It’s the holiday season, and people (including me and my family) are making all kinds of preparations for December celebrations. This year, some of my holiday cards will be hand painted–if you didn’t get one, don’t get your feelings hurt. I WAY underestimated the time it takes to paint them, so I won’t have enough. But hey, some is better than none.
There’s another season coming up that I didn’t know about until I was involved in the publishing industry (and by involved, I mean desperately hoping to be published someday). READING SEASON. When working on query goals (GOAL: Submit one more manuscript to an agent before the end of November), I learned that many agents close their email boxes to submissions in December and January. This allows them a some time to work through the gazillion submissions they receive.
There are many ideas about the “slush pile,” and how agents and editors peruse their mailboxes:
Some people believe in the subject line: READ THIS! YOUR LIFE WILL CHANGE!
Others feel that the greeting matters most: Dear most gracious and powerful literary agent who needs one more client.
Still others count on listing the qualifications of the author: I am a member of a reputable writer’s club, I won the school spelling bee in 5th grade, and also I live near Mark Twain’s house, so of course my stuff is good.
I believe a little bit in all of those things, but I mostly believe in my manuscript. It’s a story about believing in yourself and your own ideas, and I think kids everywhere (and adults!) need to hear more about that.
Truth is, no matter how good my book is, the agent (or editor or publisher) must READ it to decide if it’s good, so the query letter matters a lot. So on that note, I give you this holiday tune about getting published. Sing it to the tune of “White Christmas.” Ready? All together now:
I’m dreaming of a new agent,
who loves my book more than I’ll know–
Who each word will cherish–
All doubts will perish.
The love for characters will grow.
I’m dreaming of a fast book deal
With big book store signings galore
May my query show off
my skills–don’t blow off
’cause this is revision ninety-four.
May my agent find me–and soon!
And I hope you liked this Reading Season tune.