rhienelleth: (Default)
I knew I should have saved those links!

So, awhile ago a bunch of authors did this thing where they posted their own successful query letters and discussed them. It was a response to some authors doing the same thing for synopses, I think, and that's what I need right now. Synopsis writing advice. I've only written one other, and was never very pleased with how it turned out. I've had a request for a synopsis for Nemesis, which, you know, I really should have as I'm sure this won't be the only time I need to have one. Some agents specifically request a synopsis with the query, and most who request partials DO request one.

Did any other writers on my f-list happen to link to some of those synopsis posting authors? I could use all the help I can get.
rhienelleth: (mercy1)
Query writing sucks. No matter how many times I try, it never gets any better!

The latest query hook for Nemesis behind the cut. Weak, and this is the best I've come up with after more than an hour.

Click Me )

Just shoot me now. Ugh.
rhienelleth: (Default)
Agent Nathan Bransford has a hilarious (and informative) post up today about how personalizing one's query does not in fact equate to kissing up to an agent or editor.


"Perhaps the stress of the query process leads people to feel more sensitive to slights, real or perceived. Totally understand that. But anyone deliberately not personalizing is shooting their query in the foot, and then stomping on it and telling the query it was actually left in a bundle by the stork and its real parents are trolls from another planet.

Personalizing is not kissing up."

He then proceeds with a kiss-up-o-meter, by which he rates various personalizations with how much they equate kissing up, on a scale of 1/10. If you ever wondered what it meant to personalize your query letter, go read this and get some good ideas. Yes, this is indeed how it is done. Personally, I consider it only polite to let an agent know, however subtly or bluntly you wish, that yes, you are querying them as a specific person and not just sending blanket queries to every name in Publisher's Marketplace.
rhienelleth: (Default)
I've queried a lot of agents over the past year, and pitched to several in person in the year before that. I've learned a lot in the process. My "top ten" list of agents I think I'd like/love to work with has shuffled occasionally, as you learn more about people when you deal with them personally, than what you can read in Publisher's Marketplace.

Today, the agent who has a full of Nemesis on her desk very courteously let me know she's running a bit behind on reading, but she's still got my book in the queue. I had not e-mailed her asking for an update, and yet she took time out of what must be a super-busy schedule to shoot me an e-mail and let me know.

That's the first time that's ever happened to me.

I've had to send status checks multiple times in the past, which I don't necessarily mind. Everyone gets busy, and agents and editors have thousands of pages of words to read at any given time, in addition to all the other work their jobs entail. They define "busy". But there are a couple I won't query again, due to a complete lack of response/communication. Heck, there is one agent who's had a requested full manuscript for almost two years, and I have still heard nothing back. Oh, sure, in the first year I sent status checks, and she let me know she was "still getting to it". I have long since written that one off, and will not be querying her again. Not because I'm mad, exactly, but because I don't want to work with someone I have to fight to exchange simple communications with.

I might not not know much about the agent/author relationship yet, not having had one, but this agent taking the initiative to e-mail me a status update when she totally didn't have to completely impressed me. You always hope a prospective agent loves your work, but now I'm hoping she loves Nemesis, not just for the sake of "I want an agent to love my novel", but also because "wow, I think I would really love working with this person."
rhienelleth: (Default)
I had this strange dream last night about rejection. *shakes head* If I'm going to dream about the writing/query/publishing process, can't I at least dream about acceptance? Okay, so this was a good rejection, in that it was personalized with all kinds of good things to say (except for length - apparently my subconscious is still concerned about wordcount) but still - let's dream about acceptance, brain, kay?

Some interesting publishing links this morning:

Bookends agent Jessica Faust talks about how agents get paid to pester, what to expect from an agent in this regard, and how to communicate with your agent.

Editor Paula Guran defines the urban fantasy genre, and discusses its history and roots.

