Chances are you absolutely, positively did not enjoy writing your query letter. Writing a query is among the things writers hate the most about their profession, up there with paper cuts and no host open bars.
But once you’ve scarred your soul whittling down your wondrously complicated creation into 350 words or less of glorified marketing copy, it’s worth a final gut check: does this thing sound like I had fun writing it?
No matter the subject matter, whether it’s a middle grade romp or a literary downer about a twisted family, it needs to have big protagonist energy. If Anne Applebaum had written a query for Gulag she still would have needed to make it sound like she just couldn’t believe how fascinating Siberian death camps are.
There are any number of reasons why your query may not read like you are gleefully facing your literary agent executioners. Maybe you aren’t confident it’s good. Maybe you have a tendency to shrink from the spotlight and minimize your achievements.
Fake your fun till you make it fun. It ties back to the old writing adage “if you have fun writing it, they’ll have fun reading it.”
Do a final pass for fun. And remember: it’s extremely awesome you’ve reached this stage of the process and terribly exciting that you’ll soon be showing the world what you’ve been up to for hundreds and hundreds of hours.
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Art: Detail of Youth Making a Face by Adriaen Brouwer