Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.
- Napoleon

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Self-Doubt Day

Most days I'm chock full o' self confidence. Today ain't one of those days.

It's not my writing this time. I've been reading RTL and I know it's good. (That ain't hubris, folks. If you read it, you'd see it, too.) Nope. Today I'm fairly certain my queries suck. How I can write 5 books and they all shine, but I can't write a damn query to save myself, I'll never know.

It kills me to think that because of a one-page letter, my books aren't seeing the inside of a publisher. One page is all we get. One page. Think about it long enough and you obsess over every syllable of that one page until your eyes bleed. 300+ pages riding on the quality of a single piece of correspondence. Ack.

You know, I never had this problem when I was in sales. The sale of a million parts was riding on my pitch, and I never flinched. Sometimes I didn't get the sale, but more often I did. You know those heated pizza bags Dominoes uses? I spec'd in the cordsets for those. (Since I left that job, a new cordset was spec'd in, but that's neither here nor there.) Every friggin' pizza bag in America was plugged in using my cords. =op I had the best product at the best price, and it was obvious to the customer. Of course, then I didn't have to write a blurb telling him about the product. I just handed him a sample, and he could see the quality of it.

Is a blurb really a sample of our product? If all you get is one paragraph (provided the agent in question doesn't allow sample pages), how the hell is that indicative of the brilliance of a 300+ page manuscript? Aarrgghh.

I know. I know. The industry has to have some easy way to judge. Reading each and every book before making a decision is too damn time-consuming. But just because my query sucks, doesn't mean my book sucks. No wonder these shyster query services hook so many unsuspecting authors. If your writing future is riding on that one page, who wouldn't want professional help? (And no, I won't ever use one of those services. I'm frustrated, not masochistic.)

And then, there's the whole saga of wondering what it was about your query letter that turned the agent off. Was it the personalized part? Was it the blurb? Were you too obseqious or not enough? Did your personality shine through or did you come off cold? Did you remember to thank them, or was it one of those agents who hates to be thanked? Is the information you got off the web accurate, so you didn't send agent Q (who only represents fantasy) a query for your romance?

It really is maddening.

Anyway, I suppose I ought to get back to driving myself nuts with the... eighth, ninth, tenth... version of my blurb for RTL. I'll get over this huge bag of squishy wet stinky self-doubt eventually. Or I'll fake it and hope for the best.

(I'd ask you to wish me luck, but my luck has been so bad lately--pocket Aces beat by pocket Twos bad--I'd rather not have any.)

1 comment:

Kristen Painter said...

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but TAG, you're it.