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Introducing a new writing tool from the maker of QueryTracker. Learn More...

Success Story Interview - CL Polk

An Interview with CL Polk (CLPolk on QT) upon receiving an offer of representation from agent Caitlin McDonald of Donald Maass Literary Agency.


QT: Can you tell us a little bit about the book for which you've found representation? What inspired you to write it?
CL Polk:
Witchmark is the story of a man who faked his death so he could continue practicing medicine at a cash-strapped veteran’s hospital. When a fatally poisoned patient exposes the doctor’s secret healing powers, he must put his anonymity and freedom at risk to investigate his patient’s murder. It's to be published by in 2018.
QT: How long have you been writing?
CL Polk:
Honestly, I don't know. I know I wrote a story in fourth grade. My teacher crossed out all instances of the words "walked" and "said" in favor of fancier ones, and I recall being offended by that. Off and on since then? last serious surge in 2014?
QT: How long have you been working on this book?
CL Polk:
I started the first draft of this book in the fall of 2014.
QT: Was there ever a time you felt like giving up, and what helped you to stay on course?
CL Polk:
I was getting close to the point where I thought I was going to have to put this book on the shelf and try something else.
QT: Is this your first book?
CL Polk:
It's the first book I wrote with the intent of seeking publication. I wrote other novel length works, but that was just for fun.
QT: Do you have any formal writing training?
CL Polk:
No, I don't.
QT: Do you follow a writing routine or schedule?
CL Polk:
I work in the morning. I say I can take weekends off, but I don't.
QT: How many times did you re-write/edit your book?
CL Polk:
I really don't know. At least three times, but i never really stopped fussing with it.
QT: Did you have beta readers for your book?
CL Polk:
Yes. I shared my manuscript with a few people.
QT: Did you outline your book, or do you write from the hip?
CL Polk:
I write outlines in loving detail, and then my characters set them on fire.
QT: How long have you been querying for this book? Other books?
CL Polk:
I started querying in Feb 2016, and signed with my agent in September 2016.
QT: About how many query letters did you send out for this book?
CL Polk:
I sent 42. I withdrew the submission from about 18 agents when I signed.
QT: On what criteria did you select the agents you queried?
CL Polk:
I searched by genre, then I went looking at websites and interviews. sometimes I even found an agent's clients.
QT: Did you tailor each query to the specific agent, and if so, how?
CL Polk:
Not really? I had a basic query letter, and if I had any previous interaction with them on twitter I would mention it, but otherwise I kept it simple.
QT: What advice would you give other writers seeking agents?
CL Polk:
Do participate in pitch parties and mentor contests on twitter. I believe they played a part in my success in signing an agent.