Thursday, July 18, 2013

Is Self-Publishing the New Query Letter?

I belong to a Facebook community that is mostly populated by self-published writers. The major problem they have with their books seems to be how to find readers. No surprise there; that's every writer's problem. Yesterday, though, something occurred to me. Most of these writers accept the challenge they have taken on, and fight the good fight. Some of them are surprised at just how hard it is. A very few are angry about it. They've heard the success stories. Failure doesn't make the blogs and writing magazines, after all.

It's the anger that has my attention, because it reminds me of other writers who, as their query letters to agents fail steadily to attract attention, also become angry. And then you see the Facebook posts:  "Nobody reads query letters!", "Agents just delete queries!", and "It's a scam!"

I am endlessly intrigued by assumption.

In any event, all this got me thinking that, just as query letters used to be the canary in the coal mine for a writer's hopes and dreams, now the entire book is being hazarded. Hazarded and, in most cases, killed. To be perfectly honest, most of these books were not going to find a golden future no matter what, but some were. In my opinion (hey, it's my blog; what were you expecting?), a good book has a much better chance of finding a golden future via query letter than by being set loose in the wild-wild-west of self-publishing.

Give your book a chance.

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