This post is part of the monthly Insecure Writer's Support Group. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting the group and to all the participants for putting it out there on the first Wednesday of the month.
I have a fear I suspect many aspiring writers have. I have query-writing-ophobia. It's debilitating when compounded by submitting-the-thing-ophobia.
When I think about it rationally, I know that the fear is unfounded and stems from the time I sent a submission to a large publishing company when I was twenty. It was a children's book. I did illustrations. I can't really draw. I was so naive that I was surprised and devastated when I got a prompt rejection. (I still have the original story and artwork. It's kind of priceless and hilarious. I'll scan it and share it here when I work up the nerve. Maybe not.)
Now that I've been writing fiction for three years and blogging on and off for nearly ten years on top of twelve years of technical writing as part of my programming gig, I know I can write.
And yet I don't seem to be able to work up the nerve to write the query letter. Not even one.
I tell myself my novels aren't done. They need to be revised more. I tell myself to keep writing - I'll worry about final edits and query letters later...much later. I can see this is bullshit. I see it clearly. I need to suck it up and endure some rejection. It will be good for me (if it doesn't destroy me).
I finally worked up the nerve to print off a generic query letter, a fill-in-the-blanks kind of thing.
As I mentally filled in the blanks (no, not with pen or keyboard quite yet), I saw what I needed to do to strengthen my novels. For two of the stories, I needed to focus more on the MC's decision. It was there, it just wasn't there enough. I honestly wish I had attempted a query letter before I started writing my last three WIPs.
This weekend I am going to write a draft of a query letter for One Small Betrayal, the novel I'm working on now - just a draft, no pressure. Next weekend (or maybe next month), I will do the same for one of my other WIPs, and on and on until I have a draft of each, even the ones I have detailed plans for but haven't written yet.
By the end of the year, I won't be afraid anymore...it's all in theory of course. I should pre-write my January, 2013, IWSG post now - at least the title - so I don't forget. I hope I'm not just full of crap - I hope I really find the courage to do it. We'll see in January.
If anyone wants to join me in my query-writing frenzy/hell, that would be awesome. Hopefully it's not just me.