Ask any writer how fun it is to send out query letters. You’ll probably get a blank stare that means the words “query letter” and “fun” don’t belong in the same sentence. We agonize over those letters, trying to perfect them and make them intriguing while keeping them professional. It’s like juggling double-ended knives.
It’s like giving someone an open invitation to stomp on your dreams.
(Oh no, I just broke all the rules of grammar at once! A sentence beginning with a conjunction. A fragment. A single-word sentence. A single-sentence paragraph! Improper capitalization!)
Learning to craft a query letter has been such a great experience! I participated in several Twitter pitch contests earlier this year. While I’ve decided to step back from those for the time being, they were invaluable for several reasons. First, I made a lot of great connections with other writers as a result. Second, I learned to distill my story to its core.
Producing a good query letter is just a different kind of story-cooking magic. It’s the equivalent of inviting someone in while you’re baking chocolate chip cookies: the place smells great and the idea of the treat to come is so enticing your guest can’t wait for more.
A synopsis, on the other hand, is like getting a taste of the cookie… but only one bite of that hot gooey delicious melted chocolate chip. If your guest wants more they need to ask for the whole cookie, not just one taste.
Since I enjoy cooking and following recipes while making them my own, I’m taking a similar approach to sending out query letters. Not every recipe will be a hit, but one of them surely will. There’s a perfect literary meal in there somewhere, and I’ll dish it up one of these days.