I finished the editing of Matters of Doubt and have started the query process. My feelings at this juncture remind me a little of how Ernest Shakelton must have felt after surviving the crossing to South Georgia only to find a huge mountain range separating him from civilization. Okay, maybe not that extreme ! But, in many ways, the query process is more challenging than writing a novel. Certainly more nerve-racking. A query letter is a document that must distill down 18 months of hard writing, three hundred plus pages, and 88,000 words into one page of text that will convince a publisher your manuscript is worth a look. Queries are sent out to submission editors who are overworked and cross-eyed from reading thousands of similar letters and are just looking for any reason to toss yours in the dreaded slush pile, where novels go to die. In other words, you’ve dressed up your manuscript, but it might not have any place to go! So, the query letter is crucial to the process. Think the rosin on a tight-rope walker’s slippers. Don’t feel any pressure. Ha!
In any case, I have crafted a good letter and it’s buzzing around out there in the universe of small publishers who accept queries from writers like me, who don’t have an agent. I’ve gotten some encouraging comments so far. I have a good feeling about this book.