When I sat down to write my first book, Isle of Skye, I had no real plan as to what I was going to do with it when I was done. The more progress I made, the more I realized that I had to seriously start thinking about the future of my book. I researched self publishing first and I was comfortable with that idea but I also wanted to look into getting an agent as well as what the process was when you wanted to just submit to a publisher yourself. That’s when I stumbled across the words ‘ Query Letter’.
Apparently to submit your manuscript or just a few chapters to an agent or a publisher they want to see a one page letter describing your book and yourself. Let me say this again. A one page letter. I sat down one night determined to bang it out and get on with the whole submitting part. Unfortunately two hours went by and I was still sitting there literally frozen in my seat. I truly did not think that this was going to be such a big deal. I had already written half a book in less than a month, surely a one page letter wasn’t going to be that hard.
Yup, it totally kicked my ass.
How on earth was I supposed to write in one page what my book was about or the direction that I wanted to take it in? Not only is this book part of a trilogy but I always knew I would make my second trilogy a sort of continuation of my story but with new characters and situations. Then I was supposed to write a brief paragraph about myself. Several helpful websites suggested listing any awards you had received for writing or degrees you may have earned.
Yeah, I’m a stay at home mom of three and the only thing I had written that any one had ever seen in recent years were notes to my kids teachers. I thought about throwing in some comments I had gotten from some of my family and friends in regards to my more witty and funny Facebook status updates but somehow I knew that wasn’t going to be viewed quite as amusing as I thought it was in my mind to the person I was sending the query letter too in hopes of getting represented or published.
After a few days I decided that self publishing was the way to go for me. It let me have control over my work and I also knew that it would allow me to acclimate slowly into the publishing and marketing world. I have never regretted that decision. Recently I feel as though I am at a crossroads concerning my future as a writer. As of right now book one of the Isle of Skye has been downloaded over 3,000 times and book two Isle of Night which I just released has been doing pretty great as well. I have taken some time off from promoting simply because I am waiting for them both to be edited professionally and then I figured I would go balls to the wall with some intense marketing and I’m sure slightly annoying self promotion on my part.
I’m almost done with book three, Isle of Dawn, and I am now faced with the question of what’s next? When I published book one I had a plan to build up my sales and followings so I can go armed to an agent or publisher with these numbers but now there’s a part of me that is almost resentful of this query letter. I’m not some bright eyed, young hopeful author. I’m a 39 year old mother of three that has 2 books under my belt and a third on it’s way to completion. I don’t want to do a one page letter. I want to present someone with several pages including reviews of my work and my future ideas that are already outlined for several more series that I have planned in my overactive brain.
I also want to work with someone that gets me. Someone who has no problem with an email full of f-bombs or doesn’t get upset when I don’t answer the phone right away. I hate the phone. I only answer when I feel like it and that can be rare, especially when I’m writing. Basically, I can be a pain in the ass but I also am a hard worker that is determined and when I want something I go for it, I don’t believe in the word no. Which is hilarious considering I am still slightly scared to death to write a query letter.
Alright so I’m a complicated pain the ass.
I guess my question is this, how do you send off a one page letter to someone who has the chance to turn your hopes and dreams into something bigger than you could ever imagine and not be scared? I realize that this is a chance you have to take but for right now I am happily ensconced in my writing cave typing away my third book. When I’m done that’s when I will have to figure out whether or not I have what it takes because in the end if I don’t fight for it than no one else will want to either.