I think every author yearning to be published has a movie playing in their head about the moment they are “discovered”. Let me set the scene ...
It’s nighttime in New York City. Lights dot intermittent windows of the high rise buildings adjacent to her office. Long after the rest of the office has gone home, a lone agent sits at her desk, staring at the never-ending queue of unread query letters in her inbox. She’s tired, hungry, and dreaming of nothing more than a hot dinner followed by luxurious bubble bath by candlelight, but decides to read one more letter before she leaves.
To placate her hunger, she eats a cold french fry left over from lunch as she double-clicks a query at random, her hands at the ready fire off the same “thanks, but no thanks” letter that she sends far too often. But something in this letter gives her pause. She sits up straighter in her chair, leaning closer to the screen to make sure she’s not seeing things. This one is really good. The letter is eloquent and to the point. The story line fits perfectly with the type of manuscripts publishers are buying and the type of client she’s accepting. The plot is both unique and intriguing.
“Oh,” she says aloud, “this is really good. I must talk to this woman! I must offer to represent her before someone else snaps her up and rides this gravy train to the top!”
Now … to fully understand the joy in her heart and the expression on her face, think of the judges faces, Simon Cowell’s in particular, when Susan Boyle began singing I Dreamed a Dream on Britain’s Got Talent. Heck, think of your face when she began singing! No one in that crowded arena or watching on television expected what happened when Susan Boyle began to sing.
Yes … I’m exaggerating, but there is a lot of truth to it! We all like to think that someone is going to read our query letter … and rather of giving it a cursory glance followed by (if you’re lucky) a rejection letter/email so that you can quit wondering if they are interested or not … that they will instead sit a little straighter and re-read the letter, more slowly and thoughtfully this time, all the while scanning the list of publishers in their head and wondering to whom they should offer it first.
Honestly, I don’t really know how excited they get when they find the rare pearl in the sea of oysters. I do know that for every offer of representation, they read thousands of poorly written query letters for poorly written manuscripts. Given the sludge they have to wade through each day, I suppose it’s no wonder that they read the queries with one hand on the delete key.
But for those of us who have yet to attain our goals … for those of us who stay up writing long after what is considered a “respectable” bedtime … for those of us who lie in bed writing in our heads when we know we should be sleeping … for those of us who have read more “How To Get Published” books than most know even exist … for those of us yearning for validation …. we’re really hoping that whoever reads our next query letter doesn’t do so after a fight with their significant other … or the day they didn’t realize the baby threw up down their back until they got to work … or just after they spilled hot coffee all over their new white shirt. We’re hoping whoever reads our query letter is in a good mood, that it’s one of those days they are glad to be in their chosen profession, and that they read the letter with an open mind that perhaps this one will be worth their time.
Until that day comes, I guess I’ll keep plucking away on my laptop, penning more novels, writing more blog entries, and updating my website … waiting for a call from the person who one day reads some of my work and thinks …“Wow — this is really good.”
Every so often, I will get online and watch the first time Susan Boyle sang for the judges. I don't know how many times I've watched it, yet it still gives me goosebumps. I find it inspirational.
It tells me to keep trying ... and it reminds me that it's never too late to see your dreams to come true.