I’m getting closer.
My book has reached a point where I’m feeling more comfortable about sending out a few query letters to perspective agents. The process of writing a query letter is daunting by itself. I can’t tell you how many blogs, magazine articles, e-mails, and book chapters I’ve read devoted to this one subject. There are also on-line courses and live instructor seminars centered on the topic. It’s that big of a deal.
Being who I am, I disconnected the cart and moved it in front of the horse by researching which agents I wanted to forward the query I hadn’t written yet to. These agents are a rather picky bunch and prefer to receive letters only for the type of writing they represent. Go figure. So I’m doing my due diligence and researching which agents prefer what, and that’s when I get confused. I thought I had a handle on the type of novel I had written until I started reading the many categories. Talk about making something more complicated than it needs to be. Here are just a few examples of what I’m talking about. There’s literary fiction, contemporary fiction, adult genre fiction, commercial fiction, hard-boiled mystery or crime fiction, cozy mysteries, and mainstream mystery/suspense. Sheesh!
Rolling up my sleeves (I usually wear short sleeves, but I wanted to provide you with that mental image, so just go with it) I dove in further to figure out what the true meaning of these categories were, like literary fiction is the term principally used to distinguish serious fiction (that is, work with claims to literary merit). Sometimes it seemed as if the agents weren’t using the same playbook, I mean what’s the difference between a mainstream mystery, a hard-boiled mystery, and a cozy mystery? It would be so much easier if we could just use a differently methodology to label our writing. How about food? If literary fiction were the five star dining cuisine of the writing world, say Jean-Georges in New York, then I’d liken my writing to Applebee’s, or maybe even a Joe’s Crab Shack. Definitely not fast food though!
Now that I have a better understanding of the landscape, I can see where perspective authors who are misinformed or too lazy to figure out the system could carpet bomb the industry with their queries.
Me, I’m planning a surgical strike.