Thursday, July 8, 2010

To Query

I'm looking up that hill again.  More like a sheer cliff face, rising 4000 feet, straight up, beyond which dark clouds loom, rain drops plop against my eyeballs and the mud beneath my feet starts to churn.  I'm getting sucked in.  Anchored to the rock that chips away with every thought I might actually have any semblance of success.

It's query time again.  Almost.  2/3 of my beta readers have given me their thoughts, and I must say, it makes me somewhat nervous.  For the most part I took their suggestions, and they have made my story better.  Yet both returned huge chunks; pages; chapters even; with no comments whatsoever.  I'm not that good.  I can't be.  I am, however, most interested in hearing from the last third, she who has never seen my work before, but offered an encouraging note after the first chapter.

So, I'm sitting here, unable to do more with what I have and it occurs to me that it's time to start researching agents once again.  I'm daunted.  I went through this a year ago, generating mild interest, but alas, no offers.  How have tastes changed?  Who's moved on?  Who hasn't?  And, nagging at me, who, who once rejected me, shall I dare query again?

I know it's not done.  Once rejected, move on.  But a slight change to the title; a major re-write; and a spiffed up query letter just might make it past this summer's intern, who wasn't there the last time.

What say you?


Kara said...

To query!

Patti said...

I'm in the same boat. Better words, new title and new query, but I'm waiting until September to try my luck again.

Traci said...

I'm in the same boat too - querying is SO daunting, but a teeny bit exciting, I think.

I hadn't queried in almost 2 years, but I'm querying with the same novel. The catch - this time, it's been heavily revised, so hopefully, those agents won't even remember I submitted originally.

I queried like gangbusters this time - no waiting around, sending 10 at a time. I researched for DAYS (using the Preditors/Editors and Absolute Write sites to check for contact info and legitimacy issues). Then, I queried. 140 queries, wow. That was at the end of May.

Since then, I've had about 80 rejections (*sting!*), 15 requests for either partials or fulls, and the rest, no-response. (One agent even deleted my query without looking at it! The nerve!!).

Sorry to ramble - just to let you know that I know exactly what you're about to go through.

GOOD LUCK with your querying! And may only good things come of it!

KLM said...

Well, taking Kristin Nelson's advice -- especially when you've got a new title and have done extensive rewrites: hell, yeah. Re-query agents who previously rejected your query. Why not? Ain't no law against it, and nobody ever turned down a great idea/book because an author dared to query it again after revising.

Go boldly forth. MG novels for boys are BIG right now. Seriously. I follow a blog by a guy who queried for a YEAR before getting multiple offers on his MG novel, all in one week. Agents are looking hard for just what you're selling. Query until someone puts a ring on your finger.

Ted Cross said...

I'm querying right now, though I am taking my time about it. I've only sent a dozen so far, and only gotten two partial requests. It is nervewracking.

LM Preston said...

Glad to hear you are querying. Just keep in mind that summer is one of the worst times to do so. Research prospective agents sites to gage best query times for them for the year and don't stop. It's a sells game that sometimes focuses on numbers. Good luck and keep us posted.

Matt said...

Thanks everyone, for your encouragement. For the record, I haven't started querying yet. First, I need to revise my query. Then, I need to research. On my timetable, that should put me into late summer. Hopefully the timing will be right then.

Matt Ryan said...

Do it. What's the worst that will happen? I'm pretty sure there isn't an agent-wide black-balled writers list. Pretty sure.

Besides, maybe you'll get some responses from those non-responding agents out there.

Best of Luck!