Since I've gotten feedback on my YA novel, I've changed the title, the opening scene, and the tense that the novel's written in. I'm curious to know how the rewrite flies, so I'm going to submit and see how well it fares.
The rest of the novel still needs some tweaks, but it's pretty solid. This contest gives me the opportunity to give my novel (at least the first 150-200 words) a test drive before I do the serious agent querying.
The query is another thing I worked on during my hiatus. I've completely rewritten it at least a dozen times. Getting feedback on my YA novel really helped me articulate what the novel is about and now I'm pretty happy with the query. I think newbie writers are so anxious to get their manuscript out there that they don't spend the time working on their queries.
For me, getting that feedback was essential to writing my query. And I plan to get feedback on the query before I send it out, too. Because I get so close to the project that sometimes I don't see what others see. So my advice for writing a query:
- Take a step back.
- Have others read it.
- Repeat as necessary.