Saturday, November 14, 2009

I'm sorry, Kristin Nelson

Oops... it's been awhile. I vowed to do better after that long blog-holiday during the summer, but I keep forgetting about this little sucker. Especially now that I'm on Twitter. Gosh - it's so exciting over there. Short and to the point. Well... sometimes it's pretty pointless, let's not kid ;)

This past week, while I continue to spit polish the novel, I jumped into the next exciting phase of composing the query letter and synopsis. And of course, the dreaded agent hunt.
And I've a confession... I was so excited to have a piece of work to sell, I prematurely sent out 3 queries before I could really nail the tone of the letter. And, I did it after midnight, completely ignoring my strict rule to NEVER send an email after midnight (it's like drunk dialing, people!)

So... to the agent who rejected me a mere handful of hours after I hit send, I'm sorry you had to see my first lame attempt at a query. I hang my head in shame. I'm sorry for wasting your time. You should have the power to kick someone's butt for doing that.
Same goes for the next 2 agents, btw... 'cause it was only marginally better.

My advice to anyone jumping into the Query Wars: Stop. Wait. Revise. Put it aside then revise again. I know you're itching, I know you think 'This book is IT!', and it just may be, but don't undermine all your hard work by covering it with a hastily written piece of garbage.

I have very mixed feelings about the agent hunt...
Yes, it gets you giddy and hopeful because it means that you actually have a book finished, something you worked hard on, a piece of your heart and soul to present to the world. On the other hand, it also renders you naked and vulnerable.
I liken it to standing in a boxing ring with your hands tied behind your back. You know the blows are coming, you know they're going to hurt. You can't duck, you can only brace yourself and hope it's not a shot to the face, hope that you'll recover before the next punch comes. Because each hit erodes you, your self confidence, your hope, your dream.
YES, you will recover, eventually, and write another book or revise your query and send to the next agent on the list, but in the meantime, you'll feel like shit, eat chocolate and mope.

Back to query revision and chocolate.


Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Woman, holler if you need fresh eyeballs on a query (or anything else, for that matter).

And it may not have been as bad as you think. We're always harder on ourselves after a rejection.

Julia Smith said...

I love your boxing ring analogy. But you're brave to step into the ring. I'll be in your corner with a towel when you need it.

Shelley Munro said...

As Susan said, it's probably not as bad as you think. Good luck with your agent hunt.

M. said...


I'm fresh from a meeting with Claire Delacroix (as she is called on some of her books) in which she heavily encouraged me to query, query, query even if the letter isn't perfect. Along the lines of - more important to convey the general subgenre and flavor than anything else.

So - hmmm.

Wylie Kinson said...

Hey Susan -- no, I wish I could say it were so, but by the light of day, it's truly THAT BAD.
And thank you so much for your offer! I may holler soon :)

Wylie Kinson said...

Julia -- thanks!
Bring a needle and thread... there may be stitches involved.
Ah hell... just bring booze! ;)

Wylie Kinson said...

M. - I dunno... Far be it from me to argue with a published (many times!) author, but why ruin your chance of selling the book you worked so hard on by short-selling yourself with a crapy query letter? Sure,... if you're sending a partial along with it so the agent has the chance to see your stellar writing, well perhaps, but if the query alone is selling you... ack.

Thomma Lyn said...

(((((((((Wylie)))))))))) -- been there, done that, completely understand. I've written some of the most ghastly query letters penned by man or beast, not knowing how truly awful they were until I reread them, knowing that somebody ELSE was gonna read it. ;) ACK!

No way around it, queries are a PITA.

Chocolate definitely helps. And if you need some feedback, shoot your query my way! :)

H & P!

p.s.: wordver: zilableh. Dunno, but the "bleh" part seems to fit well with the topic of Q letters. ;)