Steps Accomplished: Query Letter and Pitch
If you’ve been following this blog for some time, you might know that I’ve been working on a book that I’m trying to get published. Well, last week I sent out my first query letter to an agent. I probably won’t hear anything back from her considering it was my first query letter, and I have a long way to go toward refining it, but it was a step forward in doing something that I’ve been needing—and afraid to do—for quite some time.
I’ll be going to the Writer’s Digest conference this weekend and live pitching my book to agents. Here’s the pitch that I plan on giving them (I’m currently working on memorizing it):
Three years after her brother’s tragic death in a car accident, 16-year-old Brooklyn native Marisela feels all alone and wishes she were dead too. She is fresh off her latest suicide attempt when she meets Pastor Edwards, a smooth-talking Baptist preacher, who welcomes the Roman Catholic teen to his church family.
Marisela finally has a renewed purpose for living and begins making friends until the married youth pastor makes a sexual advance on her. When vicious rumors spread around the church about Marisela, she—already prone to low self-esteem—despairs and finds her thoughts slipping back to suicide.
Will Marisela lose the friends, and the life, that she’s worked so hard to gain?
It’s also the pitch that I plan on using in my query letters as I try to obtain an agent.
Basically, the way traditional publishing works is that as an author, I have to obtain an agent before I can try to sell my book to a publisher. (Well, I could try to sell my book to a publisher, but I’d have to get a lawyer well versed in publishing contracts to navigate that murky world for me. Agents do that for a cut of whatever I earn.) The agent then tries to sell the book to a publisher, and once the book is accepted, goes through revisions before getting published. Depending on what a publisher would pay me, agents would get a 15-20 percent cut of whatever I get.
I could self-publish but that’s not the route that I seek as I don’t have a large platform and would have to do the marketing all on my own. Traditional publishers like authors to already have their own platform, but publishers help with the marketing aspect if the author is not already established. It’s a long slog, and a tough one too, but I suppose I’m tougher than I consider myself to be. I can handle this.
If I could have my choice, I’d rather have acceptance rather than rejection from the first agent I’ve queried. But I’d rather get a rejection response than nothing at all.