If anybody working towards this goal would like query help, or has any questions, feel free to hit me up. I actually really enjoyed the query process, and learned a lot from it that I’d love to pass along. I might do a proper detailed how-to post when I have the time, but yeah, if you just want to consult with somebody who’s been in the trenches and emerged victorious, I’m up for it. 10 months ago
Entries from everyone
This goal is really, really important to me, so I’m putting in a LOT of work to make sure that my manuscript stands the best possible chance of finding representation. Here are the details:
Query Letter and First Five Pages: mostly done. I just entered them in a pitch contest and got an overwhelmingly positive response, even landing myself a few weeks of mentorship from an author. Whatever feedback she gives me on my pitch should hopefully be enough to get these to an agent-worthy quality.
Synopsis: mostly done. I think. I spent a lot of time on this and I’ve gotten some great feedback. If my mentor gives me feedback on it, though, I will happily make changes.
Manuscript: major edits in progress. I know from the feedback I’ve already gotten from the contest that I have a chapter to re-write, and I’ve been actively trying to cut down the word count to make it more “marketable”. It needs more tightening, and another top-to-bottom sweep for excess description.
So progress is slow, bu the feedback I’ve gotten has been incredibly encouraging. I think I’m going in the right direction. 11 months ago
After finishing my 6th draft of my novel and tightening the whole thing up by 13754 words, I sent out another query yesterday.
This one required a query letter, a synopsis, and the first two chapters.
The next one I have on my list requires a query letter and a 3-5 paragraph synopsis. That is awful short. I’m going to have to see what I can do about that. Maybe I can find another agent that requires some things that I have already written, so I won’t need to do some long process before sending out another query. I would like to have more than one out at a time. And I hear the one I’ve got it out to today doesn’t respond unless she’s interested. So in a month, I’ll mark it as closed. But I need to get out there. 14 months ago
Not sending any queries out, but am working on my mss with the full intention of sending it out in a couple of weeks. Even if it is not revised all the way through, I will send out the queries after Labor day.
That probably means I should spend some time researching agents and going over my query letter and synopsis in addition to the revising. 15 months ago
rosymamacitaAfter 2 query rejections and one misfire that I'm sure will be rejected due to not following guidelines
I have decided that I am not quite ready to query yet.
It kills me to say it, since I am so close to being there, but I need to do another edit.
I thought I was ready, but when I sent queries out and I imagined agents and editors reading my words, all of a sudden my perspective on the book changed.
It’s too wordy. It’s too descriptive. It’s not tight enough. There’s too much unnecessary backstory. When I write, I write off of the top of my head without an editor. I don’t craft my phrases. Then I went through it and tried to work on the characters and the story. I truly believe the story and the world and the characters are good, but the writing needed an editors’ eye, which I all of a sudden gained when I realized an agent would be reading it.
And then I knew my sample pages would not do. And that probably goes for the sample chapters and the whole book although I haven’t looked at them yet.
To prove that I need another draft, in the first pass of my sample pages, I got rid of 300 words without even a sweat. That was yesterday. Today I did another pass and got rid of even more for a grand total of 760 words on the cutting room floor. And not only did I NOT lose anything in the cut, but the main character is sharper, the tension is higher, the foreshadowing is clearer, the backstory is more relevant, the plot moves forward in both action and subtext, and it just plain sounds better. Florid description gone, clean precise description remains. I even found a great place to stop my first 5 pages which in my first query was more like 8 pages. And the place appeared a full three paragraphs earlier when I switched out—
I knew it was just a pick up line, but didn’t quite want him to let go of my hand. “Okay,” I said, “give it a try.”
It was just a pick up line, but I didn’t care. “Yes.”
Anyway, the two days of revision made me feel so much better about my sample pages that it is clear to me that I need to revise the whole thing. I am sad that I have to wait, but it is better.
Anyway, it’s august. Everyone is on vacation including my kids. If I take the next month to work on my revision, and that means 2 week while taking care of kids and two weeks without when they go back to school, then I can start sending out again after labor day.
I can do it.
It’s a plan 15 months ago
I whipped up a letter out to an agent I’d been researching, sent it fast before my perfectionism could get a hold of me, and then after I sent it, realize I had researched one agent and personalized it to her, then sent it to the second agent I had been researching. Lesson learned. Keep research separate. Always double check the names, emails, addresses. Keep a query email in draft form and do one last edit a day after I draft it.
dumbkoff. 15 months ago
I am sad to say that my query is not an instant hit. I was still harboring the hope that all professionals who saw my work would instantly fall in love with it and HAVE to have it, but no, I’m the normal story. The writer who keeps on going after rejection
C’est la vie.
