Thursday, March 19, 2009

To Query or Not To Query (aka: 1st person POV vs 3rd person POV)

For the last several days, er, weeks is more like it, I have been working on my query letter. I've come to the decision that anyone can write a book. Whether it is a good book is another story, but lo, anyone can write a book. The kicker is, how good of a query letter writer are you?

Me? Well, this is my 2nd go around on the writing a query for a novel thing. My first query I don't think I put enough effort behind, I was possibly just too excited for the whole thought. Countless rejections later (actually 13 to be exact), I have found that perhaps I jumped the gun a bit in the beginning.

So now, new novel, new query. I'm currently on version 13 of this query. And I'm still not sure I feel "good." (Definition of "good" in this case is "like this is absolutely, positively the best query letter I've written for this novel.") Here is my dilemma: 1st person vs 3rd person.

When I started drafting letters, I wrote a query letter in 3rd person, as is customary. Feedback I received: it's a little weak (with suggestions on how to improve). I wrote a query letter in 1st person, despite reading a lot of advice against that. Feedback I received: stronger, "it had a voice" (still with suggestions on how to improve). The comment about it having a voice really stuck with me, because I know that is what a lot of agents look for.

In a fit of uncertainty, I posted a hybrid of my 1st/3rd person query here. The comments, though there were only 2 to date, have given me fantastic insight into how the query reads on both the 1st person POV and the 3rd person POV sections. (I have to say, the reference to Sarah Dessen is going into my scrapbook of feedback because I am a huge fan!)

So as the saying goes, I'm heading back to the drawing board, er, notepad and pen, er, computer keyboard. It's a lot easier to delete, cut & paste and it doesn't make my hand hurt as much.

What about you? Thoughts on 1st person vs 3rd person POV, in queries and in general?

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