Monday, October 27, 2008

Query -athon-fest-arama!

This month, coincidentally my blogiversary month, I took up a challenge with my Four Corners writing group.  GET 100 QUERIES SENT BY THE END OF OCTOBER.  I figured I could do it, since I already had a few sent.  

I'm up to 89, and this afternoon I plan to send out the snail mails.  Since September they've all been email.  I've been kinda broke, folks, and email queries are a pure joy to send compared to the trek uphill both ways on a dirt road to the post office.  I'll get to my goal, easily.

There've been a few discoveries along the way.  This isn't the first book I've queried to publishers or agents, but I'm still learning things, still having those forehead slapping moments.  

Like, check before you hit the send button, to make sure you haven't already sent it.

Make sure you haven't already sent one to an agent at the same agency.

Spell the name correctly.

I've been querying this particular piece of work since last August.  In a year, I'd only sent 15 query letters.  I was being way too cautious and way too picky.  I'm developing the opinion that sometimes it's good to stretch the limits a little bit, especially with a book like mine that doesn't fit neatly into a genre.  It's a little too nasty for the teen audience, but does that mean it'll satisfy adult readers?  I personally do think so.  But it's hard to convince an agent of that with a short letter and five pages.

So now you're wondering, out of those 89 letters, what kind of results I've good.

Well, not stellar.  Not particularly encouraging.  So far only four have asked to see more, and three of those have turned it down.  The one who has it is in Toronto.  If I wasn't so chicken of driving in the city, especially in my rumbly truck, I'd be tempted to just go there, find the office, and blink my eyelashes and ask innocently if she's read it yet.  I hear they don't like to be hassled though.  So that gets me off the hook.  

Out of 89, there are 34 rejections.  There are 6 more who have not responded within their usual time frame, which I'm counting as an assumed rejection.  Although who knows, they could write back a year from now - by which time I hope to be looking at cover art! - and tell me they'd like to see it.  I've heard this happens...

So one person has 100 pages.  

I have no idea what will happen next, but I do know that I have a God- and- Grandpa- given GIFT of stubbornness.  

I also know that I wrote a pretty damn good book.  It's disturbing and challenging, sometimes funny, suspenseful, offensive, heartwarming, sad.  Yep, it's all that.  I know it, cuz I wrote it.

I've got 11 more to reach my goal, a list of about 20 agents I like, a pile of envelopes and determination.  I'm crushing down the pain every time I get another rejection, because I have to.  And if none of these hundred agents bite, I'll find more of them, I'll find somebody who is brave enough to take it on, I'll find a way.  



hayseed said...

You go, Heidi!

Nicole said...

Good luck! Viva genetic stubbornness!

Olly said...

That stubbornness will pay off, sooner or later. It always does!

Heidi said...

89! Yay! You are so close!!

I totally understand the snail mail deterrence. I haven't snailed any agents, and today I had to snail my first partial. Crud, I hate the post office!

I do panic, though, every single time I hit the send button on one. I realized once I sent one with the right agent name but the wrong agency name! It seems like there are so many things I can do wrong every time I send one.

I don't think your results are terrible. There are still sooooo many out! And they do trickle in over the course of months, sometimes. You still have lots of possible partials and fulls coming!

I'm glad you got that fire under you! This is the season for you, girl!

Biddie said...

My family, my Dad's side is know for it's stubbborn - er, make that DETERMINATION.
It's a damn good quality and it will pay off :)

Kerri said...

It's too good to not be published. Keep going! You're so close!

pseudosu said...

Wow -- 89!
You've inspired me. I'm going to get back out there after my next show (nov 8th). I think I'll make a goal to get a bunch more out my end of Nov.
Way to go!

Tod said...

If agents are requesting pages then you know you are on the right track! Hoorah!

coffeypot said...

At least you are trying and not giving up. Stick with it, Heidi. You'll come out on top one day.

Brit said...

89! Fantastic! Good luck with the rest!

Heidi the Hick said...

I'm up to 94 now. I've got at least ten more that I plan to send.

Got three more rejections today.

One was a form letter (as in, OBVIOUSLY unapologetically a form letter), one didn't connect enough with the project and one found it quite compelling but is swamped and can't sign on anybody new. At this time.

Ah well... there are still 48 who have and haven't said no yet!!

Glass half full and all that crap...!