Querying Angst

After months of researching, looking through dozens upon dozens of bio pages, and a few false starts, I finally sent off my first new query letter. I feel almost as though I have been tredging through some dating site, trying to find someone with similar style and interests while maintaining compatible personality differences…instead I’ve been looking for an agent.

I posted earlier about writing the query letter…I never got a response but that’s okay. Since every thing I read had at least one difference, I can see why people ‘liked’ but didn’t comment. Yes, that’s right, every single one of the 15+ articles and e-books I read had something different: anything from “yes, mention if this is a series” vs. “NO! DON’T SCARE THE AGENT AWAY!” to “write in a professional voice devoid of humor or other personal traits. The writing will speak for itself” vs “They won’t read your writing if your query letter voice is too professional and staid.” and even “only query one agent at a time…even if they’re in separate companies or for separate genres/age levels/pieces” vs “Go ahead and query a bunch of them all at once. Just don’t query people who work together.” (Oh and BONUS – “never say ANYTHING about how long you’ve been writing, because that makes you sound like a newbie” vs “If you’ve been working on this book, or writing in general, for X amount of years, casually slide that into your bio.) I spent a lot of time over the past several months just sighing and shaking my head.

Obviously, Agents are people too and they each will have their own set of wants, needs, desires, and/or dreams for the query process. So I did what I usually do with anything, I took a little from here and from there and I mixed it all together with a solid dash of “I live with Dragons bruh” arrogance (I don’t EVER really use the word ‘bruh’, but it seemed to fit in this instance, the newly minted sixth graders would be proud of me). I even threw in my parents and toddler for good measure…if I’m going down, we’re all going down! (or something like that!) No, seriously, I mentioned them all but, hopefully, for a really great reason. You see, instead of searching out an agent and desperately trying to get them to take me on with my self-published series (which I WILL be trying later…hopefully with the agent I queried today…But my reasoning and choices for that will be an entirely different post) I chose to send in Leonard, with all of his Lemur charm, and described him as a picture book type leveled science/reading reader for k-2 students.

To say I’m excited would be an understatement. I AM EXCITED! I am also terrified, doubtful, and ready to curl up into a tiny little plus sized author ball in an oversized blanket fort with a notebook to dry my cheeks on. This must be what #writerproblems was invented for.

Do you have any stories like this? The joys or woes of finding representation? Questions, comments, or critiques? Is it just a slow day at the office? I LOVE to hear from you!

May your agents and muses be plentiful and your blanket fort well equipped!

Leonard the Lemur

A few years ago I wrote an early elementary book about a little lemur. The lemur’s name was Leonard and he LOVED lighthouses. Now Leonard was raised by a sweet lady who read to him and taught him about all sorts of things, and when he was old enough to move to the zoo she still came to visit him often. I have always loved this book and intended to edit, illustrate, and include lemur and lighthouse facts. However, by the time I finished Stone Dragon 1 and 2 and thought to take a break for Leonard, the old computer had lost most of his story again.

I felt dejected and upset at myself, so I went back to my dragons and tried to remember what I had lost with the lemur. Fast forward 2 years. I am sitting at my desk observing while a classroom full of 22 students takes state tests. Suddenly, a little lemur begins to dance across my mind again. Not to give me the story I had already written, but to show me how it began. So I wrote a new book. A picture book prequel. Leonard the Lemur Who Loves Lighthouses. 

A few days later came the realization that I would have had to re-write the 1st (now 2nd) book anyway, even if it hadn’t been lost, because it is actually TWO books! So Now my illustrator (Mom) is really going to have a load of work to so this summer because there are 3 early literacy (hopefully leveled) readers to get done. Leonard the Lemur Who Loves Lighthouses, Leonard the Lemur Takes a Trip, and Leonard the Lemur Finds His Home.

Each one will come complete with a small section of facts about lemurs, lighthouses, and other animals/areas he encounters during his adventures.

I am SO EXCITED to get this project back up and running again.

I always look forward to hearing what you think. Leave a note and let me know!

May your inspiration lift you up from the mundane and let you dance in the clouds today!

Leonard the Lemur

This is the first little bit of a young readers book that I’ve been working on. I had actually finished the book and compiled a few of the sources for the back pages (I want this to be an educational source on animals for early/emergent reader classrooms) and then my computer lost all but the first little bit. I have recently begun to work on it again and wanted to share what I have so far. Please let me know what you think!

 

Leonard: the Lemur who Loves Lighthouses

Leonard was a lemur.  A ring-tailed lemur to be exact, with a black and white face, a gray body, and a black and white ringed tail that let him swing from the branches of the tree that held his favorite tire swing.

 

Leonard lived in a cozy tree house at the zoo and loved to swing through the branches making faces at all the kids who came to visit him.  But Leonard didn’t just want to stay there, playing all day.  His most secret hope was to go to the ocean and see a real lighthouse.

 

You see, when Leonard was a little lemur he lived with a woman who would read to him every night before bedtime.  They would read books of fairy tales, books about other kinds of animals, and even that other monkey who lived in a city apartment far away from Leonard’s own Oklahoma home, but the books that Leonard liked best of all were the ones that told him about the ocean.  They would read about dolphins, pirates, manatees, even alligators, sharks, and octopi, but Leonard especially loved tales of lighthouses and their keepers.

After a few years, when Leonard had grown up a little bit, the woman who read him books told Leonard some very sad news, she was moving and could no longer keep the little monkey.  Leonard was moved to a wildlife refuge zoo near their hometown, where he had a treehouse filled with sea shells and pictures of lighthouses.