Agent Janet Reid talks about why you should make more mistakes, not less.
rhienelleth: (handbasket - marinarusalka)
I haven't blogged about the query saga in awhile. Yesterday, in the wake of my birthday-induced flash of self pity, I sent out three new queries. (The best possible cure for rejection/unpublished writer blues, is to send out more queries/submissions.) One came back today as a rejection, and I immediately sent out another new query to replace it, along with two more.

This brings my total number of 'queries sent' up to 28. Of those:

4 have been non-responses, from agents who normally respond even with rejection, so I'm guessing the agents in question never saw them, ie, the query got gobbled up by internet poltergeists.

1 was a partial request (later rejected)

2 have been personalized rejections (which were almost more hopeful than the partial request, believe it or not.)

15 have been rejections, and

6 are still in the wind, awaiting responses still within the usual response time

I admit, some days these numbers get me down. And others, I boggle that other writers out there have sent nigh unto 100 queries for the same project. I'm marveling that I've almost reached 30. And, as work on the space pirates continues (officially passed what I believe to be the book's halfway point today), I begin to worry more about how I'm going to query it in the future, than the queries still out there for Dark Vision. I don't mean that to sound in any way against DV - I still firmly believe it should be published, that it's good enough to be published, and that one day, it will be. Maybe one of the agents currently being queried will fall in love with it. And maybe someday, when I have an agent because of Nemesis (or something else, but hopefully for space pirates) I'll be able to pitch DV to them as well.

In any case, some days it's easier to take rejection in stride. And others, it's like chewing broken glass. I was reading a thread on a writing forum today that was basically "getting an agent - success stories" - and I read two or three back to back that went something like:

"I finished my novel, revised it, made a list of my top agent picks, and sent out twelve queries. Within twenty-four hours, I had nine partial requests, six of which turned into requests for a full, and then my Dream Agent made an offer of representation, followed quickly by three more offers...." and I had to stop reading the thread, because seriously, while I was happy for these three people, reading their stories was not so much inspiring, as it was utterly deflating. Nevermind that their experiences are not the norm. Many, many more authors experience hundreds, if not thousands, of rejections before being made any sort of offer, from either an agent or an editor. Reading these, I had to forcibly remind myself of that. One even had the very cavalier attitude of "I don't understand this whole idea that landing an agent is hard..." That was actually the one that broke me. Time to step away from inspirational stories and go search agentquery for more agents to, you know, query.

Also, now that I've broken 45,000 words, time to reach for 50K.


Mad libs!

Mar. 31st, 2008 12:22 pm
rhienelleth: (Default)
Er...maybe I should think twice about posting these sorts of things now that a couple of agents/editors have me friended? I have this urge to say "Don't read this, when the query gets sent to you, it will look NOTHING like this!" Hmm. Ah, well. Mad libs are supposed to be fun(ny).

Agent Nathan Bransford posted an interesting query mad lib thing in his blog today. I thought "huh, that's not a bad starting point for a query". So I copied the mad lib into a word doc, and plugged my WIP into the blanks.

And made myself laugh out loud at my keyboard.

The book isn't funny (overall - I always like to add in occasional character humor. It breaks up the tension and stress the characters are almost constantly under) so I need to come up with a way of wording this that removes the really wrong funny phrasing. (Have I mentioned lately, how much I hate and detest query writing?) Before sending the query to agents!

I just really need to avoid at all costs the phrase 'telepathic space pirates', and all will be well. You know, like "But when Mercy's ship is taken by telepathic space pirates..." Yeah. Just NO. Even if it did make me chuckle.
rhienelleth: (Default)
With all the fandom and jewelry talk around here, I haven't talked much about the writing/query process lately.

I'm starting my Monday morning with another round of queries. It's been about a month since the last round, so it's past time. Of the four I sent in February, I have yet to hear back from three, and one was a personal rejection. And this week I'm back at work on the space pirates book. Which, hey, will be much easier to query since I'll have a whole list of agents already compiled! LOL. Though I'm not looking forward to the whole "write the query and synopsis" portion of things again.

