Monday, January 13, 2014

The Fourth and Fifth Rounds

I'd like to start off this post by first apologizing to the few literary agents that I queried over the holidays.  Leave it to the rookie to foul-up the game by not knowing the rules.  But I'll get to that soon.

I sent the Fourth Round of queries out on October 6, 2013 after a lengthy revision process to both the manuscript and the query letter itself, making the whole package more accessible based entirely on what I'd learned form the first three rounds and from reading more books.  That last part is important.  I always feel the need to stress in this blog how I do indeed read in addition to write, but I suppose what I really mean is that I've read a variety of different books in different genres just to get a feel for flow and structure and so forth from one type of book to the next.

The result was not only a more readable manuscript, but also a grabber of a query letter that managed to get ... and may I get a broken snare-drum roll here ... my first request for a partial!  Sure, it's since been rejected, but damnit if I didn't frame that thing!  In a way, it was the most important correspondence I've gotten to date!

The months then went by as the rejections came in, as well as one more request for a partial that went unanswered.  While waiting, and building on the idea that writers are always either submitting or writing new stuff, I continued to hammer out the first draft of a new book.  In this area I'm back to my old self again, feeling that sense of peace that I mentioned in a previous blog, where nothing else quite compares.  A writer is at their happiest when they're producing new pages.

On Christmas Eve 2013, I sent out a round of resubmissions to agents who I hadn't heard from in a while (who didn't specify on their website the "no response=rejection" policy) in addition to a new, Fifth Round of queries.  The latter was a huge mistake, as some came back with immediate auto-replies saying that their offices were closed, while one in particular said that my query would be deleted.  It made me wonder how many of the few I sent out in Christmas Eve were actually going to be deleted, and so I now plan to send them out again strictly as a technicality on the first of next month, hoping that these agencies will grant me the Mulligan.  In the meantime, the Sixth Round will be put together with an updated query letter.

The lesson: there are bad times to send out query letters, one of which being the holidays.  Some blogs disagree with this, but most simply explain the point by asking the prospective author to put themselves in the shoes of the agents and/or their assistants.  Would you want to deal with anything at your job coming in when you should be heading out?

Likewise, the first week of January automatically puts you in the "resolution pile" of authors who vowed at the beginning of the year to finally get those query letters out once and for all.  This can be an insulting thing to consider if in fact you've been querying all year.  But again, put yourself in the agent's and/or their assistant's shoes, and all is understood.

And so it goes.  I'm making progress in that the manuscript is floating around out there in some important hands, and maybe some not-so-important hands, and I can only assume that my name has been uttered by more than a few literary agents and/or their assistants.  A new book is being written, and so far so good.