The Query Jungle, that is.
My name is Iris, and this is my blog. I write things, mainly Urban Fantasy novels, and various lengths of my completed first project are floating out there in Agent Query-Land while I work on my current one, OH and I also work a paying job that indirectly relates to selling published things for other people (please don't ask me about that, it usually makes the frown lines deepen on my forehead and I'm trying not to encourage them).
I hope to make this blog a platform for what drives my creative process...though I promise not to have *too many* blog posts that are basically variations of "Nrrrghh the writing gods are being mean to me today" or "Ima sit down and write - SQUIRREL", so if you see one please do make a comment to the effect of "Sit down and write you ninny"; I'd really appreciate it.
If you happened upon this page Googling "query" or somesuch (which I doubt, but one must always be prepared) I'd hate to disappoint, so let me tell you where I am in this process. If you happened upon this page by accident would you mind going to the "menu" page and telling me if you like any of those beverages I created while I was procrastinating before you leave? Thank you very much.
But I digress.
I tell people querying agents is like trying on bras and jeans at the same time in front of a three-way full body mirror while checking out Tinder. And they usually gasp and say, "That sounds horrible!" and I usually shrug and say, "But necessary."
Let me explain.
I've been querying my first project off and on for three years. There were three massive rewrites and edits in between, so I resubmitted a couple of times. When "on" the first time, I'd say I queried about 100 agents, got 30 partials, and 5 fulls, and ultimately no takers for the fulls. People tell me that's good. The first couple of rejections were the worst, I mean serious Anne Shirley "Depths of Despair" form letters, in the sense that I was still treating my first project as a beautiful, perfectly formed child, offended when someone had something negative to say about it. I learned, with my first thoughtful, non-form rejection letter, that the form ones were useless - the agents who told me what I needed to fix were the good ones, that helped me fix things. Those were few and far between, and who could blame them? These pour souls get Thousands of blind submissions. I can't even imagine the terror of the slush, and I don't think I'd ever want to.
So I learned to appreciate the personalized rejections. At last! Something concrete to fix! This was when I fixed everything, ran it through a very good writer's group and a writing coach, and came through with a completely changed creature.
And then I put it on the shelf for a year. Helpful or not, the rejections wear on you. The three-way mirror, you see. You see the imperfections, the warts, the wrinkles, and sometimes it's not healthy, analyzing all of that.
And I started a new project. 3, actually, but only one kept annoyingly waking me up in the middle of the night so that's the one I've stuck with.
So a couple of months ago I went to a networking mixer and met an agent; she agreed to take a look at my first project. TL;DR : it was another rejection, but one I'd never had before. Actually, I had had a couple of them before, but I didn't realize it until I'd read her email. It was the most positive rejection letter I'd ever seen and a third breed of rejection letter: "this project isn't for me". And that's where the Tinder comes in.
It's so easy for both of us to swipe left, with their project lists and your query letter. And every once in a while you get to the coffee stage, and you think, "Wow, this person is SO GREAT... but not for me". And so I've passed the point of thinking, "there's no one out there for me" and have evolved to "there's definitely an agent out there for me", because let's be honest, if they don't believe in your project(s) with all of their heart, neither of you are going to make money, and that's really the crux of the matter.
Rent. Food. Shelter. Freedom from an extra part-time job. Because new bras and jeans are necessary every once in a while.
Here's to swiping right.