I’m back in the trenches, friends, once more fighting for attention, once more hoping my query stands out enough for agents to want to read pages, once more hoping and believing that my manuscript is good enough to bring me to the next step on the road to publication.
As part of the process, I’ve gone over my manuscript umpteen times, I’ve drafted and redrafted and redrafted again my query, and I’ve even done something of a synopsis (though I need work on that, and querying if any one component is Good To Go right there and then is an admitted risk). In reviewing queries–not just mine, but ones on Absolute Write and in various other places–I find one phrase keeps popping up. It usually come right at the beginning of the query, and it has long made me tap my chin and wonder, even as I do it myself:
“I am seeking representation for my novel….”
The phrase has long made me stop and think. I’ve even drafted a couple of blog posts on the subject, but never posted them for one reason or another (at least I couldn’t find them; I did find one other unfinished post in my blog file. It accounts for the sense of deja vu I’ve been experiencing while writing this). What it makes me wonder is this: Are we seeking representation for one novel, or are we seeking representation for a career full of novels?
I certainly don’t plan on being a ‘one and done’ kind of writer, but I don’t know what life will bring me. And, yes, it would look all kinds of pretentious and pompous to start off with a query with a line like, “I am seeking representation for what will be a long and distinguished literary career”, or “I am seeking someone who will champion my work tirelessly over the next 25 years.” Those kinds of openings would get you hoisted up on the anonymous agent blogs under the heading, ‘What Not To Do In A Query’–who wants to see themselves there? That’s not the sort of ‘in print’ exposure I want.
But agents are smart people. “I’m seeking representation for my novel….” is a sort of standard, one that is understood to have “…and any others that I produce after this one” added on to the end. I just get these things stuck in my head every once in a while and have to let them out.
That’s about it for me here. How are you all doing? Do you have a phrase (writing-related or not) that always makes you stop and think? Please share, and have a great weekend!