Query Hell

Currently listening to: Alice e il blue, by Annalisa


You know what’s difficult? Writing a query letter. There are tips and tricks all over the Internet telling us how to write them, what to include, what to absolutely not include…and yet, it’s still ridiculously hard to write one. Condensing your work down into a couple of paragraphs it torture. But oddly enough, that’s the part I’m pretty good at handling. What kills me is the bio.

Most people agree that there ought to be some form of “bio” in the query. Some quick sense of who the author is. It shouldn’t take up near as much space in the letter as the information about your manuscript, but still. And it brings along its own set of frustrating issues. How should you present yourself? Brag about your achievements? Don’t brag? What if you have no writing credentials? What if you can’t even say that you got a writing-related degree? The bio portion of query letters is always so painful for me. I’m a pretty accomplished human being, all things considered. Double-major in undergrad, current grad student. I was in a very competitive fellowship program at my uni and I’ve co-authored numerous research posters, which I’ve presented at professional (not “undergrad-centric”) conventions. I’ve played a musical instrument for over a decade and I’ve gotten top marks in competitions with that. I’ve got a job in my undergrad field. I’ve been an integral member of the production team for more theatrical productions during undergrad than I care to count. I am established as a competent professional (or semi-professional in some cases) in all of these areas…

And not a damn bit of that helps me sell myself as a fiction author. While some of my credentials might be objectively impressive, they’re largely irrelevant. I’m still proud of them, of course, and they absolutely have their place in certain arenas of my life, but aside from that semester where an English professor was so excited over my poetry, he emailed me at odd hours of the night purely to tell me how thrilled he was, I have no writing credentials. And frankly, that bordered on being a little creepy, and is still not query letter material.

So I agonize over what to say. And some queries in the past have probably suffered because of it.

And now, here I am writing a brand-new query. One for #PitchWars (if you’re curious about me as a potential mentee, take a look over here). Why would I do that, when I hate query-writing so much? I don’t know. Maybe I’m a masochist.


And I should stop procrastinating and get started on it. Only nine days until #PitchWars submissions open.



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