don’t give up

Click here to read her good advice for each tip.

And remember – we do this because we love it, because we need to!