Where do writers get their confidence?  Because I can’t seem to find mine.  I used to have some, remember back in November when I was so excited to start sending out queries?  Well, now I feel paralyzed.  I have no confidence, no courage to send out a new round of queries.  I know I need to.  I’ve edited Twenty-Five to death. TO DEATH.  It’s at the point now where I don’t want to make any changes again until a professional (i.e. an agent, editor, or publisher) has read it.  But I can’t work up the nerve to send it out there to professionals.

The whole query process just makes me sick to my stomach.  You have to write a query letter which has to be so knock-your-socks-off fantastic that the agent thinks, “Hmmm… that’s interesting.  I want to read the first couple of chapters.”  Because no matter how knock-your-socks-off fantastic the query letter is, chances are it isn’t going to be soooo fantastic that the agent is going to want to read the whole book.  Unless you’re a friend of mine who has 6 full requests pending at the moment!  (YAY!  She’s so freaking talented if she DOESN’T get an agent than I might as well give up forever.)

Then, once the agent has the first couple of chapters, they have to knock them out of their chair, pick them up, and knock them out again in order for the agent to think, “Hmmm… that’s interesting.   I want to read the rest of the book.”

Then, the rest of the book has to be the ABSOLUTE BEST THING that agent has ever read.  And even then, you may get this response: “While I think your writing/book/story has promise, unfortunately it is not a project I can take on at the moment.”  Or something similar.

So, if you are out there querying- how are you doing it?  Because I can’t.  I don’t know what’s wrong with me.  I don’t think my book is bad.  I want people to read it.  But I can’t send out a damn query letter.

I think it’s the query letter that is my actual problem.  They are so freaking hard to write.  I can’t seem to boil the 96K words down into 250 words and it still be interesting.  I know that people do it every day, so why can’t I?  Every time I try, I lose my voice.  I lose the spark that makes my book special.  Because the truth is, even though it deals with a very simple idea- love found, love lost, love found again- it is incredibly complex.  There are so many components that make it unique and special and different, but I can’t put all those layers into a query letter.  And I can’t seem to figure out which ones are the most special, the most unique- the ones that are going to knock the socks off an agent.

If anyone can share some of their confidence with me, I’d really appreciate it!

7 thoughts on “Confidence

  1. I’m old, and I write because I enjoy it. I’ve made a little money, placed a few magazine articles, and and had a number of local and regional pieces published. My book had been turned down a few times. After several revisions it has generated a little interest over the last year, but I am not signed yet.

    Steven King had a spike by his bedside for all the rejection letters he got.

    It is all a slow process for everyone. You are not alone, although I know that doesn’t make it easier.

    Dr. B

  2. I am with you on that. I think I’ve put querying on the back burner because I hate it so much. Jane Austen would have said forget it if she had to query as much as we did for Pride and Prejudice… it’s so not fair!


  3. I think the key is not thinking about it. Just keep querying. I thought about it, doubted myself, rewrote my book until the first half no longer flows with the second, got frustrated, doubted myself some more, and haven’t sent out any queries in a year. Twenty-Five is good. I would buy it, so make it a book all right already!

  4. – This site has helped me quite a bit with a few things(plot and structure), but the current post up is about premise, and I think it might help you with your query.

    As far as confidence, I have to say that my writing group has to be my source. They push me to do my best, and their positive feedback is a great source of encouragement for me.

    Good luck!

  5. I think the query process is the hardest part! The first time around I sent out a bunch, now I’m taking it slow and only sent about 8 so far. I figure if I get rejections from all of those 8 agents then I need to rework my query. Maybe try drinking a bottle of wine first! But don’t give up! Twenty-Five is amazing!

    🙂 Ang

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