Week 15 Report: Taking that Next Step – the Submission Process

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by Melissa Shaw

The class is coming to an end. Those of us inside the fishbowl have been frantically preparing for big projects, portfolios, and finals. Plus, writing, writing, writing! For those of you outside of the fishbowl, I hope you have been finding the time and inspirations for your own masterpieces. 🙂

This week is Submission Week. We aren’t submitting to real agents (because as much as we wish for it to be true, our novels aren’t even close to being ready), but it’s always good to practice and prepare. When the real time for submitting comes around, we will be ready to kick those bad boys out of the park.

Overview

This week we only met once as a class due to Thanksgiving Break. For class we needed to print off copies of our faux agent query letter and a copy of our partial. The query letter was passed around the class and commented on by our peers, then handed back at the end of class. We sat in our beta groups and helped each other choose which profiles of agents were best suited for our story types. This coming week we will turn those over to the agents. All our hard work will be put to the test.

Outside the Fishbowl

What you guys can do this week to follow along: Keep Writing! and work on your own query letters. If you were with us when we wrote our own jacket copy (what the back of your novel would read to get the attention of readers), all you have to do is write an introduction sentence about why you picked that agent, paste your jacket covers in the middle, and end with your credentials and type of novel.

  • Writer’s Digest has an entire list of agents and some of the query letters they considered successful. Here is a link!
  • Here’s another great resource straight from the website AgentQuery.com

Writing a query letter at this stage in writing is only for those of you who want to keep yourself prepared through the process of writing. If you’d rather write it at the end so that you know everything your novel has to offer, that’s equally just as good.

Take Aways:

  • Keep writing! For a writer, the work is never done. If you don’t think you are ready to think about submitting your novel yet, don’t worry about it. This is the early stage of your novel. Things can and will change. Just keep to it.
  • When you are ready to write that query letter, do your research. An agent does weigh most if not all of your writing skill based on the query letter they receive. If they don’t think it’s up to par, they will throw it out.
  • If you aren’t sure if your query letter is where it needs to be, look at online examples. If  you have a beta reader or readers, send it to them to get feedback. Make sure it is as perfect as can be before sending it out.

What I learned:

  1. Writing my own novel has been a long, but fun, process. Although I don’t have as many words as others for my actual novel (I spent a lot of the beginning weeks developing characters and world-building), I feel as if my novel has potential. Doing the in-class activities such as writing my query letters, has really helped me understand that writing a novel isn’t just about the story. It’s about connecting to an audience.
  2. Most importantly, I have learned that I shouldn’t give up when I am going through a tough writer’s block. I need to just keep writing. And it helps to sometimes think of the future. The query letter aspect and the upcoming publication process are great reminders of that.

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