Stony the Road I Trod 2

For the next two weeks I will be blogging about my self-publishing journey.  Over the past year or so, different people have asked me about the publishing process overall and self-publishing specifically.  The first part of the journey will be titled “Stony the Road I Trod” as it relates to my life as I tried to make heads or tails of publishing a book.

rocky_road.jpg  When I was growing up, I never had writing a book as one of my life ambitions so I never studied the writing industry.  I am a reader so I know who my favorite authors are and love to stand in a bookstore or a library and discover new titles and authors.  And it never dawned on me that out of all of those books I saw on the shelves, there were thousands more books that were sitting on someone’s computer waiting for an agent to say those magic words, “Yes, I want to represent you and find a home for your book!”  I never looked beyond the surface until I was on the publication journey for myself.But I was confident that if I took the steps, I would be successful in having my book get published quickly.  Surely this couldn’t be hard.  I mean I applied to college and was accepted by all of the ones I applied to attend.  I was extremely confident about my chances.

On the advice of an author friend, I picked up the 2003 Writer’s Market which is one of the must haves of any writer.  It is updated annually so it is best to always buy the current year to insure having the most up to date information.

I read the book and highlighted portions, tabbed others, and from there I purchased  which offered several examples of query letters to send to prospective agents as well as how to properly format a manuscript based on the genre.  This was heady stuff.   The last time I had researched and studied this much, I was writing a senior thesis in college.  And I had to write two of those – one for English and one for psychology.  Overachiever, don’t you know?

So I read and researched how to write a query letter.  I made a list of agents who according to the 2003 Writer’s Market represented authors who wrote young adult fiction.  I then sent the query letter to my mom and two friends for their feedback.  From their feedback, I tightened it up a bit more.  Keep in mind that a query letter is only supposed to be one page.

There are so many books and websites that purport that they are the query letter gurus.  Then there is a different query letter for fiction versus non-fiction.  Query letters if you write books for children.  Query letters to submit a piece for a magazine.  Writing A Query Letter That SellsThe Complete Nobody’s Guide To Query LettersSo You Wanna write a query letter to a literary agent? (all except children’s books). How To Write Irresistable Query Letters.  The Renegade Writer’s Query Letters That Rock : The Freelance Writer’s Guide to Selling More Work Faster.  Give ‘Em What They Want: The Right Way to Pitch Your Novel to Editors and Agents, A Novelist’s Complete Guide to : Query Letters, Synopses, Outlines. Query Letters that Rock.  Aii yii yii.

Your head will spin and your pockets will be empty if you buy every book out there on writing, be it the query letter writing guides or the novel writing guides.  There are a lot of resources out there, but you are better off going to the bookstore and perusing pages before plunking your money down all willy nilly on every book that looks/sounds good.  You can read 100 books on every subject about writing, write the absolute best query letter ever, and still get rejected.  Plus after a while, you’re just reading the same thing over and over anyway.

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