I am having a hard time waking up this morning, ugh. We're dogsitting the in-laws' cocker spaniel for the week, and two restless dogs does not make for a restful night's sleep. AT ALL. (On a side note, sometimes my husband drives me absolutely nuts, seriously. Yes, the dogs kept us up from about 3:00am on - this is not my fault! And I'm the one that had to get up ahnd go in to work today. Also, it is possible to look in our kitchen and find actual food to eat without calling me at work and asking "What is there to eat?" I know he survived as a bachelor long before he dated/married me, so the man isn't completely incompetent in the kitchen. Sometimes it's nice to feel needed, and other times it's just annoying. ::rolls eyes::)

Hmm, since I seem to have a complete lack of interesting content this morning, here are the earrings I made and listed this weekend:

clicky )


Feb. 24th, 2008 12:54 pm
rhienelleth: (Default)
So, my new query letter seems to be successful, at least so far.  One of the three agents I've queried since revising it sent me a personal rejection today, and it was very nice.  Basically, she said she liked my sample pages, but wasn't quite as excited about them as she had hoped to be, and so she's passing. 

Even though they're rejections, the personal rejections really make me excited.  I take them to mean "close...but not quite there".  They make me want to turn around and query these agents again with Nemesis, or McClairen's book.  I just need to get them finished.  A little added incentive. :)
rhienelleth: (Default)
A new query rejection today. Hmm, these have become almost so regular an occurrence as to be not worth reporting. This means I have to find a new agent to send to. Urgh. And done. Heck, maybe I'll find another one and send two, just because.

Also, because I finally feel my query is in its final form. I don't how else I could revise it, when the hook is down to less than a hundred words.

In the encouraging-and-uplifting vein, though, I was messing about Jim Butcher's website today (reading sample chapters of Small Favor), and I stumbled across his "how I got published" post. Now, I've had the pleasure of hearing this story from Jim himself, and it's more entertaining in person, but the written version is well worth a read. I often encapsulate the verbal story to fellow writers when this brutal gauntlet of finding an agent and reaching publication gets them down, and I think back on it myself during the same down moments. So today I found this, I read it even though I'm familiar with the story, and it did the trick of making me smile and lifting my writerly spirits.

Things to remember: authors I love, who write books I love, had those very books rejected many times before ever being accepted. Particularly telling was the story of the agent who rejected Harry Dresden, then two months later offered Jim representation for the very same project she'd rejected. The difference? She'd met him in person.

Note to self: must get to more writer cons.

In the meantime, dig up a new agent to query.

Oh, yes, and words truly cannot express how much I am looking forward to Supernatural tonight. YAY! boys.
rhienelleth: (Default)
For those of you who have followed my query trials and tribulations, an update:

Total queries sent: 18

Partials Requested: 1

Form Rejections: 10

Personal Rejections: 1

Non-response: 2

Still waiting to hear from: 5 (although one of those could very well be a 'not interested' by way of no response.)

New queries sent today (included in the five): 1

It's the newly revised and significantly shortened/tightened version, going something like this:Click to read )

A note of hope: one of the many agent blogs I read posted something today that stated at least one editor of the agent's acquaintance is " still looking for sexy vampire and werewolf stories". Which just goes to show what a subjective business this is. Yesterday, a rejection stating that vampires are a hard sell; today, an editor still looking for them. And bonus! My book has both vampires and werewolves.
rhienelleth: (Default)
Bookends Literary Agency is hosting a contest for the first 100 words of your manuscript. It is genre specific, and they already held the mystery portion. Today, and until tomorrow morning 9:00am EST, they will be accepting entries in the paranormal/fantasy/romance combination thereof genre. I know some of the people on my f-list write in that genre (as do I) and so thought I'd give you a heads up.

I couldn't enter Dark Vision, as Jessica has already read and passed on the partial for that, but I did enter the first 100 words of McClairen's book. The winner gets a critique of their first chapter, query and synopsis, and you can enter whether your book is finished or not. (Obviously, the first chapter must be done, and you must known enough about the rest of the book to be able to write a query and synopsis.)

Yesterday, I received two more query rejections, but one was at least a personal rejection.

