I get a slew of new clients at the beginning of the year. In fact, this morning, I opened my email and had 31 requests between New Year's Eve and New Year’s night. I had 13 more this morning. I obviously can’t work with that many people one on one. I referred them all to my new Query Letter Bootcamp class starting February, but I don’t think any one of them has signed up.
Some wanted complete one-on-one attention. A few even forbade me from working with others while they worked with me. Something about a conflict of interest? Yeah, sorry. I wouldn’t work with you anyway.
Others said that February was too late to query agents. They wanted to get to agents NOW. Guess what? Agents are just getting back to the office and their submissions are still closed. They’ve got a very long backup of emails from their vacation, and your query will either get sent to auto spam filter because they are closed, or get lost in the shuffle.
The last group will just never sign up for anything. I know this because it’s January first. It’s New Year’s resolutions. They hopped on the bandwagon and said, “This year is the year I write my book!” It’s like gym memberships. They make themselves feel good by taking the first steps, but when they find out how much work it really is, the willpower fails, and the resolution peters out.
Most of these writers probably won’t listen to me and be those much-maligned wannabes who still send an oddly worded two-sentence query letter that says, “I have a fantastic idea! When can I call to discuss it with you? Please sign this NDA before we proceed.” Or the exhausting five-page manifesto about their dystopian world and how they want a $100,000 advance to start writing.
You might think, given how annoying I find these New Year’s resolutions, that I’m not a fan of them. I like goals. I like big goals. Resolutions are important. And for many people, the start of a new year, a fresh year, is a time when it makes sense to start new goals. Personally, I make my goals and reevaluate quarterly.
But people often make grand, vague, or not-well-planned-out goals for New Year's. "Write a book" may be too vague and ambitious if you’ve never written one before. Maybe your goal should be to take a class on creative writing and outline your book. Or, if you really want to write that book this year, that should be your big goal for the entire year. I kid you not.
So, if you set a goal for writing your book this year, or if you’ve written it and want to get it published, here are some basic ideas to help you follow through, so you aren’t one of hundreds emailing me for help, but never get past emailing me.
If you’ve written your book and are trying to find an agent, but you’re floundering with your query letter, can’t decipher agent feedback, have no idea where to find decent agents, or are terrified of the nitpicky process, check out my Agent Query Bootcamp class starting in February. It’s more affordable than working with me one on one, and you’ll have lifetime access to all the information there, so you can use it again and again for new batches of queries or even your next book.
And, as always, I’m available for consultations on books. Writer’s block happens, or sometimes we can’t clearly see the next steps to writing a book. I’m always here to help!
I live in Athens, Georgia, with my son, my husband, and an ever-revolving list of exchange students, who are a never-ending source of entertainment and writing material.