I’ve discussed querying in the past, and I’ve also mentioned the manuscript-mincing site Query Shark. Since I’m back at the point of sending out queries to agent, I think it’s worth reheating the subject.
Query letters are at once the most straightforward and the most complex thing a novelist can write. It’s straightforward in its concept: “Describe your story and make it appealing to others in 300 words or less.” But the simple aim belies the complexity of assembly. You don’t want to ramble overlong about your content or characters, but you also don’t want to leave out key elements that set your story apart. You also don’t want to spoil too much, however. It’s a fine line, or rather a series of fine lines that make the scope of the letter quite narrow and somewhat difficult to maneuver.
It’s a challenge that must be overcome, however. Unless one is of a mind to self-publish (if you’re not sure you are, consult this checklist) you’ll need representation with the guys that put ink on paper for tens of thousands of tomes. And they’re not going to take just any manuscript that floats in from the street. You need to get them interested, and to do that you need a query.
I plan on refining mine and sending it to Query Shark. I’m ready to be torn to shreds. It’s the only surefire way to build myself up enough to knock out the competition and actually get this thing published.