Monday, April 13, 2009

The Easy Writer

As a first-time author, I'm trying to get my brain around query letters. Maybe I'm just thinking of it too much like a resume or a CV, but I feel that I need to include something that says "I'm easy." That is, I know that:

  1. I'm a first-time author.
  2. Pretty much everyone else is going to have a better concept of "the right thing" than I will.
  3. I have a day job so I'm not starving and freaking out trying to get published.
  4. I'm willing to shut up, listen, and do what it takes to enjoy the ride.
  5. Whether it takes 2 weeks or 2 years, 2 or 200 rounds of revisions, I'm cool with that.

But . . . I'm having trouble coming up with a way of saying all of that so it doesn't also sound like "I'm doing the writing thing as a lark and don't really care about it." It's not that I don't care -- I care quite a bit -- but I'm smart enough to not let my ego get in the way. I'll save the crazy high-maintenance stuff for when I've published 20 books and optioned them all to movie studios.

Is there a concise way of saying all of that? Or am I on the exact wrong track?

You are on the wrong track. Here’s the deal: note to all of you aspiring writers out there, you better all be “easy.” It’s not an option. Here are my thoughts on your list.

  1. I couldn't care less if you’re a first-time or fiftieth-time author; if the book wows me, I want you. From there, each book is a new experience and we’ll ride that wave together if necessary.
  2. I’m not sure I have a better concept of “the right thing” than you do. Heck, I don’t even know what you mean by that. This whole crazy business is subjective and what’s right for one isn’t always right for another. What you have to know is your book and your characters and what’s right for them.
  3. Starving and freaking out about getting published are two different things. If you’re starving and published you’re likely to still be starving. If you’re freaking out about getting published you’re a writer.
  4. We should all be willing to shut up and listen and do what it takes to enjoy the ride. If you’re not, get off the bus now, I don’t want you. Publishing a book is not the job of one person, it’s a team effort, and the better you are at playing with the team the more successful you’ll be.
  5. Time is your friend in the publishing world. It will take 2 weeks, 2 years and 200 years (oh, sorry, you said rounds of revisions), and whether you’re cool with it or not you don’t have a choice. So buckle in, write until your fingers ache, and work on your blurb, because that’s what the query is all about.