Wednesday, March 7, 2012

If the shoe fits



First insecure post, and I'm insecure about it...

I'm about to start querying. *Big sigh* I think I know what's coming, but it's one of those "You can't fully understand until you walk in their shoes" type of a thing. All the doubt, lack of confidence, being able to handle rejection, I'd like to say I'm ready for it. But stepping into those shoes is scary.


My main obstacle is having the confidence to compare my ms to an already published book. I don't think I have big enough shoes to claim something so bold. I realize it's a necessary evil, but I was raised to be modest. And claiming something like this steps on the face of modesty with size 106 steel-toed work boots like these



The query letter is challenging enough without the tread of claiming my unpublished work being comparable to something already out there, something with a following, something popular enough to be on an agent's radar, something selling enough to entice multitudes of shoes running to snatch it off the book shelves.



And then I have the problem of deciding what my ms truly resembles. It's a post apocalyptic novel without zombies. It has a girl fighting to be part of a man's world, but it's not dystopian. It has beasts in the night, but it's not horror. Is there another book out there like mine? A few are close, but not enough to say the shoe fits.



I need to start querying. But that last paragraph is like a tiny rock hiding in the sole of my shoe. I search for the pebble, I can wiggle it to the side nearly out of the way, but it remains uncomfortable.



I've been reading like crazy, the stack of books next to my bed constantly growing. I know there's a book or two out there I can comfortably say reflect my story, even if it's just in theme or character motivation.



I just have to find the right pair...

42 comments:

  1. Hello! What a lovely post (and what a brilliant sentence setting it of). Good luck finding a shoe that fits ;-)

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  2. I love this post!

    Querying sounds terrifying, but I know you will figure out what is right for you. You are very talented, and although the process will be tough, I believe it will be worth it!

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  3. Your novel sounds unique and that's what agents are looking for. Something new, fresh and different that makes them say "I haven't heard that before!" and call you instead of writing to you. You can do it!

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  4. I honestly hate the whole comparison thing too. So much so that I didn't do it in this query letter. We'll see if that ends up hurting me, but like you, I'm not sure I can really find something out there that it compares to (mostly because I made up the paranormal part of my story; it's not vampires or werewolves or ghosts or even typical immortals). Oh, and thank you for the Lucky 7 award! I plan on doing it today :)

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    1. We'll see how the first batch of queries go and if I should/shouldn't have that comparison section...
      You're welcome for the Lucky 7, I look forward to reading yours :)

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  5. Great post! I know how you feel exactly. Good luck on your quest to find the perfect pair of shoes.

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  6. Love all the shoes! Have you thought about cobbling up a pair of your own and going down the self-publish route - that way you can see if there is reader interest in your story? I tried for years to get published via the 'traditional' mehtods and finally took it into my own hands in 2011. I am nowhere near making a living (yet - live in hope!) but my books are starting to sell and Amazon KDP gives an amazing boost up the charts if you take that option. It is not ideal - I spend more time on 'marketing'/blogging/platform building etc than on writing new books (I guess this is usually what the publisher does) but its great fun to get your book out there and have contact with your audience.
    Best wishes
    Emma

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    1. Thanks Emma! I think I have this in mind, traditional route until I feel it's time to move on to self-publishing if necessary :)

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  7. Love those shoes...too funny. I've been querying for a while. I feel you.

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  8. Hi there. I am #94, popping in from Alex's blog, and a new member of your blog.

    I've been querying for a while too and it can be daunting, but at the same time it's a good feeling to know that you're taking that next step and getting your work out there, so good for you!

    Feel free to pop by my blog. I'm trying to get a writing support group e-Magazine started where aspiring and established writers can get their work printed and provide constructive feedback to each other. Cheers!

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    1. Thanks Siobhan :) I'll pop over now..

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  9. Query that sucker Hope! It's good that no other shoe fits. Your story is THAT original. Score!!

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    1. Thanks Cassie! You realize the downside of me querying is that you'll have to listen to me whine?

