Last month I wrote a series on How to Prepare to Write a Novel, and I missed an important step that was very helpful to me:
Write your query before your book.
Last year, I had so much trouble writing a query for Sacred Fire that I'm not going to post links to all the blog articles I wrote on that topic. Just run a search for "query" and you'll see how much of a pain it was. People kept asking me, "What's your book's focus? What is your book about?"
It was so frustrating! I came to realize that my book wasn't as focused as it needed to be to fit onto one page. It was about so many things that it wasn't about anything. Writing my query helped me revise my book because it showed me what was really important and what needed to take a backseat.
To save myself a lot of heart ache, I wrote the query for Fierce first. It's rough and hasn't been critiqued yet, but other than that, I'm pretty happy with it. You can read it here.
A pitch is like a one-sentence query. (And you thought summarizing your book in one page was hard!) I do not have a pitch for my book yet, and I need to get one. It'll be like a stake when storms rage and my tent is flapping in the wind.