Tags: query


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I knew I should have saved those links!

So, awhile ago a bunch of authors did this thing where they posted their own successful query letters and discussed them. It was a response to some authors doing the same thing for synopses, I think, and that's what I need right now. Synopsis writing advice. I've only written one other, and was never very pleased with how it turned out. I've had a request for a synopsis for Nemesis, which, you know, I really should have as I'm sure this won't be the only time I need to have one. Some agents specifically request a synopsis with the query, and most who request partials DO request one.

Did any other writers on my f-list happen to link to some of those synopsis posting authors? I could use all the help I can get.

(no subject)

Query writing sucks. No matter how many times I try, it never gets any better!

The latest query hook for Nemesis behind the cut. Weak, and this is the best I've come up with after more than an hour.

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Just shoot me now. Ugh.

(no subject)

Agent Nathan Bransford has a hilarious (and informative) post up today about how personalizing one's query does not in fact equate to kissing up to an agent or editor.


"Perhaps the stress of the query process leads people to feel more sensitive to slights, real or perceived. Totally understand that. But anyone deliberately not personalizing is shooting their query in the foot, and then stomping on it and telling the query it was actually left in a bundle by the stork and its real parents are trolls from another planet.

Personalizing is not kissing up."

He then proceeds with a kiss-up-o-meter, by which he rates various personalizations with how much they equate kissing up, on a scale of 1/10. If you ever wondered what it meant to personalize your query letter, go read this and get some good ideas. Yes, this is indeed how it is done. Personally, I consider it only polite to let an agent know, however subtly or bluntly you wish, that yes, you are querying them as a specific person and not just sending blanket queries to every name in Publisher's Marketplace.

(no subject)

I've queried a lot of agents over the past year, and pitched to several in person in the year before that. I've learned a lot in the process. My "top ten" list of agents I think I'd like/love to work with has shuffled occasionally, as you learn more about people when you deal with them personally, than what you can read in Publisher's Marketplace.

Today, the agent who has a full of Nemesis on her desk very courteously let me know she's running a bit behind on reading, but she's still got my book in the queue. I had not e-mailed her asking for an update, and yet she took time out of what must be a super-busy schedule to shoot me an e-mail and let me know.

That's the first time that's ever happened to me.

I've had to send status checks multiple times in the past, which I don't necessarily mind. Everyone gets busy, and agents and editors have thousands of pages of words to read at any given time, in addition to all the other work their jobs entail. They define "busy". But there are a couple I won't query again, due to a complete lack of response/communication. Heck, there is one agent who's had a requested full manuscript for almost two years, and I have still heard nothing back. Oh, sure, in the first year I sent status checks, and she let me know she was "still getting to it". I have long since written that one off, and will not be querying her again. Not because I'm mad, exactly, but because I don't want to work with someone I have to fight to exchange simple communications with.

I might not not know much about the agent/author relationship yet, not having had one, but this agent taking the initiative to e-mail me a status update when she totally didn't have to completely impressed me. You always hope a prospective agent loves your work, but now I'm hoping she loves Nemesis, not just for the sake of "I want an agent to love my novel", but also because "wow, I think I would really love working with this person."

(no subject)

I had this strange dream last night about rejection. *shakes head* If I'm going to dream about the writing/query/publishing process, can't I at least dream about acceptance? Okay, so this was a good rejection, in that it was personalized with all kinds of good things to say (except for length - apparently my subconscious is still concerned about wordcount) but still - let's dream about acceptance, brain, kay?

Some interesting publishing links this morning:

Bookends agent Jessica Faust talks about how agents get paid to pester, what to expect from an agent in this regard, and how to communicate with your agent.

Editor Paula Guran defines the urban fantasy genre, and discusses its history and roots.

Agent Janet Reid talks about why you should make more mistakes, not less.
handbasket - marinarusalka

Query/Writing update

I haven't blogged about the query saga in awhile. Yesterday, in the wake of my birthday-induced flash of self pity, I sent out three new queries. (The best possible cure for rejection/unpublished writer blues, is to send out more queries/submissions.) One came back today as a rejection, and I immediately sent out another new query to replace it, along with two more.

This brings my total number of 'queries sent' up to 28. Of those:

4 have been non-responses, from agents who normally respond even with rejection, so I'm guessing the agents in question never saw them, ie, the query got gobbled up by internet poltergeists.

1 was a partial request (later rejected)

2 have been personalized rejections (which were almost more hopeful than the partial request, believe it or not.)

15 have been rejections, and

6 are still in the wind, awaiting responses still within the usual response time

I admit, some days these numbers get me down. And others, I boggle that other writers out there have sent nigh unto 100 queries for the same project. I'm marveling that I've almost reached 30. And, as work on the space pirates continues (officially passed what I believe to be the book's halfway point today), I begin to worry more about how I'm going to query it in the future, than the queries still out there for Dark Vision. I don't mean that to sound in any way against DV - I still firmly believe it should be published, that it's good enough to be published, and that one day, it will be. Maybe one of the agents currently being queried will fall in love with it. And maybe someday, when I have an agent because of Nemesis (or something else, but hopefully for space pirates) I'll be able to pitch DV to them as well.

