Sending out more query letters today.Â I tell you, every time I hit send it’s like a cold shot of ice water right through my veins.
And for heaven’s sake, could someone tell me why?Â I have confidence in my book, and also confidence in the facts that (1) tastes differ (2) some agents will find my work not to their tastes and (3) that is ok.
But the fact remains that each time I ask a new agent to look at it, I feel queasy and terrified.Â Which is nothing compared to how I feel when I realize there’s a new message in my inbox… even though it’s inevitably someone commenting on my Facebook status.
Here’s my query letter:
Dear Mr./Ms. Agent:
I am writing to query you regarding my jazz age mystery novel, The Big Life (75,000 words).Â It is the first in a proposed series that looks at the hard-boiled world of guns and gangsters from a feminine point of view.
Itâ€™s 1928, and farm girl Kitty Carmichael arrives in Chicago determined to reinvent herselfâ€”and to mooch off her rich uncle as long as possible.Â Instead she discovers that her uncle has been murdered, his fortune is missing, and his half-Japanese daughter, Koko, has been left in her care.
Itâ€™s a responsibility she shoulders less than gracefully.Â But as she works to solve her uncleâ€™s murderâ€”and more importantly, get her hands on his cashâ€”Kitty discovers a simple truth: you canâ€™t live the Big Life without a big heart.
Previously I was a story writer for the popular online game City of Heroes, known for its intricate plotlines.Â I studied writing at Florida State University.
Thank you for your consideration,
Hell, I even have confidence in my query letter.Â Yet still, the terror remains.
Today I’m also writing to one agent who has had a partial of mine for a little over two months.Â Just to remind him I’m around, and find out what the situation is.Â It could be anything for all I know.Â He could have decided I wasn’t a fit, but neglected to write.Â He could still be reading it (I did send it just before Christmas after all, so he probably didn’t even look at it for the first couple of weeks).
The letter I’m sending to him is much more casual.Â Because, you know, we’ve communicated a couple of times by email, and so sending him a formal, business-y letter seems somehow silly.Â Which in turn seems somehow silly.Â Because is this isn’t business, what is?
It’s a weird thing about communication in the internet era.Â All the new forms we have for speaking to each other seem so casual, so egalitarian, so off the cuff.Â E-mail is one of them, but where this mindset really gets you is social networking:Â Facebook, Twitter, and blogs.Â They’re just so breezy, you know, all “What are you doing right now?”Â They feel inherently casual.Â But anything that is both permanent and public is inherently serious.
I fret, when I write this blog, over who will see it.Â Prospective agents and editors are certainly capable of Googling my name, so what if they read my blog, huh?Â And what if they see something they Don’t Like?
I’m just a nested pile of insecurities today.