I really want to hate each and every one of these people. I can, right?
They aren’t bad ambassadors to the dark pits of rejection hell, though in my current state of mind I do classify them somewhere between Satan and Loki. I suppose anyone can become this cynical after a few hundred rejection letters over the course of a few years.
Naturally there is a bigger picture. If you’re a writer and you’ve hit the grindstone, you know how many queries…
Well let’s first delve into a few definitions.
- Manuscript: Your work in a compact nutshell. If this were a commercial, you’d hear all about margins, fonts, headers and footers in an ultra-speed voice-over.
- Synopsis: Take that beautiful, year long project and compress it into one or two pages. Yea… ratio is 312 to 2 for me. It’s why I’m bald.
- Query Letter: Remember that synopsis? Cut that down to a paragraph or two, add in a killer one-lined hook, all your writing credentials, seal it with blood, and offer your first born (sorry Alicia) to the publishing Gods.
Okay! Now that we’re all experts, back to the big picture. EVERYONE WANTS TO BE A WRITER! At least that’s the way I feel lately. I’m a very little fish in a tiny pond of sharks. Hey, I get it. Bigger fish, more experience, published works, and knowledge of the industry crowd us little guys into the mud. Just sticky, gooey, muck.
Agents receive—on a guesstimate average—hundreds, possibly thousands of query letters. Agents are people (some more than others), who have specific tastes on who and what they represent. They want formatted perfection, and you better shine in that slush-pile of letters.
So how do you “wow!” them?
I have no f’ing clue. Seriously, not one. I’ve typed up dozens of these ridiculous letters. I’ve hired people. I’ve hit all the classes; listened to the webinars. I’ve come to a single conclusion…
I suck at introductions.
I’ve often said, “Hey, it takes at least two years to get to know me. After that, you’ll love me, I promise!” I’m a fan of awkward silences. Sometimes I’m out the door before the conversation is over. Seriously, I have no idea how my wife even puts up with me. How does that translate into a query? Do they think I’m one large testicle?
I suck at summarizing my own work.
Writing a blurb is like cramming two weeks worth of clothing into a briefcase. I don’t know how anyone does it. My editor, God love her, wrote her first blurb on DATGK. (That’s my sweet acronym for Dorothy and the Glass Key) She nailed it. Pissed me off to no end. I have a modified version on the site, sums up my last twenty attempts quite nicely.
I’ve no credentials. I’ve not published anything… ever.
So what is my point? Maybe it’s this…
I understand what these agents must go through. I’ve looked back on many of my query letters, and, good lord, I wouldn’t even hire me. So I understand… really!
Who knew writing the book would be the easy part?
I hate all of you, I love all of you, I need you, I need you, I need you. So, feel my good vibes, and get past the letter. GET PAST THE LETTER! GET PAST THE LETTER!
Okay, I wrote a blog