Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Query, Pitch Iterations and Project Re-Writes

I came to a stunner of a realization yesterday.

While writing the first draft I have also been doing a lot of research into agents, query letters, publishers, etc, so that when the time comes I'll be able to give the best chance of getting Overboard published. When I hit a block during the writing, or need a break or something, I'll read agent blogs such as Pub Rants and Miss Snark. Based on all their sage advice I started working on a query letter a while ago, and just recently I worked up a pitch and submitted it for review on the Bookends LLC blog.

So what?

Well, my novel-writing timeline was laid out for one year, with approximately 8 months budgeted for the first draft and 4 months for re-writes. If I'm going to stick with the timeline it will turn out to be 9 months and 3.

So what?

Yesterday I was looking at my query letter and the old iterations of it I have saved, and the pitch and its previous incarnations. I am on the 15th iteration of the query letter and 9th of the pitch. Each version is, I feel, better than the previous.

So, if it takes me FOURTEEN REWRITES of a query letter and EIGHT of a pitch, neither of which are yet perfect, how many times must I rewrite the novel itself to get it right?

I mean, HOLY CRAP, I'm agonizing over 4-5 paragraphs on the query letter and three SENTENCES on the pitch! Will it take 15 or more rewrites of the book?

My Project Pendulum is way over on the pessimistic side of the scale right now.

1 comment:

paul lamb said...

I honestly think that most of the conventional wisdom about the best way to write a pitch or query is just smoke and ego. I'd bet that you reached a satisfactory draft of each a long time ago.

I've had a better than 10 percent success rate with my pitch/query (success being asked for a partial, so the pitch/query did its job -- now the novel must do its job) without giving a whole lot of anquish to "perfecting" my pitch or query.