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The Book Itself Matters


I sent 60+ queries with my first book. Another 60+ with my second. On my third I sent 20, and I got my agent.


Why did it happen with the third? Probably a lot of different reasons. But mostly, it was a better book. As much as I loved them, the first two weren’t good enough.


It’s easy to get caught up in the strategy of querying. It’s tempting to think you’re not getting traction for some reason other than your writing. Timing, trends, type-o’s, your query letter, Covid-19.


But the quality of the book itself really does matter. Though it was disappointing at the time to get all those rejections, I can see now that while my first book had lots of personality and voice, it had no structure and a weak story. My second book, which I loved dearly, starts in the wrong place and meanders too much. With that book, I got only three requests for the manuscript out of more than sixty queries. That was hard. Yes, it was the year of Covid. Yes, it's a "quiet" book which is harder to sell. But while those things are true, it is also true that it is just not as good as the book that got me my agent.


There are definitely factors other than quality that affect whether you can get an agent or sell your book. But by and large those are things you can’t control. Quality is the one thing you really can control. That’s the amazing thing. Be relentless in learning to write. Take risks. Learn the craft so you can express your unique and amazing self. YOUR BOOK MATTERS. MAKE IT AS GOOD AS IT CAN BE. Make it YOU and make it GREAT!

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