REMINDER: Free giveaway of MY FRESHMAN YEAR AND OTHER UNNATURAL DISASTERS to a random commenter or tweeter who shares an embarrassing moment. Either leave a comment in the blog or tweet to @WriterLibrarian with the hashtag #FrYrDisasters.

The hardest part of the query process is not figuring out how many queries to write, or finding who to write them to, or even composing a synopsis or pitch. No, the hardest part is this: How to stand out among the deluge of writers trying to get published.

Agents receive hundreds of queries a month, and thousands a year. And that doesn’t include the inquiries publishers get. I liken this to the large crowds at Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear– Stewart and Colbert are the publishers and agents, while we aspiring writers are in the massive crowd, each one raising a hand and trying to be noticed.

Some people do strange things to get attention. You know, the idiot who paints himself blue, streaks across the lawn, and makes everyone else look bad. (See examples herehere, and here). But despite all that, agents are still taking on new clients and publishing houses are still signing new authors. So there’s hope.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any easy solutions to standing out, other than what most aspiring writers are doing already: building an online platform, putting their work out there, and figuring out the best way to market their material.

But most importantly, above all these things, we must remember keep writing. There’s a great quote, and I forgot who said it, but it goes something like this: “There’s a word for a writer who doesn’t quit writing: Published.”

What different things have you tried to stand out? Have any of them worked?

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