I am taking this as a positive sign - she called my writing good, but vampire fiction is a hard sell right now. That's better than a form rejection by a long shot. Two new queries will go out today.
rhienelleth: (Default)
Two new query rejections today, and one new query sent out.  I've found two more agents to send queries to tomorrow, and for those counting, that brings
total rejections: 9
queries still in the wind: 5, soon to be 7

On the writing front, I finished Chapter 5 today, which is a turning point in the book.  My MC's already suffered some bad moments, but she's now about to have her entire universe turned upside down, and the bad news isn't going to stop for a looooooooong time.  I almost feel sorry for her.

On the other hand, she does get a couple of good things mixed with the bad.  They might be worth it.

Obligatory word count:

With total for yesterday/this morning:

Total for the week: 11, 384 words

If I can keep that up, this could theoretically be finished by my birthday in April.  Still, best not to jinx myself!


Jan. 22nd, 2008 10:22 am
rhienelleth: (Default)
...and I forgot to add to my first post this morning - the week is starting off well. I opened my e-mail this morning to another query rejection. *sigh*
rhienelleth: (handbasket - marinarusalka)
I was chatting with [livejournal.com profile] kistha a little while ago, and I ended up bending her ear for a twenty minute rant about all my recent frustrations with the query process. (Sorry sweetie - like you need another one of us in your life! ;)

Cut for long ranty whine - don't mind me, nothing to see here, move along, move along )

Well, I feel mildly better having spewed all my frustrations onto LJ. And very relieved that I don't link my real name to this blog or include it's URL with any of my submissions. I'm sure agents and editors understand and sympathize with the frustrations struggling authors go through, but they don't need to read about them when I'm venting, either. I mean, I sympathize with them, too. I've read aaaaallllll about their frustrations on those industry blogs I read. I get it. But either way you slice it, it's still damn frustrating.

I've also got to decide what to do about the two agents I still haven't heard back, weeks after their usual response time. Resend the query? Send a polite note asking if they received the first one? Oh, wait, actually I already did that with one of them, and didn't get a response to that, either. Which makes me somewhat loathe to do it again for the other. Aaaargh!


Dec. 21st, 2007 06:23 pm
rhienelleth: (milestogo - miggy)
Two query rejections in one day, and the second one was a form letter (near as I can tell) rejection from the agent who had requested a partial. I was kind of hoping to at least get a request for a full from her, which might have then netted me a personal rejection.

I'm usually pretty good at taking these in stride, but today I'm having to try really hard not to be discouraged. I think it was the partial rejection, more than anything. Whatever other rejections piled up, that one positive response was still out there, you know?


Dec. 18th, 2007 01:02 pm
rhienelleth: (maraluke)
~ Sent another query today, in replacement for the rejection I got a few days ago. It would be nice to get another positive response someday. A request for a full manuscript would be awesome, but at this point I'd take a request for a partial and do a dance of joy. Before Christmas would be fabulous. Perhaps this will be one of those cases where the phrase "It never rains, but it pours" proves true?

~ For several days now, I've been fighting off a cold. Today at lunch, it seems to have decided to manifest full force, all of the sudden-like. WTF?

~ I haven't read any Star Wars books for awhile, but I've had several on my 'to read' list for sometime. And then last night I discovered the asinine story direction they've taken post-NJO, and

~ In the course of 'researching' (*cough*aka scouring the internet for pics*cough*) I came across this one of a lion cub. He is so full of cute and personality that I have to put him in the book. I'm not sure how, but he's going to be there.
rhienelleth: (chuck+blair - searchtheskies)
Fastest query turnaround yet: 3 days, rejection.

Their response time is listed as 8-10 weeks, so 3 days is really fast.

