April 11, 2011

Quirks of Querying...

(Week one, guest blog on Marlamiller.com)

Querying is a part of a writer's life, and in my opinion the toughest part. Rejection is unavoidable, but knowing that does not make it easier.

Here is my experience with the process of querying--and how it led to publication of not one, but two books.

After jumping the hurdle of finishing a novel, I learned how to write a query letter. Polishing it to perfection, I applied suggestions from an editor friend. I even sent it to Marla Miller for a critique. After making a list of agents in my genre, I began sending out submissions.

Rejections came in many forms, from a NO, scribbled in the corner of my letter, to an encouraging note to keep trying.

Each time, I took another look at my query letter, tweaking it before sending out the next batch. Still, I found rejections in my mailbox--eventually expecting them to be there.

That is when I decided to switch things up. I stopped querying agents and began submitting directly to publishers. This took a great deal of research. I needed to find ones who accepted new authors--sans an agent. I read about how e-books are booming, and decided to look into that option. Agents are good to have, but are not a requirement for many publishers, especially in the growing field of independent or "indie" publishers.

I researched each publisher before submitting. Again, this takes time. I suggest you check each one through predators and editors, absolute write and writers beware. Next, personalize each query. What do I mean by this? Let me tell you what I did.

I took the extra time to visit each publisher's site, familiarizing myself with how they work, about their staff and the overall "feel" of their company. With the information I gleaned, I mentioned something personal about their site in my query letter. There was a particular site that didn't accept my genre, but I loved their attitude so much, I had to let them know what they were doing right.

They are the ones who not only offered me a contract, but also started a new line and expanded because I risked going against the rules. Now, I am not suggesting you go willy-nilly with your submissions. I'm saying, think out of the proverbial box. I knew I wanted this publisher, and in the end, they wanted me.

One week later, another publisher accepted a different book. Again, an independent publisher liked how I personalized my query.

Now, they accepted my book on its own merits, but the fact I got to "know" them, made my query stand out. I just had to give these pointers to my fellow writers. You are welcome to follow my road to publication at jmpowersromance.blogspot.com. Call me your tour guide if you wish. I will point out all the sights on this journey… come along for the ride and learn with me.

(Author note: You can read more comments from readers on Marlamiller.com)

pic courtesy of dreamstime


  1. Love your post, and new blog layout! Very pretty :)


  2. Thanks Teeny, Yeah, at first it was hard to let go of the old layout--but my fave color-purple- helped me let go of the drab ol' brown. :)I appreciate you dropping into the blog.

  3. Woohoo! Two publications at once. When it rains it pours. :) I love a good rain storm.

    Love the new blog layout too.

  4. Thanks, CE. BTW, I love your new blog layout too. :)