[Wyrd Words Weekly] Is my manuscript ready to pitch?

Hello Reader,

Before we dive in...help me answer a question that's been on my mind.

Don't stress, I promise, this is an easy one. Just hit Reply and let me know your answer (hint: there are no wrong answers here!).

What does wyrd mean?

a. Weird

b. Word

c. Fate/Destiny

d. Don't know/don't care, sounds cool tho!

e. Too weird for me...Not approachable!

Go ahead, I'll wait...And don't worry that you're hurting my feelings. I wouldn't ask if I didn't want to know. We're all truth-tellers here...

Thanks a million! I promise I'll tell you more about why I'm asking after I hear back from you.

Last week, I shared my "Do You Need a Prologue?" test. But I also mentioned another question writers ask me all the time, one that's both harder to answer and more likely to lead to writerly disappointment:

Is my manuscript ready to query?

This is one of the toughest questions authors face because it requires looking at your story with objectivity, with distance. And that's the last thing we probably have after spending months or years writing and revising the book of our heart, right?

But querying too early, while a very, very common occurrence, can really crush your dreams. It can lead to crickets in your inbox, rejections from your dream agent, and ultimately cause you to lose confidence in yourself and your writing.

I wrote my first novel in 2001-2002 and I completely 100% pantsed it. No outline, no work on plot structure or character arc, no plan of any kind. And the second I finished a quick proofread, I started sending it out to every friend, writer, and, *gasp* agent I knew. That was back in the days when you had to mail paper queries, thank goodness, or I might have sent out a hundred queries before I realized that my manuscript was absolutely in no way ready to query. And that process was made longer by the fact that I got some agent requests--even back then, I was good at writing queries...apparently my greatest super power!

Most writers have a story like this from their first novel. Mine is permanently in the trunk (and I'm 100% OK with that). But if you're writing the story of your heart and don't want it to end up in a trunk, I want to help you answer this all important question so you can query with confidence when the time comes.

So if you've been following along here as you revise your novel and think you're getting close, but would like to be sure, click here--I have something I created just for writers like you that's launching later this month and I'd love to tell you about it over the next few weeks.

Fantasy Writers' Week is Coming Up!

I'm thrilled to be participating in ProWritingAid's Fantasy Writers Week later this month. I'll be talking about character archetypes, one of my favorite topics, on April 25 at 9am Pacific. Registration is open and there's so much great free content for writers. Check it out!

What I'm Reading

It's spring break next week, but I'm taking a critique partner's amazing MG fantasy manuscript with me on my travels. So I read my vacation read this week and it did not disappoint!

This set of Amazon Original Stories is so cute and has stories from some of my favorite romance writers, including the inimitable Jasmine Guillory, Christina Lauren, Ashley Boston, and more.

I'm always studying short story craft because I believe it helps my novel writing. So getting to dig into these smart, sexy, shorts was a nice reprieve during a hectic week.

Hope to see at Fantasy Writers Week and beyond!

Wyrdly yours,


PS - If you didn't chime in on my pop quiz earlier, there's still time. Just hit Reply and let me know what you think:

What does wyrd mean?

a. Weird

b. Word

c. Fate/Destiny

d. Don't know/don't care, sounds cool tho!

e. Too weird for me...Not approachable!

Julie Artz | author, editor, book coach, dragon

Julie Artz works with both award-winning and newer authors across the publishing spectrum from Big Five to small and university presses to indie and hybrid. She is an Author Accelerator-certified Founding Book Coach, a sought-after speaker and writing instructor, and a regular contributor to Jane Friedman and Writers Helping Writers, and a regular instructor for AuthorsPublish, IWWG, ProWritingAid and more. Her work as a Pitch Wars and Teen Pit mentor, a former SCBWI Regional Advisor (WWA), and her memberships in The EFA, the WFWA, AWP, and the Authors Guild keep her industry knowledge sharp. A consummate social and environmental justice minded story geek, Julie lives in an enchanted forest outside of Redmond, Washington, with her husband, two strong-willed teenagers (when they’re not off at university!), and two naughty furry familiars. She’s built a thriving book coaching business based on her values, her editing chops, and her knowledge of story. Check out her weekly newsletter, Wyrd Words Weekly, and subscribe today.

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