Monthly Archives: June 2012

Weekend Query Crash

Well, I was out at the park enjoying a sweltering Pride Festival when my phone did the musical little boopboopbeep thing it does for incoming email. I probably should have made my way to the booze vendor before checking it, but I have that smart phone OCD that disallows notification icons spending any time on the home screen. Maybe, just maybe, had I waited to get that weird little bucket of innocuously named, red-tinted booze into my hands first, the email would have read differently than this:

 “Thanks so much for letting me take a look at THE COALSLIDES. While I found the concept appealing, I’m afraid I just didn’t connect with the voice as I’d have liked to, and so I’m not the right fit for it. I do appreciate you thinking of me and wish you the very best luck finding the ideal agent to represent you and your work.”

So there’s another query crushed to death. I still have a pretty long list of potential agents to work my way through, so I’m not going to spiral down into some blubbering depression yet, but it’s always a little sad to see your baby punched in the face.

The upside: This agent was honest. If an agent can’t connect with the manuscript then they won’t do the best job selling it to a publisher.

The downside: If the ‘voice’ is the biggest problem my manuscript has, then it has an enormous problem. This is one of those things that are difficult to determine on your own because you read it in the same voice you wrote it in – your voice. If that voice isn’t connecting to a reader, then the problem is much more difficult to fix than grammar, spelling, inconsistent tense, character development, or any of the myriad other reasons an agent may hate what you write.
Personally, I will choose to believe that though this agent did not connect to the voice, another will. Maybe the one that this next query is going out to.

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Posted by on June 25, 2012 in Uncategorized


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For Summer Solstice, I Will Query More

One of the original queries I sent has now reached 5 weeks with no response beyond the initial auto-generated confirmation that the email was received. From this particular agency’s website:

“How long will it take…
To answer your query letter, up to four weeks. To read your sample chapters and outline, about the same. To read your whole manuscript, overnight to a few months. (If we request it, please check with us.)”

Delicious query looks delicious.

I largely let the fifth week slip in because I’ve been spending more and more time flooding the city with resumes and cover letters. Either way, it seems it is time to send out a new query and consider that one expired, bloated, and drifting down the Mississippi to feed carrion birds and catfish.

The last of the original queries is still floating around out there. It never received an automated email to let me know it was received, the agency’s website is under construction (though somewhat navigable), and they do not list an expected turnaround on queries. Even so, it’s a big agency with a lot of popular talent, so I will probably let it sit for another couple of weeks at least before I count it among the dead.

I still have more than a month until I can expect to hear back from the agent that has the entire manuscript, so there isn’t much to do in that direction. In the meantime, I’m reworking my fantasy novel, Blood of a Godkiller, to pick up the pace, deepen some characters, and really smooth it out overall. After completing The Coalslides, I was better able to see some of the shortcomings my first completed manuscript was facing. Luckily, it had a general sort of success in drawing interest when I was sending queries out for it, so I’m confident that sorting out the ms itself will do wonders for its viability.

So, that’s that. I’m off to find a new agent to replace the one that I haven’t heard back from.

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Posted by on June 20, 2012 in Uncategorized


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When Writing a Different Kind of Writing

I applied for a job this week that intrigued me. The listing was titled ‘Writer’ and the description pretty much boiled down to ‘Write creative stuff and be awesome.” Obviously I knew that was me, so I moved into JobSearch Phase 2: Interwebbery. (JobSearch Phase 1: Accidents is really just Googling until something that is neither porn nor cats with pancakes on their heads shows up. Then I try to go work there.)

I Googled the company. Not so much more information there, really. I mean, I did manage to determine that it is a marketing company. And also that they have a lot of pictures with booze logos and DJs and people in very hip clothes. Presumably this means they are cool people with cool jobs that do cool things. Oh, good, I can do that. I mean, obviously I’m cool, right? My mom thinks so.

So, JobSearch Phase 2: Interwebbery (subset: CREEP). As every good company should do, they put the names of their employees on their website. This is vital for those of us that like to find out what sort of people we’re asking to work with. Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn. I hit ’em all and I didn’t do so bad. I even had a friend in common with one of the now very stalked employees, but unfortunately it was the sort of former client of a former boss connection that social media encourages despite the relative lack of cultural value. Even so, I did not uncover anything that would make me second guess how awesome I might be with this awesome company. (To be honest, beyond outright cannibalism, there isn’t much a profile picture could do to scare me off.)

If you’ve read the About Me section then you know that I don’t have a job. I want a job. I like jobs. They pay for things. As a gigabuhzillion other Americans have been doing, I have carefully crafted resumes and cover letters that I thought would make me look like a clear frontrunner. I would like to believe it is NOT my skill as a writer that has failed me in this, but as I have no job, I do have to wonder what I’ve been doing wrong. Clearly the bulleted and abbreviated lists of my noteworthy accomplishments just don’t scream, “HIRE THIS ASSHOLE BEFORE SOMEONE ELSE DOES!” And, if I’m being honest, I would very much like a resume that screams in caps and calls me an asshole, but in a very chummy way.

And so this miscarriage was forced, wet and mewling, from my body and on to my cover letter:

“I’m going to try something a little different this time around, so please bear with me. To be completely forthright, I am really good at doing stuff. Really good. And all sorts of stuff.”

Yeah, so wish me luck on that. Elsewise, I will be hunting down rabbits for their feet.

Also, here are two pictures of me with babies. I think that people like to hire people that know people who have babies. The only difference is how people like to see you interact with babies. Lucky me, I have range.



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Posted by on June 12, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Third Response: A Nibble

So, my third query return today was from the most recent I sent. That means that two of the original three are still out in limbo awaiting a response. Even so, this little nibble is step one! Certainly there is no guarantee that this particular agent will take on the manuscript, but she is a lot closer to it since she’ll be reading the whole thing.

After I gave myself a little pat on the back and sent the entire MS on, I received a reply that was pretty much as I imagined it would be: “Thanks. My response time is woeful right now (about two months) so I appreciate your patience.” Chances are that the agent has teetering stacks of manuscripts waiting a good thorough read. Last in gets shuffled to the bottom, so I’m looking at a good long wait without word. Or, possibly, this agent shares a single eye with two other agents and they have a tendency to fight over who gets it for reading time.

Should another agent contact me to look at the manuscript, I will give myself the same gentle back pat and add another chunk of waiting time to my calendar. The only possible problem arises if two or more agents, after having read the whole MS, decide they would like to represent me. This is a problem I would take on with as much glee as I could without looking like an absolute ass. For now, I’ll keep on as I have been and send another query in place of this response so that I’ll maintain three active queries.


Posted by on June 1, 2012 in Uncategorized


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