To date, I have sent out XXX queries. I will not tell the true number, but from reading blogs and chatting it up with (aspiring) writers I get the sense that it is more than average.
So I have to ask myself, am I just not getting it? Sending out queries too soon? When I've written dozens and revised just as many, do I give it up? Call in the Shark? Is the premise just not interesting? Do I put off some kind of off-putting vibe in my writing? I want to pinpoint the issue and correct it and write the query that will knock it out of the park, yanno?
After all this time, when I sit down and open the draft of a given query, sometimes I'm not even sure what I'm looking at. The words and punctuation and present tense and concision and detail all blur.
What gives? What do I do?
Patience. The answer is,
So I saddle up on Patience and go back to my resources:
- Nathan Bransford - the basics, straightforward and accessible.
- Query Shark - there are hundreds of real life queries here, picked apart with critique.
- Author Elana Johnson - She possibly deviates from the norm (your query should only be 250 words max- wha?) but then maybe your manuscript does too or the agent...so it is worth a read. I think.
- Miss Snark's First Victim - Loads on writing in general, contests and querying.
Although there are rules, etiquette, expectations and do and don't's to writing a query, there is an enormous amount of room for creativity. I keep telling myself the query is in there, in my head, waiting to be written.
Which brings me to patience's twin:
Positivity. After a deluge of rejections, "We're sorry you're work isn't quite right for us, we apologize for this form letter, but will have to pass on your manuscript at this time..." I have to tell myself to stick with it, to chipper up and continue to refine, learn and believe that at some point the stars will align and I will write the query that captivates the perfect agent for me...and so will you. Uh, unless of course you're reading this and that has already happened or...you have no use for an agent.
But if you are a querying writer, please share what has worked for you and any resources you have and maybe a good opthamologist.