Fair warning: I’m going to have exactly zero chill about this. Speaking of chill– I bought a bottle of champagne on Sunday, January 28th 2018 and stashed it in the fridge with a stern warning to Alex that it was not to be touched until I’d signed with a literary agent.
This blip of self discipline probably doesn’t sound like an insurmountable life challenge, but Alex and I are the kind of people who can’t buy cases of wine or more than one box of Girl Scout cookies at a time. Life’s short, you gotta treat yo self with lots of Carpe Yolos and such.
But this was a special bottle of champagne– not just because it cost slightly more than the usual $14 I’m willing to spend– but because I was sending my first round of query letters the following day and I needed a mental good faith investment that I might actually be capable of bringing a desired outcome into my life. The next morning I sent five queries via email and over the next couple weeks I got five rejections whilst congealed juice from a baked sweet potato formed a sad sticky puddle near my neglected bottle of champagne.
I was ripe for intervention, so I bought a query critique from Jane Friedman (if you’re a writer, you’ve probably been on her site at least once. She’s full of resources and pretty much a publishing guru). A week later she sent back an edited version of my query, crossing out all the stupid and useless bits (my words, not hers).
Turns out query letters– JUST LIKE LIFE– are immediately improved by removing things that don’t need to be there.
I sent a few more queries before we went to India and Nepal because travel is a built-in distraction from the angst of waiting. This time, there was some interest and I got to experience the fun of sending my book proposal via iPhone via spotty wifi via Jaipur. When we got back to the states, and I recovered from jet lag, I sent another round. Two days later I got a reply to one of the most recent queries I’d sent, asking to schedule a call. The next day I got on the phone and was offered representation. [Read more…]
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