What do you get when you have five bloggers write on the topic of submitting their first agent query letters?
If you’ve been following the preceding posts, you’ll know that’s the topic of this week’s Wicked Writer posts, but I’ll tell you the punchline in just a moment. First, I’d like to share my newbie experience as a blogger with you and what led me to this point in time. (Stick with me. It’s part of the punchline.)
I’d been “working exclusively on my craft,” as I’d been telling everyone all these years, trying to become the best writer I could before I could ever even think of delving into the world of agent searches, querying, launching a web site, or anything remotely promotional.
Then nearly six weeks ago, some time before Christmas break, C.J., whom I’d known was in the process of forming a group blog and had so far enlisted three other writers to blog with her, called to tell me it’s two weeks before launch and she had one writer drop out. I was ready to give her my “can’t help you, I don’t know anyone looking to blog” spiel when I caught her next words: “…and so I have a proposition for you.” She followed up with how much she admired that I’d been working so hard to perfect my craft but that it’s finally time to “sh** or get off the pot.” (She’s an elegant one with words, our C.J.)
I said I would think about it, even though I was secretly thinking a great big NO. Why would I put myself out there like that? I felt sure that I was nowhere near ready to show my work to an agent, my writing’s probably not up to par yet, I have a lot of loose ends to tie up in terms of revising and polishing my first novel, and basically, I’m not really a blogging kind of gal.
What a month can do.
As anyone who knows C.J. knows first hand, she can wear you down—but in a good way. (I think she calls it “selling.” Um, sure, honey.) But she believed in me and my work and she wouldn’t let it go. I agreed to her crazy idea after I found out my fellow Guppy, Steve Liskow, was the first guy to respond to C.J.’s open shout-out for a male mystery writer on our news group. I’d always thought him well spoken and professional on all his posts. Maybe this was a good idea after all. Other people certainly seemed to think so.
But I still had my doubts. I was scared out of my mind, and spent the rest of my holiday break trying to write that first, scary post. (Do you see a scary theme here?) Then C.J. scared me some more: “if I’m promoting you to everyone I know, I expect you to get out there and promote yourself as well.” So she “encouraged” me (I think there was a pistol involved) to make the leap in telling my friends and family about our new venture and my first post, which revealed what I considered my most private secret: I want to be a published novelist!
The rest is history. There’s a terrific poem about a writer who had a lot of words and how all those words were strangling him. (I would tell you the name of the poet but, hey, I could be twisting his words.) That sentiment perfectly described me as a writer until about a month ago. How could I possibly tell people I was writing a book when I couldn’t get the words right?
But here I am, my fourth post in, and I’m raring to go. The creative juices are flowing, my writing is more focused, I have a specific plan toward publication this year, and for once, I feel absolutely excited about getting there.
Which brings me back to the punchline: I’ve never sent out a query letter.
Not yet. But I will soon. And the truth is, if not for C.J. and her holiday proposition, the right time may never have arrived, and 2010 would not have been the year I send out my first query letter.
Any other writers nervous about taking that first big step?