I’ve just begun the querying process, and let me tell you something, folks.
In my life, I’ve done a lot of crazy, terrifying things. I’ve gone snowboarding pell-mell down Pepi’s Face in Vail, Colorado when the ice was thicker than a Chicago Pizza crust. I’ve gone whitewater rafting more times than I can count, and have almost drowned twice. I’ve jumped from the top of a waterfall in Kauai, swam with sharks, and drank local rum of dangerously high alcohol content. I’ve eaten out of a taco cart behind a Mercado in Ensenada, Mexico.
I don’t like to brag, but I’m pretty damn hard core.
But when I hit the “send” button on my very first query letter, to my #1 All-Time Favorite Literary Agent? I squealed like a little girl at a Disney Princess parade, and then promptly felt the need to curl into fetal position and throw up simultaneously. That’s how scary I find the possibility of failure. Or success, while we’re at it.
The thing is, we’ve all heard that saying about “Shooting for the moon…ending up among the stars…yada, yada, bleh.” As far as I’m concerned it’s a stupid saying, because either way, you end up asphyxiating in the cold and unfeeling vacuum of space. (The final frontier.)
But let’s ignore the saying and just examine the idea, for just a moment. Why NOT go for the gold on your first shot? Who said you have to play it safe, and tiptoe your way toward your goals one step at a time? Lots of people, actually. But though many have tried to impart the message of caution over the years, not once in my life has anyone referred to me as “cautious” or “sensible.” In fact, it was much more common to hear words such as “precocious,” “reckless,” and “headstrong.” I like to think they were meant in the best possible way.
So when it comes to pursuing the Ultimate Goal, why change it up? Why not shoot for the moon… and see what happens?
(Disclaimer: I highly recommend avoiding the “under the counter” rum if you’re ever in the Caribbean. Learn from me, kids.)