Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Why A Fresh Query Is Like A Boob Job

Unfortunately, I think we've all been there. Your query has been flying to agent inboxes for months, maybe years, with nothing but form rejections coming back. The occasional partial or full request might get your heart pumping, but a few weeks later you get that email that says, "Nice try, SUCKA!!!"

And you know what? You knew that was going to happen. You're at the point where even seeing an email from an agent in your inbox with the subject line RE: QUERY - MY OVERWORKED MS doesn't put butterflies in your stomach so much as bile. You know it's a rejection, you know because your request rate has dipped like that heart monitor on a zombie. There's no life in there.

So what do you do? Feel sorry for yourself for a bit, definitely. Commiserate with some crit partners, sure. Give up and die? Well... lets not do that quite yet.

Was that story the only one you have in you? If it was, then sorry, you're not a writer. Maybe you thought this was THE ONE, the story that would break down walls and land you on the cover of... something. But it's not looking good, so what else is in there? Have you been writing, or sending off emails to agents with your fingers crossed and pre-patting yourself on the back?

Hopefully you've been writing, 'cause that WIP might be your saving grace. Take it from me - my first YA ms had been on the query path for two years, and had racked up over 130 rejections. Yeah, you read that right. Reality had sidelined me from writing anything new for awhile, so I was going the "crossed fingers" route. Not particularly helpful, or productive.

I was also feeling sorry for myself, which is about as productive as planting seeds and watering them with Roundup.

So I wrote a new story, scripted a fresh query and got request rates that had my head spinning.  I had an agent within a month.

Jogging out the old ms with a tired query is like squeezing yourself into last year's jeans and hitting the town looking for that special-someone. You've got some muffin-top going on, your lipstick is feathering cause it expired six months ago, and your roots are showing cause you can't be bothered to buy a new bottle of hair dye.

A fresh query makes you feel like you just went to the salon, had your teeth whitened, and got a boob job all in the same day. You feel like people are looking.

And that feels good.

If you're looking to get that fresh query out there to provide wheels for the WIP, check out my fellow From The Write Angle contributer Calista Taylor's post on Query Writing 101.

8 comments:

Stephen L. Duncan said...

Well, I'm definitely not writing any new queries. I'd look terrible in tits.

Anita said...

LOL! LOve the metaphor, Mindy! You have a real gift for sarcasm, you know that? And it's so true. A new query can turn heads and score you some first dates, at the very least.

Tanya Reimer said...

Oh man I love this post. You have me giggling. I have the opposite problem. I have 11 books sitting here with no querry. It's like gettting all dressed up and then staying home. Dumbass I know. Time to get out and party. Pucker up.

Mindy McGinnis said...

SLD - Never say never, surely there's the female equivalent of the str- oh wait, nevermind, I'm a YA writer. Shutting up.

Anita - A gift for sarcasm :) Yeah, that's me!

Tanya - Get those queries out there! My dad always says (basketball metaphor) you might miss a shot if you take it, but you *always* miss the shots you don't take.

E. Elle said...

What a creative analogy! Lots of advice on querying around the blogs recently and I appreciate getting an idea of what I'm in for when my time comes. I shall anticipate the need for a boob job... writingly speaking.

Bethany C. said...

Wow, you are good.

That feeling you were speaking of, when you see you have one new message and you just KNOW it's a rejection...that's like looking at yourself in the mirror when trying on bathing suits. What's the point?!

Angela V. Cook said...

Loved this post! I could really relate, especially since I JUST retired (for now) a ms, and I'm in the midst of editing a new one ;o) I'm hoping my fresh ms and query will turn heads ;o)

cherie said...

Only BBC can compare a new (good) query to a boob job. :D

Good post!