Query <– truly a sad and lonely word

I was going to comment on Anne Frasier’s blog, but it ran too long. This is my unpublished-writer’s version of this post.

I use UPS in my day job. I send deposition transcripts out to lawyers, and I need to be able to track that the packages have been received. So I get an email from UPS when each of my shipments is delivered.

So I decided to query on my new novel. I’ve been working on it for almost/around a year (note to self: in future, mark on calendar the day you start a new book). But a year in aspiring novelist time is not the same as a year in real novelist time. There’s that other, at-least-40-hour-a-week job taking up the hours.

It’s good. And it could use one more run-through before it’s wonderful. Or am I making the perfect the enemy of the good? (hate that phrase)

Agents take forever to respond. And the first 30 pages of the book are what they are going to be. They really are ready for an editor. Why not start sending out the queries now? I can continue buffing up the rest of it while waiting for the rejection letters.

(insert pithy comment about positive thinking here)

I’ve done my agent search. I’ve found an agent who seems just right. She’s not a super agent. She hasn’t done any really good deals, according to Publishers Marketplace, which puts a crimp in my dreams of JKRowlinghood. However, she’s got a nice group of romance authors. In fact, one of her authors is one of my favorites. She has given interviews on the web, and seems like a genuinely pleasant, intelligent, sensitive person.

I go to her website and read the guidelines. I write a blankety-blank synopsis. It takes days. It’s okay, but it ain’t litercher. I look at her guide to a query letter and write mine, making sure to put in the elements listed there. I print it all out with the requisite number of pages from the ms.

I put it in a nice 10 x 13 white envelope and add it to the deposition transcripts going out that day. Two days later, I get the email confirmation that the query package has been delivered.

I happen to be on Twitter, and the agent happens to tweat an amusing comment about a query she’s just read. No one in the world would know from that comment who the query was from.

Except the person who wrote the query.

I love writing. I hate publishing.


5 Responses to “Query <– truly a sad and lonely word”

  1. Anne Frasier Says:

    I’m appalled. That kind of behavior is truly unacceptable. I’m shocked by the things a lot of agents tweet. It is not okay to tweet about query letters. It’s not okay for an agent to send my query to 20 or 30 of her agent friends without my permission. (I had an agent do this.) I kind of blame ms snark for opening a floodgate of nastiness and public humiliation that seems to be accepted and applauded by writers (that’s the most disturbing aspect of it.)

  2. missfiddyment Says:

    That’s a good point about Ms. Snark.

    Sending your query to other agents? Now that is appalling!

    There was nothing vicious or even wrong about the tweet I referenced. It was just thoughtless on her part. It’s a kind of dark humor, like ER doctors assume, I think agents take on to distance themselves from the overwhelming numbers of queries they receive.

    Doesn’t mean it’s any fun to be on my side of the transaction.

  3. SM Blooding Says:

    Agents post comments about queries so that everyone can learn something. I’ve been querying for…oh, a year or so and I’m still learning things. Are they always nice? No. Do they need to be? Please no. I would much rather they be frank and honest.

    Getting and being published is not for everyone. Seasoned writers have an extremely thick skin. We have to. This is a “kick me” kind of gig. When they see an agent comment on their query (like me, the other day) I have a VERY brief “doh” moment and then I squeal, check my in-box, search for the rejection letter. If it isn’t there, I know that he/she’s read it and is still thinking about it.

    I still haven’t heard back from a certain agent who’s NAME I spelled wrong. He didn’t tweat about it, but, uh, it was talked about. *nods sagely*

    It’s a learning experience. It’s a growing experience. If it makes you sick to your stomach, then take a step back and reassess. Writing isn’t always just so you can be published. At the heart of it all, writing has to be because it’s fun.

  4. Lynne Says:

    I have a big problem with agents blabbing on Twitter and virtually rolling their eyes over queries. It’s just soooo juvenile, and I also see it as a business confidentiality issue. I flat out will not query agents who act like junior high school nitwits on the ‘net.

    Now I’m curious who it was. I can probably guess, though. šŸ™‚

    Anyway, I’m sorry you went through this. There are jerks in every line of business, and publishing may be worse than average.

  5. missfiddyment Says:

    There is one agent that was on my “top agents to query list” but is someone I’m not interested in working with now because, judging by her Twitter stream, she loathes writers, ha.

    But the agent I’m talking about here didn’t write anything horrible, really. It was just a thoughtless and benign side comment which I hit me where I’m hypersensitive.

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