Well I’ve been gone for awhile. I took the first of three summer vacations. Just a quick visit with the parents; long enough to drive me nuts anyway. Now that I’m back and have six weeks before I take my son on his two-week-long college tour through
, I thought I’d write a quick update on my querying. This is a subject I’ve written about a lot. I know many of you fellow writers are going through the same process and have similar thoughts and frustrations as I’ve complained about since last December when I first prepared to send out query letters. California
What a difference six months has made. I was such a newbie back then. So excited and full of optimism. I only queried for about two months then suspended my search while I waited to hear back from the last few agents who had requested partials. Those rejections hit me like a fifty-pound sack of flour right to the face. I suppose it would have made me feel better to have some feedback, but I didn’t get enough concrete criticism to make a difference.
I did, however, keep working on revisions to my manuscript, as well as my query. To date, I have fourteen different query drafts. I think I have used maybe eight of those. I just wrote another one this morning after reading Dystel & Goderich agent Stephanie DeVita’s post regarding the summer slump in good queries. She said “In most of the queries that I read, the writer isn’t giving me the most thrilling aspect of their book, the crucial element that should make me desperate to ask for more pages. In other cases, it’s unclear if that pivotal element is even there.”
This got me thinking that I should cut out all the backstory crap I put into the first paragraph of my query and just get into the nitty gritty angst of the story right up front. So that’s what I did. Just as I’ve done for the last two weeks, I sent out this revised query to five agents. What’s funny and different about this round of querying is my attitude. It’s not that I’m not excited to be querying again, it’s just that I don’t really think about it any more. I’m not obsessed with it.
I used to be tethered to my email after sending out a round of queries. This is because after sending out one of my very first queries, I received an immediate request for a full. Yeah, to a superstar agent, no less, and within ninety minutes of sending it, too. Pretty exciting, as you can imagine. That was my second request for a full. Two months later, the rejection nearly crippled me. (That was the day I had my first-ever shot of tequila. Boy, did I need it.) After that, I received two more requests, both for partials, and both were rejected after a few weeks with little comment. That kind of took the wind out of my sails.
Now, I’m all business about the whole thing. I don’t send out large batches of queries, choosing instead to send out two to five once a week, at most. I have researched and compiled a long list of agents who rep my genre of adult thrillers, and I am slowly nibbling away at the top of that list, but when I send the query, I just more or less forget about it. I look ahead to the next small set I will send out the following week and while I will always remain optimistic, I am also a realist. I can’t put all my hopes and dreams into this process. I can’t get too excited about it any more because it’s just too painful when the inevitable happens, and it will happen.
I’m taking my good friend, Lisa Regan’s advice. I will keep knocking on those doors. There are hundreds of them lined up down a long hallway in front of me. Somewhere in there is the one door with the one agent behind it who will be a match for me. I just have to be patient enough to keep looking.
So…this is me looking. Any agents out there who like a good revenge thriller with a twist? I’m here searching for you. I hope you answer the door when I knock. In the mean time, I jotted down something I heard from one the participants of this season’s So You Think You Can Dance. He said push hard, stay focused and keep your eye on the prize.