As you may already know, for the past year and a half I’ve been working on my first novel—an alternate history set in a world where the Nazis won World War II.
I’ve written and edited, spent long days (and nights) wrestling with character dilemmas, and, recently, started writing and re-writing (and then re-writing again) my query letter.
For those who aren’t familiar with the term, here’s the skinny: If you want to be traditionally published (as opposed to self published), you’ll need an agent. If you want an agent, you’ll need to send agents a query letter–a compelling one-page letter that makes the agent want to read your story.
Query letters are similar to the blurbs you find on the back of published books, those short summaries that try to draw you in, tell you what the story’s about, make you want to read more.
And they are incredibly hard to write.
And so very quickly I knew I needed help.
I did a few things in my quest for help. I read every single article on Writer’s Digest’s Successful Queries series and then every blog post over at Query Shark. I asked my Facebook friends to weigh in on an early version of the letter.
I also tried to share my query letter in an author Facebook group I belong to. But the admins said no. Any mention of your book in that group, they said, any mention at all, was self-promotion and it wasn’t allowed.
For a group of book authors, this seemed incredibly limiting. Why should we go out of our way to not mention our work in a group that was specifically about our work?
I’ll confess: I was frustrated. I wanted to hear about the books people were working on. I wanted to not only share my query letter but see what other people’s queries looked like. I wanted a place where we could talk freely about our work, share with each other, support each other, offer critiques, and even share our good news, book titles included.
So I started my own book authors Facebook group for women and minority authors (or aspiring authors)—a place where mentioning your book isn’t taboo, where you can freely post your query and ask for feedback, and where we all pay it forward, giving feedback and sharing resources as well as asking for them.
The group is about 200 strong right now and I wanted to extend an invitation: If you, dear reader, are a woman or minority author working on a book project of your own, we would love to have you.
Join us for free group query critiques, shared resources, and pretty much anything else book-related.