SCBWI Canada East Blog

February 12, 2017

11:30 AM 0

What it’s not:
You can find terrific advice on the internet with plenty of Dos and Don’ts and a plethora of advice on the mechanics of a good query letter.
Mechanics
See here:
also here for agents to query: http://www.agentquery.com/

The mindset you need for the long game.

Do:
Learn. Learn. Learn. Find out everything you can from industry professionals about the format of a good query letter. queryshark
Research. Research. Research. Check out sites like agentquery and/or Publishers Weekly to gain a sense of who might like the kind of work you produce.
Write that query.
“Be brief.” Alethea Kontis
“Be upbeat.”
Be professional.
Find some distance from your work. The emotions and investment required to write well mean that we grow attached to our creations. Find a way to put some space in between your manuscript and your ego. Let is cool. Then take on a clerical persona when submitting. Wear a different hat if you must! "Put your heart in the writing but put your head in the selling."  Helene Boudreau.

Send your manuscript out. I know . . . it’s tempting to hide your masterpiece so that it never runs the risk of rejection. That’s the safe option, and you can take it. But, as author Sidney Salter said to me once, “Then nothing happens.”
I once read a many-times-submitted manuscript in a critique circle and mentioned that I was tempted to tuck it in a desk drawer. Lucky for me, my writing friend Michelle Jodoin said, “The only thing you should do with that manuscript is tuck it in an envelope and put a stamp on it.” I did, and it found a home.

Lean on friends. Anytime we hope, we are vulnerable. And I’m going to assume that you are hoping an editor or agent will fall in love with your writing. Nobody says it’s easy to wait and bite your knuckles while you bide your time, wondering if your labor of love will be embraced. Draw support from others who know exactly what nervousness you are suffering. This advice goes for both the waiting period and the
Remember the long game.
Persistence is the key to a robust, long-lived career. Jane Yolen, prolific writer and encourager extraordinaire, often posts on Facebook when she receives rejections. How heartening! Even Jane receives rejections. “Not the right editor,” says Jane, and she moves on.
Nikki Grimes, who just won the  Award for her body of work, posted on Facebook that she is glad she didn’t let all those rejection letters stop her.
Don’ts
Don’t take rejection personally. Don’t make a “no” answer the definitive judgment on your ability as a write. Jane Yolen.

Don’t stop.

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