A word about all the rain in Dallas. This time of year, drought is usually the problem--not flooding. Usually when I see the Trinity River in the spring, the water is so low, you could cross the riverbed without getting your feet wet.
Today the Trinity was at 38.64 feet, closing in on the 39-foot flood level.
Average annual rainfall in Dallas is about 34 inches. It is not even the end of June, and we've already surpassed that figure. In fact, we are only 3/4 of an inch from the wettest June on record for Dallas.
On tonight's news, they showed a homeowner whose backyard is so saturated with water that his in-ground swimming pool is being forced upward and outward from the ground.
Every day, Dallas County Public Works trucks are in my neighborhood to cart off the trees that are toppling over because they've become so top heavy.
And the forecast is for more rain for the next few days. Pray for us.
I received an email from a newbie writer last night. The manuscript for his novel is complete; he's ready to start querying agents. He's been reading advice on writing a good query letter, and complained because of the conflicting information he's getting.
His question to me: "How important is it that I include marketing info with my letter?"
Before I start, let me include the usual disclaimer. What follows is my opinion and worth what you've paid for it ;)
I believe the confusion on the issue of "marketing" is attributable to the difference between fiction queries and non-fiction queries.
When you check a literary agent's website, you'll generally find a list of the genres that agent represents. Agents KNOW the fiction markets they represent. It's not likely that you'll be able to tell them anything new about those markets. I always figured I'd be embarrassing myself by trying to tell the agents I was querying about their business.
On the flip side, non-fiction books are generally written by experts in specific fields. A psychologist writes a self-help book on self-esteem. A retired army major writes about military strategy. A chef writes a book of recipes. A real estate salesman writes about the top tricks of the trade for selling a house.
It's unlikely that any one agent will know the details of all those markets. For this reason, books on preparing a non-fiction proposal usually suggest that the writer include information on the potential market for the book. That means data on the size of the market as well as on the number of competing books available.
While I'm on the subject, there are other differences between fiction and non-fiction queries.
A first-time author should have finished his/her novel before querying it. However, non-fiction books are often sold on the basis of a proposal that includes a couple of sample chapters and the outline for the rest.