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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Lisa Gus on When And How to Query

Lisa Gus, owner and publisher of Curiosity Quills, is with us today. She has some thoughts on the process of getting published. Take it away, Lisa.


Curiosity Quills was launched in mid-2011 as a way of showcasing the work of my husband and writing partner, Eugene Teplitsky, and myself. We wanted to wow the world, the internet... and, at the very least, a reader here and there.

We certainly hope we did just that - except through the writing of others, of those authors who have trusted us to act as their publisher and help them accomplish what we have only dreamed of. Which is to say, putting out a finished, edited, polished work for the masses to love, hate, recommend, or boo at will.

Because as for us, personally - we are yet to feel that we are ready.

And for those who are ready? Those who are sending their work to us and other publishers and agents (or readers - if opting for the self-published route)? Kudos to you!

You have done the brunt of the work. You are finished. You have let it stew. You have edited it. You have shown it to your beta readers and your crit group. You have edited it some more. And now, you're prepared to let it take flight.

You HAVE done all that stuff, right? If you didn't... I can guarantee you, your MS might stand out, just not for the reasons you want it to.

If, however, all those pre-flight steps are complete, if the manuscript is clean, cohesive, doesn't overuse purple prose and is not so spare that it's one big dialogue, then you really have done all that you can, and the next is up to the individual tastes and finickiness of your intended audience.

Some, after all, may want more romance, some - more action, and yet others are looking for multicultural fare.

But what is important is to properly categorize it so that whether you are self-publishing it or sending it to the industry professional, the work will get to the people most likely to appreciate it. Do not send a spy thriller to a publisher specializing in Inspirational fiction, and do not pick Erotica as one of your Amazon genres just because 50 Shades of Gray has blown some publishing conventions to smithereens.

Simple enough?

Then let's move on to the blurb and / or query letter. Tell your reader what it is they will find in the story - but do not give them a Cliff's Notes version right off the bat. If you do, what is left to lure them into reading your masterpiece? Show us just enough of what to expect from the work and from you, as the writer, and leave us breathless and checking our kindles and mailboxes for more.

And if all of that is in the bag - then just stop worrying. If you are passionate, and if you have followed the literary conventions well (or have found ways to creatively circumvent them), someone - or ideally, quite a few someones out there - will read the full, love it, and become your fan and cheerleader for life. After all, isn't that what you are doing this for in the first place?

PS. And now, I will try to find a moment to get back to my writing. I, too, want someone out there to see in our work exactly what we intended it to be all those years ago. And if that means quitting obsessing over every little detail and letting it speak for itself.... Then just very possibly, this may be the very thing a manuscript might need.

1 comment:

Liz A. said...

Beta readers and crit group?!? I knew I was missing something...

(Just kidding. Working on that part at the moment.)