Today I was musing about art of the query. Right now, the query letter kind of rules my life. And I started to wonder if things could work different and maybe be more successful for everyone involved.
An unsolicited query goes into the slush pile. This, right out the gate, is offensive. Any author should be somewhat offended by the terminology considering the amount of TLC that goes into getting a book query ready, the least of which isn’t writing the darn thing to begin with. Having someone’s work likened to dirty, melting snow doesn’t exactly start things out on the right foot.
Then, the fact that most agents, editors and the like are over approached to begin with. This is another bad thing. It means, I assume, as an author you’re getting considerably less attention than you’d hope. Agent’s can’t take everyone seriously. It also means you’re responsible for querying the right agent at the exact right moment…that’s a lot of pressure on a newbie. It’s sort of like dating with the hopes of getting married, you have to sort out all the bad boyfriends to meet from the right guy, and like dating, it can come with a lot of rejection. I doubt agent’s enjoy being the barer of bad news and I know the writers don’t revel in receiving the bad news.
So, I started to think….
What if there was a place, a website, where new authors could submit their query, 30 pages of their work, and agents had to buy a membership to visit the site? An author’s work would be private, unless of course, the agent with their membership decided to click on it and read. And of course, every agent who visited the site was actually an agent searching for a new writer to represent. There could be various genres, long stories and short, something for everyone to read and enjoy. The queries would be kept private from other authors, naturally, to protect their books…but verified agents could graze for days.
My greatest fear, as an author, is missing the one agent who will take a chance on me. It’s the same reason girls get dolled up every weekend and truck it to the hottest club. It’s the fear of missing the one. That single person who will see the value in you and make it their own. And, just like there is no possible way for every girl to meet every guy in the wide, wide world, there is no possible way for every author to query every agent. But unlike with the publishing world, there are dating websites which increase the odds substantially.
Authors are hitting their target market with one submission, rather than spending countless hours submitting various forms of queries.
Agents are feeding from a generous pool of work when they have time or energy or need.
Right now, this doesn’t exist…at least not according to my searches. But wouldn’t it be nice for those looking to be published and those looking to skip the slush pile and hone in on their next great writer? Maybe I should go into business…