It’s not you. It’s me.
Seriously, though, hear me out.
So last month I decided I ought to format my book for print release, so I can offer that as an option and-then-also order copies for my friends. And I was about midway through that when it really just hit me: I don’t want to be doing this.
I mean, I kind of knew to begin with, honestly I thought someone else (*ahem* You know who you are.) would be doing this part of the publishing thing. Only I ended up having to take care of everything, and frankly, it’s exhausting. I had posted a link on my home page with the caption “Help me quit my day job!”, but really, how much help would that really be when self-publishing is a full-time job all by itself? I don’t want to be a publisher, I want to write, and in the throes of that epiphany I realized, I hadn’t written diddly for the better part of a year.
So I’ve decided to find myself an agent. *even more hyperventilation*
Which is no small task, lemme tell you. I’m fully aware I’ll get absurd amounts of rejections before I find someone who loves my book as much as me. Thankfully I’ve finally reached a point where I don’t take those rejections personally. I think it’s partially to do with my confidence in this book, though. I know it’s good, and I know people will love it, so when someone doesn’t, it doesn’t bother me nearly as much. There’s nothing bouncing around in the back of my mind telling me they don’t like it because the book is awful. The book is amazing, it just doesn’t resonate with them as agents.
Of course the biggest hurdle for me at this point is managing to write something that sounds even vaguely professional. I’m of the very firm opinion that the moment my writing started getting better was around the same time I stopped taking myself so goddamn seriously. And so now the compulsion to turn everything into a joke is so ingrained it’s proving exceptionally difficult to write a proper query letter.
I’ve only queried 6 agents so far (I’ve been really busy) and gotten 4 rejections, but I’ve edited my query almost every time, and I think I’ve finally managed to balance the facts, professionalism, and the delicate wording I need to put into explaining the self-publishing thing. (The last thing I want is for them to think I don’t understand or respect what they do.) But of course, if there is anyone reading this who thinks they can do better, PLEASE DO!! FOR THE LOVE OF CHEESE, PLEASE FIX WHATEVER YOU FIND WRONG WITH IT, GOOD LORD I SUCK AT BUSINESS-PERSON-ING!
K.T. Chambers’ Query letter, quintillionth draft:
Energy is the first book in a three-part series. The main character is Katie Johnson; a bookish science-nerd with no particular psychic talents of her own to speak of, but a deeply burning passion for the science involved in the newly discovered field of Psychic Manipulation.
This is a Young Adult novel, primarily Science Fiction/Fantasy but with humor saturating practically every page. It takes place in the not-too-distant future, where I try and present society’s development of ‘psychic powers’ in a realistic way, and it runs about 94,000 words.
There’s a boatload of information about me and my stories available at my website, ktchambers.com; I was hoping to draw the attention of an agent or publisher by posting my stories on my website, but as it turns out, it’s not quite as simple as ‘Paste your manuscript online; wait for people to offer you a contract.’ (Heh….) In any case, I’ve decided that writing is a full time job on it’s own, so I’m eager to hand over the reins, publishing-wise.
It was actually also suggested that I write a query from ‘Joanne’ (Katie’s best friend) Which I think would be a much better representation of who I am and how I write, but I’m not sure if I wanna risk the chance that any of these agents have a sense of humor that’ll override their professionalism (unlike me…) I might try it about 50 or so rejections in, just because by then, what the hell?
Joanne’s Query letter, first draft (like she needs another?)
My name is Joanne, and I go to school at IPS with my best friend, Katie. (IPS stands for Institute for Paranormal Studies, in case you didn’t know. Which, if you didn’t, I should tell you there are better places to live nowadays other than under that rock. Seriously, we’ve come a long way.)
Anyway, I’m writing today on behalf of my BFF, Katie. She would never say so (because she’s also kind of a goober,) but Katie happens to be a 100%, bona-fide, “Please-don’t-shoot-me-with-that-death-ray” Super villain-level genius. And she’s been geeking out about psychic powers and all that stuff since she was in diapers. (Well, probably. By the time I met her I’m pretty sure she was potty trained, but I try not to pry.)
Only once we got to school it turned out that Katie didn’t test into any proficiencies – that is to say, she’s not naturally talented in any of the fields, like telekinesis or precognition. But of course, being Katie, she flipped the establishment a big ol’ metaphorical bird and started studying every field anyway, without even blinking about the fact that she won’t get any credit for it. She practically lives in the library, I’m honestly considering staging an intervention.
So anyway, long story short, our school was in some trouble, and Katie ended up making a bunch of inventions – shockingly, none of them were a death ray.
As I understand it, an ‘agent’ is responsible for handling the creator-person’s business stuff, am I right? I mean, Katie’s a genius an all, science-wise, but (bless her heart) she doesn’t have much of a head for business. It’s too busy in the clouds calculating ambient frequency vibration hoosimawhatsits and what have you. I was hoping you might be interested in helping her out. And even if you’re not one of those agents who represents Inventors/Mad Geniuses/Super Villains on the side, the story (which actually really is pretty long) is still pretty much straight up awesome (due in no small part to me,) and a friend of ours was nice enough to write it all up.
I cover the big points in the post-script, and I added a bit of the beginning so you can give it a look. Thanks for your time, and I look forward to hearing back from you! (Goodness, I feel so professional!)
(Transcribed by K.T. Chambers)