I haven’t given birth but I’m pretty sure it can’t be as painful as writing a query for literary agents.
Trying to condense 100,000 words into 250 is hard enough, but you know what doesn’t help? The pressure. The well-meaning advice articles kindly explaining that agents don’t buy toilet paper because they print and use the 10,000 awful queries they get a week–but not before they’ve posted them on their Secret Agent Groups and laughed at you and your pathetic dreams of being a writer.
The worst thing of all? The pressure is completely unnecessary. Queries don’t have to be perfect. They have one job: to make the agent want to read your pages. A typo isn’t going to spoil that (psst, here’s a secret; agents make typos too). Not perfectly explaining all of your sub-plots is not going to spoil that. Sending it just after the agent realises she’s bought a decaff coffee instead of a regular isn’t… actually, it might. Agents really do take coffee seriously.
But, really, QUERIES DO NOT HAVE TO BE PERFECT.
To prove it, I’m sharing my less-than-perfect query; the one that landed me my fabulous agents, Amanda and Michelle, with Amanda’s comments on why it did its job. (Psst: If you want to query Amanda, check out that link.)