I went to a pitch workshop last fall which was eye opening. It wasn’t formulaic as some of these types of workshops are. Instead, it was about being able to talk about your work, whether to a publishing professional or your best friend, in a way that makes other people interested.
The presenter kept saying, “You have to believe in your work—or no one else will.”
Now of course I know this. In my head.
But it wasn’t till I got home, processed what I learned, and started drafting a new query letter that I realized something.
I was terrified to put a certain book down as a comp title.
It’s a good book and one of my favorites. It’s one of those books I think of as “out of my league” because it’s a sort of recent classic in my genre.
I was terrified that if I used that book people might laugh and think, “Who does she think she is comparing herself to that book?”
But my book is very similar in a lot of ways and would appeal to the same audience.
As I wrote my new query letter and put that “out of my league” title at the top I thought, “Wow, that’s bold.”
But shouldn’t a query letter be bold?
And the strange thing is this boldness thing is carrying over into my writing as well. When I get feedback on my writing, it’s often the lines or even the scenes that felt risky to me that get the most positive feedback. There’s something to this being confident in your own work thing on so many levels.
What I’ve realized is that like fear, people can smell confidence. And if you have it, it shows.
I’m faking mine till I make it.
How easy is it for you to talk about your work--in a query letter or in person?
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Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
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