The Query Letter
Updated: Apr 28, 2022
Since receiving my completed manuscript back from my editor, I've been researching and reading about various ways to write a query letter that will pique the interest of an agent. It's dizzying to read through so many different "successful letters" and trying to pen one of my own. I'm a writer so one assumes that it should come easily. But not for me. In fact, I believe there's so much riding on this letter, I compare it to sending my first born to pre-school. Allow me a brief trip down memory lane to explain.
I remember prepping my daughter on the car ride to her first day of 3 year old pre-school. I told her she was going to have fun and make lots of new friends. Then I assured her that mommy would wait in the hall for a few minutes after walking her to the classroom in case she felt scared.
Inside I remember hoping and praying that the first day would go well. That she would be accepted by her classmates. That she wouldn't be the kid that bawled her eyes out and begged to go home. While sending my baby into the world was a good thing, it was also nerve-wracking. As a mom I desperately wanted her to do well and be well-liked.
As I pulled into the preschool parking lot, my toddler instructed me from the back seat. "Mom, you can drop me off."
Wait. What? Clearly I must've misunderstood. But no. I glanced in the rear view mirror as she sat in her car seat, legs bouncing from side to side. A smile plastered from ear to ear. This child wanted to be who she was created to be. She had the confidence to walk into a brand new scenario undaunted and fearless.
Now I believe part of that was on account of the personality God gave her. But I also believe some of it can be attributed to the fact that I had worked hard to instill independence and confidence in this kid. She was bright and I wanted to make certain that nothing got in the way of her achieving her full potential. Now, I know she was three and this may seem a bit extreme, but at the core, it was true.
Of course, I walked her to the door. I whispered a quick little prayer with her. Then I stood amazed as she headed for the plastic Little Tikes kitchen and three other girls already busy with "cooking."
When I picked her up a few hours later, she recounted how she'd had a ball, liked her teacher, made friends, and couldn't wait to go back.
I was nervous. I was worried. I was anxious. And all for nothing.
This past week, and even now as I'm typing, I've been chewing on the inside of my lower lip. I don't feel nervous per se, but my dreams at night have been on overdrive and my poor lip gets slathered in Orajel every night before bedtime to help it heal.
My manuscript is my baby and I want it to be accepted. Not just accepted but loved. I want it to entertain, encourage, and inspire readers. I want it to be good enough to get published. And that's where the hard part comes in. Just as I couldn't determine the outcome of my daughter's first day of pre-school, I can't determine what happens with my novel. I've been praying about it for months. I've asked God to guide me in my journey. To go before me with favor. But ultimately, the whole thing is out of my hands. As I plan to send my first query this week, I pray that God will fill my heart with courage. And that He will strengthen me with the resiliency to persevere in the face of rejection.
Lord, guide my steps. Your will be done.