Monday, January 10, 2011

Recipe for a heart-racing, knot-in-stomach, loss-of-breath good time

1) Decide to do a major rewrite of your novel.

2) Begin said rewrite and get really psyched about it. Your novel rocks so hard now that you are doing this rewrite.

3) Proceed merrily along for over a month, editing your happy little heart out. Man this is fun.

4) Do several different types of outlines to make sure you’ve covered all bases, there are no glaring gaps in your story. Do some character profiles while you’re at it.

5) Abruptly discover that you are done with all editing and it’s time to start querying again.

6) Feel the butterflies attack your stomach. It kind of feels like they are nibbling away at your insides.

7) Open up your last query letter, which you wrote randomly a couple weeks ago while in your oh-so-happy artistic editing stage. Still happy with it.

8) Fire it off with great gusto to a new agent that is looking for books just like yours.

9) Ten seconds after hitting send, discover a glaring redundancy in use of phrase.

10) Begin to doubt the entire query letter, which moments ago you loved.

11) Stare at the query letter for half an hour, then avoid anything productive for the rest of the evening.

12) Wake up the next morning. Realize you’ve got to get back on the horse. You’ve edited your brains out. You’ve now entered a place where you are simply stalling to avoid rejection.

13) Obsess over your query letter for just a few more minutes. Feel a glimmer of hope. Mostly, know that you must have faith in yourself and your writing.

14) Ignore the butterflies, and fire off some more queries.

*Editor's note: I wrote this about ten days ago when I started my latest round of queries. Coincidentally, the query that made me write this (with the horrific glaring redundancy) is the one that the agent ended up requesting some of my pages. Now, whether she will like my pages is still a story to be told.  But this is just another bit of evidence that agents are humans after all and will forgive some of your errors.  Unless you are in The Matrix, in which case agents are not human and they will kill you.

Heehee, couldn't let that one slip by ;-)


  1. OH!!! Hurray!!!! Congrats on the request, either way it goes whatever she still requested!!

    Ah, and hope. I love it. What a happy post!

  2. This post inspired me, because I'm starting a new re-write, which means in a few weeks I'll be doing query letters. How good to learn that, despite one little mistake in the query, your submission wasn't zapped, but instead sparked enough interest for the agent to request more pages. All those dire warnings (which are justified, I know) that the query is an agent's first introduction to your writing can scare the pants off a good writer. Keep us posted on your agent's follow-up responses.

  3. Awesome job on the request! If that leads to a full, and then leads to an agent offer, you HAVE to show us your query! I love examples of how people go their agents! Good luck!

  4. I'm so glad your revised query letter got you a request (even if you didn't think it was perfect). I've got my fingers crossed for a full request for you next. =o)

    I guess I have to ignore the butterflies and get back to submitting, too. I mean, I'm already unpublished so what's the worst that could happen. They unpublish me some more? ;o)

  5. How exciting and nervewracking that you are at the query stage! Super excited for you. I have my fingers crossed that you will get requests right away.

    I love when we obsess over something, like your redundancy in your letter, and it effects our productivity for the day. Such a writer quality. And your phrasing was probably better than 99.9% of the ones they even get. That's the other thing we do - worry over small stuff that no one else really notices.

    Good luck!

  6. I followed this exact recipe once! Well, I made my own little alterations, but the end result clearly matched yours--a tasteful experience. Good luck with those requested pages. That is excellent news!

  7. What a happy ending that the agent requested some pages. And after all that stressing too! It is nice to know that agents are human and are going to respond to a story even if there are is an error in the letter wording.

    I'll have my fingers crossed that things go well with this agent!


  8. Ohhh.. this is terrific timing on this post! I loved it :) I'm starting editing/rewrites at the end of this month and am super nervous about this process. I wrote a VERY rough draft of my query letter, and it's terrible!

    I'm so happy for you, congrats on the request. I hope you have some positive news for us soon!

  9. Hahaha, love the Matrix reference. Thanks for sharing your writing/querying process! And yes, I discovered the same thing about queries: I got 2 full requests from the query that everyone told me wasn't good enough. So there. LOL I still rewrote it, however.

  10. Yup, that about sums it up perfectly!!

    Good luck with the request. It is awesome to know one mistake doesn't necessarily kill all our hopes and dreams!

  11. Are we in the Matrix? Is that why agents seems so god-like?
    Hee hee.
    Good luck on your querying, and congrats on the fast request! AWESOME!

  12. You've outlined the process so well. I hope the request strikes gold for you. So deserved.

    BTW the Publication Party has started on my blog. I'd love it if you could come by and read what authors have to say about getting published. Perhaps you could leave a comment about your aspirations. There are prizes each week. Please come by. The champagne's free!

    Denise :)

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. Congrats on the request!

    I'm hoping to be back in Queryland sometime this year, so I feel your pain!

  15. Congrats on the request. :)

    Have a great weekend.

  16. Congrats on the request. Waiting eagerly for the good news.

    There is an award for you on my blog.


I love talking with friends new and old! What's on your mind?