Monday, August 30, 2010

Not Turning Out To Be The Blockbuster

After I'd finished the last manuscript, the one I thought was a sure hit, I worked up a query letter and fired off a few, just to gauge interest.

A story set in a city other than London or New York, with an international flavor, surely that would pique someone's curiosity?

Apparently not.

It's been more than grim in the response department. Grim as in one single request for pages as compared to twenty rejections or ignorings.

Query letters are particularly tough to write because it's a marketing tool and I'm not much at marketing strategy.

So it's time to revise the query letter and float a few more out there, but my approach has to change in some direction that I can't easily determine. There is one angle, but I don't know if it will help or hurt. Once I've sent out the letter, of course, I'll have an idea, but there's no re-querying for several months if the new letter fails.

Religious terrorism isn't anything new. It's happened in the past, and like so much history, it gets forgotten. A new cast of characters arises and people think it's the first time God's been brought into the picture of violence.

Do I risk getting rejected by mentioning, or making some slight reference to, terrorism as a tool of rebellion? Is it the way to go, or should I find some other emotional element to play on?

I hate query letters. Little wonder that so many literary agents say they find clients through contact at seminars and workshops. Given three minutes, you can better explain a story than you can with 250 words. For those of us who have to work every day to make a living, all we have are those 250 words.

It's all a matter of picking just the right ones, in the right combination.

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