I’m writing this post because I’ve just started querying, and blogging is cheaper than therapy. Yep, I am one of those people that breaks out in a cold sweat when I have to type ‘Dear Agent X,’ into an email.
So, because this is therapy, it’s time to share stories —horror stories to be more exact— of the unpublished author and the query process. Feel free to join in.
Two years ago I finished my first manuscript. You know how it goes, I bled, I cried, I didn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat, I tore strips off one of the members of staff in the local supermarket because they didn’t have my usual flavor of juice in stock (What do you mean you’ve never done that? Lies). Anyway, so there it was, my manuscript, all pretty and complete on my laptop.
It was time to face the big Q.
I’m sure most of you (if not all of you) will agree that condensing your 70,000 word masterpiece into 300/350 words is more painful than passing gallstones. It took me a grand total of three months. I read it, re-read it, hacked it to pieces with a deranged malice —think Edward Scissor hands on speed. Then I let my friends read it, my family read it, I even let a couple of complete strangers on Facebook read it, and then I chopped at it some more.
Finally, I was finished. It was so shiny and perfect, I wanted to put it in a frame —don’t worry, I didn’t. Instead, I sprayed on some extra strength deodorant, pulled up my big girl pants and copied and pasted it into the body of an email. I had a list of twenty eight agents and because I was new to the process I sent the big Q to each and every one. There was some big names in there. Rejection after rejection followed. And I went through the five stages of grief: Denial, Depression, Anger, Bargaining (with God, not the agents, because we all know that’s a big no no) and finally Acceptance. I began a new manuscript and the day came when I could finally revisit my sent email box and look over the big Q that failed to sell … I almost died. There it was, staring at me, like a giant spider sat on your pillow, the most heinously embarrassing spelling error, ever … Deer Agent X. That’s right, I’d spelt ‘Dear’ D.E.E.R. I have no idea what happened or how it happened. I’m going to say a technical error because there’s no way nearly a dozen people, including myself, had missed it, but still, I’d royally screwed up.
When I re-submitted I did manage to snag two full requests and a partial, but alas my manuscript didn’t make the cut. Which brings us to the present and the MS I’m submitting now. I have checked my sent email box and I’m sure that you’ll all be pleased to know that there were no stupid mistakes in it. So, anyone else care to stand up and share a big Q horror story?