Query Rejection Party

Thanks to Laura Stanfill for bringing me out of hiding.  I often forget how tough it is to practice my craft and pursue publishing hopes while trying to raise four kids.  Having some response rejection to my recent equeries has really helped to put some things in perspective for me.  I do work as a paralegal from home, and the end of the month is an extremely stressful time in industry which has sadly taken much of my efforts lately.  Add that to the end of the grading period for my school aged kids, bills, and life?  Well…it leaves little room for reflection and figuring out how to fine tune any literary skills I think I have.   Life is a balancing act?  Half right.  Most of the time in my four walls, it’s a balance of chaos with no harmony to be found.  I tend to resent the word ‘balance’ since I have no concept of what it actually means.   The rest of the time I’m just trying to make sure my kids are clean, responsible, productive, and well-informed members of my community that think for themselves without having knee jerk responses to fear and propaganda.  So sure, there’s balance there…I guess.

I have had three responses to my three paragraph e-query (I sent 10, and only queries, no synopsis), and they have all been rejections.  Now that I’ve had some time to reflect, and put some effort into work (the one that actually pays money) and disengage from my characters for a bit, I realized that this was exactly what I needed to understand that my pitch was wrong.  I had been writing nonstop, then editing nonstop… then putting together the query, then, then…  I needed to step away.  It doesn’t really matter how well the book is written if the interest isn’t sparked enough to get a request for more.  So, I embraced my ‘real’ job and took any chance free time to reflect on my plot, my characters, how I was going to enrich both, and pitch my book to the next round of agents.  That being said, I don’t think I’ll go the e-query route next time. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m actually glad that I got responses (and they were even addressed to me) so this tells me that someone at least opened the email.  I don’t know how much they read, but they at least took the time to respond.  So, keeping in tune with the Lemonade from Lemons mantra in my house, I took it as a good sign – or rather, I forced myself to find the good, and rejoiced.   Next time around (after having some feedback from people who have read my first 3 chapters, the synopsis and the query) I need to approach agents that want more than the query, because to those readers – the query wasn’t enough.  For this project, I’ll have to agree… environment and waste notwithstanding.  If the query was at least read and responded to electronically (and anonimously… for both agent and author), then perhaps packaged correctly and marketed to the right agent was sorely, and obviously overlooked.  Speaking of agents, I found that I boxed myself into a corner with the genre I was soliciting (despite any specific admiration for the agents I queried and my novel’s inclusion criteria).  Apparently, I left off a rather huge aspect of my entire story that I simply hadn’t noticed was there (did I just say that?  how long have I been writing this thing?) until my editor gently guided me to a higher concept.  The result?   It’s time to read my novel again, and perhaps bring out the red pen.  I may not use it, but I do need to read it again.  When I feel as good as I did 4 weeks ago – I’ll work on packaging 10 snail mail queries and I’ll start this lovely process of angst all over again.  I’m quite sure my attachment to the queries the next time around will be significantly different.

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