A month ago I sent out my first query to about ten or so agents. Sadly, my query was long. As in, I had to resize to 11-point font Times New Roman to get it all on one page. Even though I liked it and everyone who proofed it seemed to like, I still wasn't sure of it. Something in my gut kept second guessing everything. And by last Friday, I had seven rejections and one 'yes' for a full. However, the query I sent to the 'yes' agent was an abbreviated version of the one I had sent the rest of the agents. The reason for that? I had a published author look at it and she was like..."umm, too long. This is a synopsis not a query..." And she helped me shorten. Hello, Christie. That should've been your first big hint.
I took a week and a half off from sending queries because I attended the Midwest Fiction Writers Meeting and learned pointers from some great women (and men) and was really skeptical of my query afterwards. I was totally impressed by this group. I didn't know what to expect or who would be there. Yet, I felt super comfortable and VERY welcome, which was pretty sweet. One gal, Amanda Carlson, came up to me after the meeting and gave me her name and website. Of course, an hour later I was following her on Twitter and reading every bit of information on her website. I emailed her a brief summary of my query and my one-sentence pitch. She responded with, "Not a big enough hook. You need to make it tighter."
Yet, the right words weren't coming and everything I wrote looked goofy. After a quick vacation (and much needed break) to Arizona and hiking up a monstrous mountain (twice), I had time to think and clear my head. I was putting too much pressure on making everything perfect. It's my darn Type-A personality - I love perfection. The most important lesson was I needed to write for me again. I just needed to let my own voice out and think like an agent. What busy person wants to thumb through a million query letters over a page long. Hook them and get to the point. I know as a graphic designer, I like white space. As a manager, I look for personality. It's easy to teach someone skills, but nearly impossible to train someone to get a personality!! For heaven's sake Twitter gives me 140 characters and when I'm optimizing our web pages at work, I have 60 characters to make our company searchable with a few keywords.
On the plane ride back, I was inspired and the words came. The difference: my latest query is about 250 words and I - AM - CONFIDENT sending it! So yesterday I sent out seven queries. Today two. In 30 minutes from sending one of them out yesterday, I had a request for a full. Today, two hours later, I had a request for the first 50 pages and a synopsis. Plus, my awesome crit pal, Julie Lindsey, had an inspirational post on her blog about 'getting some cheerleaders'. It totally motivated me to stay focused on my dream!
Also if you've been reading my blog, you'll see I entered another writing contest. I had to write the first 250 words of my manuscript. I realized after I posted and didn't get picked for the 312-words writing contest, something was missing and maybe I needed to rework my first chapter. And thanks to both contests, I was able to see that. So I revised. I don't know the results of the 250-word contest yet, but I can tell you I love my new Chapter One and the agent who requested my full yesterday read the first three chapters and wrote, "I'd be delighted to read your full manuscript."
Yesssssssssssss!!! I screamed. This learning stuff is fun. Oh, writing, how I love you!!!!!!!
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