*sigh* Okay, so that brings the totals to:

Queries sent: 9

Rejections received: 4

Partials requested: 1

Waiting to hear from: 4 + the partial

Our holiday potluck at work today has left me wanting to curl up on or under my desk and take a nap. Instead I shall scour the internet for more agents to query. See? This writing life is so glamorous. (I'm using the word glamorous as an excuse to use my newly obtained Chuck/Blair icon. It's the small things that make one smile in the face of rejection.)
rhienelleth: (Default)
I think all of my posts about the query process/finding an agent are going to be titled the same from here on out. There are only so many subject line variations one can do on the same subject.

**WARNING: Authorial obsessive/compulsiveness ahead. Proceed at own risk.**

So, I have this dilemma. Two agents I queried some time ago have not yet responded. Now, both agents were e-mail queries, and both agents specify that they send out a standard rejection, rather than the also common "we will only reply if we are interested", meaning if they were not interested, I should have received a rejection. Query Tracker (a site which allows you to track who you've sent queries to, when, how long it took them to respond, etc, in a much better format than my oh-so-scientific spreadsheet) also allows people to leave comments about their experiences with specific agents. Agent A was among the first I queried back in September. Their website at the time said to expect a response in 10-12 weeks. Query Tracker has their response times from a minimum of same day turnaround, to a maximum reported of seven weeks. Well, it's been twelve weeks with no response. Except now their website says to expect a response in 12-15 weeks. A couple of comments on QT are from people who sent this same agent an e-mail query in October and November, respectively, and received their rejection notes back within days.

I don't know if I should wait until the full, newly advised 15 weeks is up as per their website, or go ahead and send a polite note asking if they received the query, which could possibly have been lost to spam filters or ethernet poltergeists back when I sent it.

In the end, does another three weeks even matter? (Of course it does!) <--Hush, you. I'm not talking about 'does it matter to the obsessive part of my brain'.

An argument could be made that if they haven't responded yet, it could be due to an impending positive response. Except that this isn't a partial, it's a one page query. How much longer could a positive response really take in this instance, compared to a rejection?

So the question is, do I send them the note, or don't I?

I sent a query to agent B in October. Their website says 4-8 weeks, of which it is now week 7. I think I will go ahead and wait the one more week for them.

As a side note, on Query Tracker there are a couple of people (out of, like, 30) for each agent who 'did not receive a response' and let that go as a rejection. What, seriously? Why would you do that? From an agency that normally does send a rejection, a complete lack of response probably means they never got it, so why would you not send them a note and query again? *shakes head*
rhienelleth: (delilah2)
Wow, that was a fast turnaround for that query! Totals are currently at:

Queries sent: 6 updated: 9

Rejections received: 3

Partials requested: 1

Waiting to hear from: 5 + the partial

I feel like I need to send out more queries, and at the same time, I've only dug up about three more agents to query.

I hear about people who query 30+ agents, and I have to say - where do you find them?? I've scoured all the lists, marketplaces, author/agent blogs, etc, and this is what I've found. Perhaps I'm just being too picky. If someone has a six month response time for a query letter, I haven't put them on the list. (I may be a bit gun shy since there is a manuscript from a couple of years back that's been on a particular agent's desk for a year and a half, now.)  If they say they rep SF/F, but all their clients are hard SF, I don't put them on the list (at least not for this book). If they say 'no simultaneous submissions' I don't put them on the list - how can I, when I am submitting to multiple agents? (Also, I thought that was a little odd, an agency specifying that you don't query to anyone but them. Editors I get, but agents? Luckily, this does not seem common.)

Perhaps it's time to look into more romance agents than SF/F, especially since that's what nabbed me a partial request.

And of course, none of the above includes agents that don't accept unsolicited/unreferred queries. Sadly, as many people as I've met/known through cons and writers groups, I've yet to to see that whole 'it's who you know' myth come to pass. Even the one Star Trek story we got published wasn't about 'knowing' Dean Wesley Smith. He invited us to the writing group he was a part of after sending a very nice personalized rejection, and then the story we submitted the next year made the cut. So he liked our writing first, and knew us as a result of that.

*le sigh* Off to scour for romance agents.

ETA: Now that I have a few more branches in the fire, so to speak, I'm feeling better about my query stats. 


rhienelleth: (Default)

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