Welcome to Query Week!!
This week we're focusing on queries. For a lot of writers, the query is the worst thing about the business, almost at the level of synopsis (Because lets be honest, there is NOTHING worse than the synopsis.)
Personally, I've gotten to a point where I enjoy working on the query. For me, it signals the end is in sight.
I generally start working on my query around 20k before my first draft is done--coincidentally, that's right now. Why? Well, by then I know the feel my story has (dark, usually) and the major plot points. But the writing of the query helps me hone the ending, and that's always a good thing.
But honestly, the reason I start my query before finishing the book or starting edits? You get one first chance. Would you send your manuscript out without slaving over it, letting crit partners tear it apart and rearrange the bloody bones and polish and shine until it gleams? (If you would, we need to talk about more than the query.)
If you take that much time to work on perfecting your manuscript, shouldn't the first thing the agent reads be just as perfect? Just as shiny and polished, if not more so?
I read once, I forget where, that a good query takes six months to craft. When I first read it, I was just learning and rolled my eyes and moved on. But I've grown up a lot, and now when I start working on my query four months before I'm ready to send anything out--I smile.
Later this week, Liz is going to talk about her agent research process (which I have to tip my hat to. Except I don't wear hats.) and Auzy will be talking about loglines. And we're going to share a list of queries do/don'ts. As well as some of our old (read: awful) queries. So come back and check it out!
In the meantime, a Q4U:
When do you start working on your query?