So, while I didn’t send out my query again, I did do a bit of research on looking for new agents and I also rewrote my query a bit. Should I have rewritten it? Well, I was already afraid that it was too wordy and perhaps focused too much on the back story and not enough on the main conflict. So I rewrote it. I can’t send it out right now, because i’ve noticed that I need a few days to process it and then I can look at it again and see if it works.
I did some research on the agent end and what they like in their queries. Soon, I would also like to take some time with another revision, because as I’m writing these synopses I am finding some focus on the story itself. 16 months ago
I have butterflies in my tummy.
This guy is known to get back to you with rejections as soon as two days later. It’s good to know, rather than have to wait for who knows how long. But who knows, he asks for partials a lot, too. Probably because he doesn’t want a writing sample with the query. A partial doesn’t mean he wants to represent you, it means he wants to see your writing and judge that.
I am still waiting for the last response to my query sent on Friday. I am not expecting to get a request for my mss. I think there were some awkward phrases in my query letter, but I’m glad I sent it. I really needed to break the seal and just start sending queries out. I am sure that each one will get easier.
I am also waiting for my “Part Wolf” tshirt that I ordered, as a reward for finally sending out my novel query.
But I have much to do while waiting. I have to do my marketing day job, I have to do the 24/7 parenting thing (when is school starting again?) I have to make sure everyone is fed. I have to do another pass on my mss. I have to research the next agent. I have to read books. I have to be a part of a family. I’d like to start blogging again. I have to sleep.
On to the next step. 16 months ago
You wouldn’t believe how long it has taken me to get to this point.
I have been saying “this is the year” for the last 4 years. But, it seems as if this is finally the year.
Well, I mean I don’t know if I will get an agent and get published quite yet, but the point is to get out there and put myself forward so I MIGHT be published. I think I have a better chance than most. I haven’t just been twiddling my thumbs since I decided I wanted to be a novelist 28 years ago. 28 years! I’ve been writing novels for as long as some published authors have been alive. But I’ve learned a lot in those 28 years. I’ve done a lot to improve my craft and my art.
I read a hell of a lot.
I journaled about six feet of books stacked on top of each other.
I’ve studied novels, plays, poetry, non fiction, history, science, philosophy.
I’ve written poetry, stories, prose, blogs, experimental, literary, fantasy science fiction.
I explored other arts, visual, music, performance, even dance… and don’t kid yourself, it all helps.
I got a couple of degrees.
I’ve got about 3 trunk novels that I wouldn’t mind doing something with some day.
Frankly it was really hard to get the one novel into a state where I felt comfortable sending it out. Even so, I am now looking at it, thinking it’s too wordy and needs to be tightened.
I researched agents and publishers, formats, how tos.
I wrote a million different versions of my synopsis and query letter.
And finally, I composed an email to an agent I’ve been semi-stalking for the last few years.
When it came down to it, I was too chicken to press send and I had my 6 year old daughter do it for me.
Then I went and bought me a t-shirt online as a reward for accomplishing something I’ve been wanting for the last 18 years since i wrote the first draft of my first novel. The t-shirt says “Part Wolf” which is fitting because the novel is about a young woman who finds out that she is a human/werewolf hybrid, a member of a group that has to live in hiding or be killed on the spot. Tee hee. Part wolf. I love me some urban fantasy.
Maybe I shouldn’t have gone to grad school and started teaching and then went off to have a couple of kids. But if I hadn’t done that, then would I have been the same person who was able to write this book? I think all those years helped me become grounded and to recognize who I was and come back to the things I love.
Anyway. I feel like I’ve accomplished something. I’m going to send out another query, or maybe a few, by monday, so I will always have the possibility of someone saying yes. I started the next query, personalizing it according to the agent. I’ve heard that he sends rejections in about 2 days, so if it’s a no, it will be nice to move on to the next one.
But what if it’s a yes? 16 months ago
Researched some agents and made a list of 7 agents. Made some notes on why I want to send to them, ranging from I’ve been stalking them for years to they are looking for the exact literary themes that are in my book, to they love a half dozen of my most favorite authors, to they are latina and lived in the bronx. How many latina authors are writing urban fantasy?
And by the way, I need to take advantage of the kind of writing that is in style. It just so happens it what I am writing. They are ALL looking for my genre. Well not all, but loads of them. Sometimes I am gobsmacked that the world has caught up to my geeky obsession with fantasy.
I can do this. 18 months ago