So this week I've been working on my website and roughing together some ideas for queries. My copy of the "Canadian Writer's Market" showed up last week and I plowed through it. It doesn't quite have all the information that I want so I'm trying to find a few books on writing queries and outlines and all that good stuff. I don't think that all of the answers can be found in how-to books, but my personal opinion has always been that if I get one useful piece of information out of a book, it was a good buy. (Of course, this might just be a way for me to justify buying so many books. Not that I have a problem or anything).
I've been researching Canadian lit agents, and - holy bleep - we don't have very many. There are some online listings at: http://www.writersunion.ca/cla.html and http://www.publishers.ca/publishing-literary-agents.htm. There are probably 20 agencies in total, so that doesn't bode all that well for me as an "emerging" (aka unpub'd/unknown/nobody) writer.
Hand in hand with my research on agents, I've been taking a peek on how to write queries, and I've come accross some interesting links in my travels:
Writer Max Barry has a fairly sparse section on queries, but some good links on his site. His description of queries highlights two key factors; (1) queries are damn important, and (2) keep your sense of humour at the ready: "(t)he idea of a query letter is to take this book you've written, this incomparable masterpiece that took five years and destroyed your marriage, and summarize it on a single piece of paper while still leaving enough room in the margins for a publisher or agent to scribble, 'Sorry, not for us.'" http://www.maxbarry.com/writing/help.html#query.
Writer Holly Lisle has some interesting writerly-type info on her site, including a section on queries: http://www.hollylisle.com/fm/Articles/agent2.html.
Nicholas Sparks (author of "The Notebook") also chimes in at http://www.nicholassparks.com/WritersCorner/Query.html. I have to confess I haven't read the book, but I did catch the movie. It's not for me, but you can't argue with his success.
So basically, I'm going to spend the next while coming up with a hook like: “Sarah...has never had a steady boyfriend, a good hair day, or three dead bodies to explain." My character has never had a steady boyfriend, or a good hair day. The three bodies will be a little harder to write in, though.
And, finally, my personal favourite link of the week - seeing as how I'm a complete and total nobody - "The Complete Nobody's Guide to Query Letters".
I'll be putting some more links up on my website when I get it up and running.
On another note, I'm still feeling farily optimistic about everything, so either I'm a total idjit or I really enjoy this stuff. (And no, you don't get to vote on that).