Good news; Bad news

If. I’d. Had. Any. Idea. How. Torturous. Trying. To. Get. An. Agent. Would. Be. I. May. Have. Stuck. With. Short. Stories.

(Not that short stories are any easier to get published, but you certainly put fewer hours into writing them.)

Back to the BAD NEWS. No, I did not get a rejection today (it’s not Friday). What I did get was some (valuable yet hard to figure out how to fix) feedback on the query I submitted to the Agent’s Inbox contest. Specifically, that it’s confusing as hell (I’m paraphrasing, but that’s the gist). It’s not the not liking it/not being hooked by it part that’s stressing me; it’s the idea that maybe I’ve missed something critical in the 70,000 words I’ve written. Maybe the story just isn’t there after all.

I think I’ve mentioned I’ve rewritten my query well over 100 times? Looks like I need to head deep into the triple digit rewrites. Le. Sigh.

But the GOOD NEWS is that while my query was ‘confusing’, my sample was ‘loved’ — specifically the voice. My voice. (Deep breath out…relief) Voice is such a tricky thing, and I’ve read loads of agent commentary on how critical it is to a project’s success. So I’m going to hang on to the “loved the voice” comments like a life preserver while I try not to sink under my query rewrites.

The hubby asked me earlier if I was frustrated (yes) or upset (no). Of course I knew this was going to be tough. And I haven’t even gotten to the stacks of rejections yet! So I need to regroup and work this $#$%!@ query out. Because a confused agent is never (ever) going to request pages.

And if they don’t request pages…well, you know the rest.

Book. Shelved.

So this is my pep talk to myself. Do not stop. Have faith you will nail it (maybe on revision 201?).

The short stories can be Plan B.


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  • Christy Laverty August 16, 2012  

    I am wondering if you have ever thought about going back to query #1…to see how it has evolved. Sometimes what you write first is the best, most solid piece of writing. I find with news writing sometimes the more you try to re-write the worse the writing gets because it starts to stray from it’s initial message/voice/story. The story or facts just start to get muddled while you are trying to re-invent the wheel… ya know what I mean?

  • Karma August 16, 2012  

    Funny, I had exactly the same thought when I pushed publish on this post! Thank you. You are very right. Rewrites can be the death of something good.
    Back to the drawing board – my very first query in hand : )

  • Maria August 16, 2012  

    The feedback is very encouraging!

  • Karma August 17, 2012  

    Agree, Maria. If I can just push through with the query, I feel like I have a solid submission : )

  • Tasha September 21, 2012  

    Hi, I found your blog after reading a few of your articles, and checked out your query letter. I’m an aspiring writer myself, so by no means at all knowledgeable (yet) about the ins-and-outs of query letters, but I had a few thoughts.
    The “time traveling dead woman” line was an instant turn-off for me– not to sound harsh or negative, just that I am the type of reader that will quickly put the book back on the shelf based on a single line if it feels “not for me”. Reading more about the story, it doesnt seem like “sci-fi”, as that line led me to believe Based on excerpt, and seeing the different way you have the synopsis presented on your website, I would say to make the synopsis (query) more like the excerpt of provided. Start out explaining that she died, and is viewing her funeral and couldnt believe the choices that were made, but “little did she know” (less cheesy way of saying that) that that was just the beginning. Not knowing the plot, perhaps elude to how she is offered visions of her past and uncovers (generic) betrayls, surprises etc– give more detail, but not as much as you have currently– I found the line regarding the parents and the ex hard to understand.

    I like to think of the query as similar to what would be printed on the back cover of the book– write it for the reader, not for the agent (because they are the reader too!). If you were explaining it to your friend, what would you say? That’s what I, as a reader, want to read.
    Not sure if any of is is helpful or just annoying but thought I’d give you another perspective!

  • Karma September 21, 2012  

    Tasha –
    Thank you very much for your awesome feedback! And it served as a good reminder for me to update my site : ) I’ve actually reworked the query many (many many) times, and had forgotten to put the most recent version up, which I have done now. All the best with your own writing!

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