I’m constantly making mistakes throughout this book-writing process. I suppose that’s normal when you undertake a project for the first time and have no one to guide you through it. But it’s frustrating, especially when I think about how much time I would have saved had I done everything right the first time.
What am I talking about? Here’s an example. My latest mistake: I wrote my query letter and proposal in the third person.
Since my book is a memoir, it’s obviously written in first person. So why, WHY would I think it was a good idea to write my two supporting documents in third person?!
When this light bulb went off in my head — thanks largely to a new travel-memoir writers support group — I began to rewrite both my query and proposal in first person. And you know what I realized? It’s so much easier! One of the most important aspects of queries and proposals (in my humble opinion — and clearly I don’t know what I’m talking about) is to give the reader a sense of your literary voice, the same voice you’ve got in the book. And I was having a hell of a time (re)finding my voice in my query and proposal. Now I know why. How did I expect to show off my first person voice by writing in third person? When I write in first person, the same way I’ve written my entire manuscript, it’s far easier to sound like me.
When I write my second book, I fully expect it to take half as long, simply because I’ll know what I’m doing.