Author In Training, How To Eat an Elephant, Uncategorized, Virginia Pillars

How to Eat an Elephant, Part 3

Hello, readers.

Still wanting to eat that proverbial elephant one bite at a time?

Ready, set, chew.

What’s a book query?

After I attended my first writing conference, the terms book query, book proposal, and all the other words that sounded like a foreign language to me spun in my head. I thought, “I can’t do this! Where do I begin?”

Besides walking out of there with a huge pair of size 16 cold feet, cold feetI also left there with a long list of like-minded people. Others who shared my interest in writing, in living their faith, and in helping others along their own way. And so I dug my chilled feet in and set my mind to learn.

I picked up books on writing. I surfed websites that talked about writing. I read blogs on the subject. I decided to go to school and start in preschool. Over the next months, I gradually moved through grade school and began to submit small articles and essays to publication. When I was met with success, I moved on the extra homework – the book query and book proposals.

I discovered a book query consists of a one-page letter to an agent (someone you want to represent you and help you sell your book), or an acquisition editor (the person who decides if the publishing house where they work wants to see more work.)

I spent quite a few hours writing my one-page, 12-point, Times New Roman font letter with a brief summary of the book, why there was a need for such a book, and why I felt qualified to write it.Zim 326 One friend I met at the conference took me under her wing.
“Send me a copy so I can read it first and give you feedback,” she wrote to me.

What a friend!

Next, I tackled the book proposal. What’s a book proposal?

I went to a website and read what a much more experienced writer than myself had written on the subject. And then I began.

My friend, the one who looked over my book query, also guided me along this part of my journey. She actually she shared some book proposals she had written so I could read an actual copy of one. This helped me beyond words. I spent the better part of a month working on the proposal. Basically, it was a business plan for the book I wanted to write.

Because my book is nonfiction, it didn’t have to be completed during this part of the process. I had a small chunk written, but nowhere near finished. So, for the proposal, I wrote an outline and chapter summaries with my plans to finish the book. It all seemedZim 341  so far away.

Once the query and the proposal passed quality control for both my friend and me, I sent it to a publishing house. And waited. And held my breath. And swallowed another bite of the elephant.


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