In any case, some days it's easier to take rejection in stride. And others, it's like chewing broken glass. I was reading a thread on a writing forum today that was basically "getting an agent - success stories" - and I read two or three back to back that went something like:

"I finished my novel, revised it, made a list of my top agent picks, and sent out twelve queries. Within twenty-four hours, I had nine partial requests, six of which turned into requests for a full, and then my Dream Agent made an offer of representation, followed quickly by three more offers...." and I had to stop reading the thread, because seriously, while I was happy for these three people, reading their stories was not so much inspiring, as it was utterly deflating. Nevermind that their experiences are not the norm. Many, many more authors experience hundreds, if not thousands, of rejections before being made any sort of offer, from either an agent or an editor. Reading these, I had to forcibly remind myself of that. One even had the very cavalier attitude of "I don't understand this whole idea that landing an agent is hard..." That was actually the one that broke me. Time to step away from inspirational stories and go search agentquery for more agents to, you know, query.

Also, now that I've broken 45,000 words, time to reach for 50K.


Mad libs!

Er...maybe I should think twice about posting these sorts of things now that a couple of agents/editors have me friended? I have this urge to say "Don't read this, when the query gets sent to you, it will look NOTHING like this!" Hmm. Ah, well. Mad libs are supposed to be fun(ny).

Agent Nathan Bransford posted an interesting query mad lib thing in his blog today. I thought "huh, that's not a bad starting point for a query". So I copied the mad lib into a word doc, and plugged my WIP into the blanks.

And made myself laugh out loud at my keyboard.

The book isn't funny (overall - I always like to add in occasional character humor. It breaks up the tension and stress the characters are almost constantly under) so I need to come up with a way of wording this that removes the really wrong funny phrasing. (Have I mentioned lately, how much I hate and detest query writing?) Before sending the query to agents!

I just really need to avoid at all costs the phrase 'telepathic space pirates', and all will be well. You know, like "But when Mercy's ship is taken by telepathic space pirates..." Yeah. Just NO. Even if it did make me chuckle.

Blah, blah, Monday, blah

With all the fandom and jewelry talk around here, I haven't talked much about the writing/query process lately.

I'm starting my Monday morning with another round of queries. It's been about a month since the last round, so it's past time. Of the four I sent in February, I have yet to hear back from three, and one was a personal rejection. And this week I'm back at work on the space pirates book. Which, hey, will be much easier to query since I'll have a whole list of agents already compiled! LOL. Though I'm not looking forward to the whole "write the query and synopsis" portion of things again.

I am having a hard time waking up this morning, ugh. We're dogsitting the in-laws' cocker spaniel for the week, and two restless dogs does not make for a restful night's sleep. AT ALL. (On a side note, sometimes my husband drives me absolutely nuts, seriously. Yes, the dogs kept us up from about 3:00am on - this is not my fault! And I'm the one that had to get up ahnd go in to work today. Also, it is possible to look in our kitchen and find actual food to eat without calling me at work and asking "What is there to eat?" I know he survived as a bachelor long before he dated/married me, so the man isn't completely incompetent in the kitchen. Sometimes it's nice to feel needed, and other times it's just annoying. ::rolls eyes::)

Hmm, since I seem to have a complete lack of interesting content this morning, here are the earrings I made and listed this weekend:

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So, my new query letter seems to be successful, at least so far.  One of the three agents I've queried since revising it sent me a personal rejection today, and it was very nice.  Basically, she said she liked my sample pages, but wasn't quite as excited about them as she had hoped to be, and so she's passing. 

Even though they're rejections, the personal rejections really make me excited.  I take them to mean "close...but not quite there".  They make me want to turn around and query these agents again with Nemesis, or McClairen's book.  I just need to get them finished.  A little added incentive. :)

blah blah writing, blah blah rejection

A new query rejection today. Hmm, these have become almost so regular an occurrence as to be not worth reporting. This means I have to find a new agent to send to. Urgh. And done. Heck, maybe I'll find another one and send two, just because.

Also, because I finally feel my query is in its final form. I don't how else I could revise it, when the hook is down to less than a hundred words.

In the encouraging-and-uplifting vein, though, I was messing about Jim Butcher's website today (reading sample chapters of Small Favor), and I stumbled across his "how I got published" post. Now, I've had the pleasure of hearing this story from Jim himself, and it's more entertaining in person, but the written version is well worth a read. I often encapsulate the verbal story to fellow writers when this brutal gauntlet of finding an agent and reaching publication gets them down, and I think back on it myself during the same down moments. So today I found this, I read it even though I'm familiar with the story, and it did the trick of making me smile and lifting my writerly spirits.

Things to remember: authors I love, who write books I love, had those very books rejected many times before ever being accepted. Particularly telling was the story of the agent who rejected Harry Dresden, then two months later offered Jim representation for the very same project she'd rejected. The difference? She'd met him in person.

Note to self: must get to more writer cons.

In the meantime, dig up a new agent to query.

Oh, yes, and words truly cannot express how much I am looking forward to Supernatural tonight. YAY! boys.