Long Live the Query

The Query Is Dead;

You’ve probably heard that somewhere. If an author is going to self-publish, she doesn’t need to query!

It’s ‘true.’ A self-published author does not have to send query letters to agents or publishers to get her work published.

And yet… I keep seeing it in self-publishing advice, snark that one’s efforts to learn how to write queries, that it’s an old skill as relevant to today as buggy-whip making. The Query is dead.

Long Live the Query

Authors still need to write queries, though they address them to different people and the format has changed.

Quite frankly, learning to write queries has taught (and is still teaching me) me a lot about writing and storytelling. Query fundamentals are the same fundamentals for all types of pitching and synopses. Queries teach us to be comfortable with pitching the work, telling the story, and getting to the heart of the message.

The more I study blurbs, the more parallels I see to query letters. A blurb is a query that stops half-way through the book instead of at 75 or 90%. They both have hooks, sell the unique story, paint a picture of the protagonist. They use the same writing muscles.

So it makes me crazy when I hear a writer (like me) wasted her time learning to write queries. I disagree, my time was and is well-spent. A self-published writer is pitching directly to his or her readers, that query (blurb and product description) has to be top notch.

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