And the Blind Shall See

If I had known that I was going to attend Sara Megibow's Writer's Digest webinar today, I would have posted earlier. It was a last minute decision1, and boy am I glad I attended.

It was a seminar on querying. I have attended such a seminar before hosted by her boss, Kristin Nelson. That seminar was geared specifically for sff. I've also followed Kristin's blog for YEARS, so I've heard a lot from the Nelson Agency about what makes a good query. So why did I attend? Because I continue to suck at queries.

Actually, at first, I asked Sara on Twitter whether I would get anything new from the presentation. And while she admitted that their philosophy on queries is pretty similar, there was one fundamental point I was short-selling: Sara isn't Kristin.

It has to be hard for an associate agent to work for a popular and established agent. How easy must it be to assume she parrot's Kristin's opinions or is the "second" option at the agency. Attend a webinar hosted by Sara, and you'll have that misconception dispelled. I will go so far as to say I learned MORE from Sara's presentation (which wasn't geared specifically to sff) than I did from Kristin's.

The part that resonated with me the most is when she took examples of debut authors and showed us how she took their query letters and formulated her pitch to editors2. That made a REALLY big difference in how I see queries and how I will approach them in the future. I rewrote the query for JH but am waiting for the audio archive to become available and listen a second time before I finalize things. It feels like there's a hole in the middle, which probably means it's perfect.

Now, if you're counting pennies and this kind of topic doesn't seem worth the expense, I will also point out that the webinar ends with a QA session3 and then you get to submit your query to Sara for critique. This is like a free swing. Here's my query. *feedback* Okay, here's my revised query, no harm no foul!4 I have heard from other people that sometimes the expense is enough for this fact alone. Basically they're buying a query critique and the rest is just icing.

For me, querying truly is my biggest weakness5. I want to improve and I feel that I have. Looking back at previous queries, I definitely have. *shudder*

If this sounds like something that may be helpful to you or if you've been on the fence about this kind of thing, I strongly recommend it.

1 Okay, technically it was a last sixty minutes decision. I went and grabbed lunch and then came back and participated.

2 She even spoiled Roni Loren's big reveal of her new cover. I know a secret!2 1/2

2 1/2 A secret until tomorrow when Roni reveals her new cover.

3 Sara saw a question I submitted and said hi to me. I squeed like a tween fangirl. :D

4 The query I submitted after Kristin's webinar led to the closest I've been to signing an agent.

5 Shut up, Liz! I like my pacing just fine.