There are many categories of fear along this winding road to publication. Fear of not being good enough, fear of sharing your work with others, fear of no one liking your story, but once you get through those psychological hoops, there are new fears. The greatest, to me, is the fear of rejection.
But we can't be rejected until we submit, which brings me to the demons that are the first pages and the query letter.
*Ding!* Let the fight begin.
In this corner...
We obsess over the 250 words in our query, spending hours, days (weeks?) perfecting it. Is the voice right? Do I put my comparable titles at the beginning or end? What if I don't have any personal information to add? What's the formula? We freak out, and fear sinks its claws into our minds. We need that page to shine, so that every agent asks for more.
In the other corner...
Once we get a request, fear is back. The agent wants to see ten, thirty, fifty pages, maybe even the full MS, but they'll stop reading as soon as we give them a reason. That means the first page must sparkle like a *insert your favorite clique here*. Every word has to propel that agent to the next and the next, so that they're never ABLE to stop reading. Pressure? You bet! Fear? No doubt.
So, who wins this fight? Which of these deadly creatures strikes more fear into your heart of hearts? Anyone interested in a First Pages Blogfest? ;)