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  10. I say go for it. Throw yourself into it. If the shoe doesn't fit, try on another pair. The best part of querying is you can tweak it as you go. The first batch is the hardest, but after that, you'll get into your dancing shoes and groove to the music. : )

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    1. Thanks Emily! Can't wait for those dancing shoes :)

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  11. In my query (which I haven't sent out yet) I don't compare my book to any other. I felt like anything I put sounded boastful. I ended up saying - This story, complete at 60k words puts a unique spin on the 40 days of temptation Christ suffered, but told from the POV of a hot headed disciple. -- I'm sure there is better summaries out there, but I felt this told them the theme, but says this isn't like any other. You could do the same, say your story is this____ With that___mixed in. ;) no need to compare an original :)

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    1. I know what you mean Amber :) Great idea with that last sentence, thank you!

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  12. I want to read that book! What intrigues me most is that it's not like anything else. I think that's a good thing.

    I'm getting ready to query soon, too. Good luck! So happy you posted today. :)

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    1. Thanks Jamie! We'll be in the trenches together :)

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  13. To take just one of your points, you should try not to compare your MS to a published book, because that book will have gone through rigorous publishing-house editing which your MS has yet to do. Good luck with your querying.

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    1. Thank you Annalisa, I hope to get to that rigorous editing soon!

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  14. First, I love all those shoe pictures! Like wow!!

    As for your query, the trick is not to compare yourself or your book directly to other authors or even their books, but to say you think FANS of such-and-such book or series might like your novel. The comparisons shouldn't be exact because, I'm sure, what you've written is unique and has never been done quite the same way before, but if your story shares elements from books you've read, you should point those out to a potential agent. They really like that. But they want to know WHO will likely read your book, not that your book is like someone else's. There's a big difference. Good luck!

    And if you haven't already done so, you should consider putting your query up on Matthew MacNish's blog, The Quintessentially Questionable Query Experiment. He's great at critiquing queries and his followers help a great deal, too.

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    1. Thanks for the idea Nancy, and I think I'll have to give QQQE a try :)

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  15. I think it's just because you're buying shoes made out of live alligator and lion fish.

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    1. Hmmm, hopefully my writing doesn't come across so uncomfortable :)

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  16. I totally understand what your going through. Querying is the single most terrifying thing a writer has to do, but it's also an experience that will teach you a whole lot that you can't learn any other way. You'll learn how strong you are, how much you want this, how far are you willing to go and how much are you willing to fight for it, and in the face of so much rejection, you'll also learn how much you really believe on yourself. Every time you consider leaving your computer behind and forget about your dream, you'll read your book and you'll know it IS good, it DESERVES to be published, and you'll keep fighting for it. If in the end you go the indy rout, there's no harm done. The experience will have prepared you for the road ahead. GOOD LUCK! Be strong and believe in you!

    Thanks for stoping by Diary of a Writer in Progress. =)

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    1. Thank you Gina! I will be coming back to your comments soon I'm sure to remind myself to keep my chin up :)

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  17. This is my first time here. *waves hello* Nice to meet you. :)

    Comparing yourself or your work or career journey/trajectory...bad idea. Do your thing. Be your best original self.
    I've always loved this quote: Everything you want is on the other side of fear.
    Yeah. So, be brave and be you. And there is nothing wrong with being modest or humble. :)

    Good luck on your query journey.

    Hugs,
    Lola

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  18. Good luck, Hope! My the query gods shine good fortune and positive feedback with your quest. Oh, and knock 'em dead!!!

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  19. Kiddo your work is as good as others out there! You just gotta believe :)

    Easy for me to say...I worry about this dang querying thing all the time. haha. Want to go shoe shopping together? :)

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  20. I haven't queried yet so I have no advice - but I wasn't planning on comparing my book to anyone else's. If that's wrong, then so be it. I see conflicting thoughts on this so I'm going with my gut :-)

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  21. I've read your query and I think you'll do fantastic! Don't be afraid, be bold! If it makes you feel better, there are really terrible queries out there, and here is a Tumbler Site to prove it - http://slushpilehell.tumblr.com/

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  22. The shoes are SO fun. I think picking that certain aspect of the book is what will make it easier and you did an AWESOME job with that. I'm still on the fence about my comparisons.

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  23. Holy crap, Hope!! What an amazing post!!
    You will find the right shoe, my dear. By the time you're done it will likely have a little wear on it--maybe some gum stuck to the bottom or quite possibly a hint of dog poop *gasp* but you will find the perfect fit and you will love those shoes.

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  24. Hi Hope, I’m new to the IWSG family and wanted to introduce myself, #260. Since I was tagged in a little game of “Lucky 7,” I thought it would be fun to extend my tag to you. Please check out my blog when you get a chance. :)

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