When I created this website, I had done a lot of reading around “publishing credits“, and felt the self-inflicted pressure to get myself published, including writing things that I didn’t really enjoy.
Aside from the short pieces I’ve attempted to send to online magazines and competitions, I’ve sent partials of two novels to competitions and a rushed opportunity. (Brief Backstory: In October, a publisher opened their doors to unsolicited manuscripts. I spent a month rushing to finish, edit and polish my half-finished story, and submitted it).
In terms of these submissions, I describe a lack of response, “no thank you” or “you didn’t make the short-list” as a rejection of sorts; but I’ve not actually *been rejected* by anyone. It hasn’t been as good as other pieces, but no bridges have been burned. No one has decided that my work is rubbish – just that of the 5,000 manuscripts, 24 of them were better than mine.
In the last month, I’ve hit a lull in my writing, Considering I’ve always found the winter months to be my most productive in terms of writing, it’s not really a surprise. However, I didn’t want to lose my momentum.
So I’ve been working on query letters.
Essentially, a query letter is generally set out with the following components:
-The Story and 2-3 Main Characters
-The Length and Genre of the Novel
-Why I’m Sending this to YOU
-Who I Am
In the “Who I Am” section, this time last year I’d have written:
My young adult fantasy novel, SHADOW SIGHT is a standalone book, complete at approximately 90,000 words. This is my first novel.
This is where the fears arose about publishing credits. But now, I have a little bit more to say. Here’s a snippet of my current draft’s “about me” for Shadow Sight, where the main character is a social worker:
My young adult fantasy novel, SHADOW SIGHT is a standalone book, complete at approximately 90,000 words. I work with social workers in my role as a [Job Title] for [Organisation], and am a member of the [Insert Society Here]. I also attend a monthly writing group, and attended the World Fantasy Convention 2013.
((You’ll notice it’s set in the future, because I’ve made the decision to begin sending out query letters in January 2014.))
Personally, I think that’s a big improvement. It sets the stage that I am willing to attend groups to improve, that I have a commitment to writing and may even suggest that I’m willing to pay a cost in order to grow as a writer. If my novel and writing speaks to the agent or publisher, it’ll show in the “my story and main characters section”. If it doesn’t, I’ll try another agent/publisher.