Monday, October 18, 2010

Waiting for My Next "R"

Querying agents sucks. Makes me begin to doubt my critique partners who said I need to "get it out there." I'm waiting for one more rejection (snail mail) before I feel like I can get my legs underneath me and move on.

I have a new, thricely (or more) revised query letter. To be fair, I think this latest round (okay, a round can be three) of agents didn't have the advantage of the Top-Of-My-Game query. My newest incarnation starts out with a kick. Pretty sure no one would be able to resist asking for a partial at least. Because they didn't get the newest and blingiest, I can't entirely blame them for not seeing the possibility.

Ugh. Anyone want to buy the Brooklyn Bridge?

For some reason, I can handle rejection only in so many numbers. It's easier to say "Next!" when you aren't getting blown down the sewer by fifteen people who (some nice and some not), tell you you're not their cup of tea. My magic threshold seems to be something under six. Three, I can do.

My cheerleader/critique partner/freelance editor, Susan Lohrer, thinks the worst that will happen with my new query letter is that an agent will wonder what else I'm working on and I'll be able to tell him/her that I have this awesome new project . . . and my other cp, author Kelly Irvin, is as bad—or is it good? Sometimes the people who have faith in us become a (loving) thorn in our sides.

In the meantime, I'll keep working on my newest. It's both my anchor and my escape.

CR: The Burning Wire by Jeffery Deaver.

It's all better with friends.


  1. Hang tough, Peg! Email me ( I've got a possible for you.

  2. Ah, Peg, I know how tough it can be, and I'm so sorry it's not easier!! Have you heard anything substantive in the R's? Are they forms? How are you identifying agents--could your CP's possibly work for you? Email me if you want to moan further, or pick my brain (I have been through this a time or two)! I'm sending hugs, support, and wishes for a better!

  3. Thanks for your support, Karen and Jenny.

    As tough as it is, it's still progress of a sort. And the R is one of those things that also pulls us together in kind of a weird community.

  4. When I was in the midst of the query process, I read something on multilevel marketing that said if you have a list of 4 people and one says no, you're devastated because there went 25% of your possibilities, but if you have a list of 100 people, a no is only 1% of your total. (Around that time, I read that Jim Rollins got his agent on his 40th query, another friend on her 60th, and ZEN AND THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE on #101.)

    So I made a spreadsheet of 100 reputable agents who represent my kind of book, their submission requirements, some other authors they represent, and their contact information. I highlighted the first 10 in yellow and sent them out, then highlighted my next 10 in green. As soon as I got a rejection from 1, I changed the highlight for that one to a third color, put in the date and the results, changed the first one on the "green" list to yellow and sent it out, and added a new green. So I always had 10 out and 10 ready to slip into the spot. I told myself by the time I'd queried all 100, I would have my agent (or I'd start a new spreadsheet with 100 more). Fortunately, it didn't come to that! I found my agent in a different way (through Killer Nashville), but somehow going through this process made the wait more bearable.

    If you want a copy to see the process, let me know; I think you have my email address. If not, I'm

  5. Can I just say that opening up about this rejection crap has made me feel seriously blessed?

  6. Yeah, three is my max also. Most times one at a time then polish, polish, polish before trying again. SIGH.

  7. Developing thick skins and testing our optimism. I'm all for that, but at some point I want to shout, "Enough already!"

  8. Oh, my. You have my empathy on this one. Query letters feature in my nightmares. The rejections can be soul-destroyers. But then there's the rare request, and you soar again--until they reject the full. Crash and burn.

  9. The thing is, I've never been much for roller coasters. Ask my husband. I think what happens is that we develop not only thicker skins, but the muscles it requires to bounce back.

    It makes sense to not pay much attention to either end of the spectrum, and I can understand why authors don't read reviews of their books.