By Judy Clement Wall
My agent search continues. Slowly. In two weeks, I’ve queried six agents. I tell myself that’s because I’m doing it right. I’m looking for good fits, searching out the agents of authors who write books like mine. I diligently read agency websites and agent interviews, and only when the stars align do I send my super amazing, awesomely customized query letter.
And yet, every time I do it, despite my due diligence, I experience a momentary panic, a stomach-dropping, breath catching sense of dread that boils down to just one question: Did I do it right? Was I impressive enough, concise but not boring? Did my letter capture the essence of my book, my voice, my passion, my commitment? And, holy cow, what if an agent visits my blog – is it cool enough? Big enough? Badass enough? I’ve never liked the font…
Really, j? The font?
And that’s when I know I just have to calm the hell down, despite all the expert advice that tells me to worry.
Over the weekend, I read “Against Professionalism” by Nick Mamatas. He points out how crazy writer worries can be.
I’ve heard people earnestly report that they never use American flag stamps when mailing submissions because liberal editors may take such stamps as a conservative political statement.
I get that. It’s easy to get caught up in, say, an expert’s post listing “Ten Things Agents Love In A Query Letter.” That is, until you read the “Ten Sure Fire Ways To Piss Off An Agent” and realize five of the things are the same on both lists.
You should have a great hook; you don’t need to worry about a hook. Be personal and charming; be professional and concise. I’ve read many times that I absolutely need an official website. Now. Before the book gets published. Nick Mamatas says, “We laugh at ‘official’ websites.”
What’s a fledgling badass writer to do?
That’s what I’ve decided. I have a theory. We attract people. All of us. All the time. We talk and tweet and blog and write and we attract people. Best to attract people to the real me – not the neurotic, half-crazed me who worries about whether an agent will turn me down because I started a paragraph with a dependent clause. If an agent turns me down for that, I’m thinking we’re both better off.
What do you think?
JUDY CLEMENT WALL is a freelance writer and Course Presenter for the Fear of Writing Online Course. She’s just finished her first novel, Beautiful Lives, and here at FoW is chronicling her quest to find a publisher. You can read more of her series here. Judy blogs about life, love, writing and cheesecake at Zebra Sounds.