What’s The Query Hurry?
I’m getting close to jumping head first into the query trenches again. I had pulled Prophecy Ink when I got a bunch of form rejections. That was a sign that something wasn’t right.
But what? Was it the query letter? The Synopsis? Or the sample pages? Yes. Yes to all three.
I was in a hurry to query. Excited to get my baby out there. I had done everything I could think of to get it ready.
Except that I hadn’t.
I did revise, rewrite, and edit the heck out of it. I ran it through grammar programs and editing programs, and it was as polished as I could get it.
I had to swallow my excitement, disappointment, and pride and seek out honest opinions. I paid for a professional query package critique.
IT WAS AWESOME! I asked for brute honesty, not to hold back and it came back with (and I’m paraphrasing) “Nothing happens in the first chapter, the MC (the main character) does nothing and wanders about aimlessly. Make her have a purpose.” That comment and a whole lot of editing notes and I was floored. The query letter needed some adjustments and the synopsis some alterations, but they were in decent shape.
I had merged chapter one and two(after some feedback), and she was right. The merger caused the MC to lose purpose, and she wandered about for no reason. Damn.
Okay. Here’s the thing. I was ready for a hard truth. I got it, and I was thrilled! Now I know what’s wrong. I research how to fix what’s wrong, and I rewrite again. Tossing the chapter out and trying four different approaches until one screamed: “I’m perfect!”
So. I did some more research and decided I needed some random opinions. I reached out to my twitter tribe (people who I know are bound to be brutally honest and helpful), and I asked for help critiquing or beta reading my new chapter. Boom! So many wonderful Tweeps offered help. I didn’t agree to just anyone if I’d never interacted before, I said no thanks. It’s okay to do that, BTW. I got the feedback from them, and there was a unanimous response of positivity. Small issues easily addressed.
So now what?
I took my query letter to a workshop for querying, and I paid again to have my new chapter(10 pages) my revised query letter and synopsis re-critiqued. And the response was favorable. “Much better.”
But I didn’t jump back in. I had a few lovely people offer to critique the entire book. I was getting feedback on every chapter. Now some critique partners petered out and stopped sending feedback, this happens for various reasons. Busy schedules, lack of interest in the story, too much obligation, forgot, or even jealousy. Whatever the case, I didn’t sweat it, and I never harassed for feedback. It was kind of them to offer any at all, so I gladly took what I could get.
With the new feedback, I toned up my book and ironed out the wrinkles.
I’m on the last final revision, and then I’ll query again.
It’s taken months to get it back into shape. There is no hurry to query. I learned that rushing only gets rejections and I wouldn’t have learned how to not only recognize a problem, but I’d have missed how to fix it.
I’ll talk about what I’m doing to prepare for the actual queries next time.
My advice about hurrying to query: Don’t. Slow down, take your time. It’s a lengthy, extraneous process, and rushing will only end in disappointment and regret.
“Write what you love, and others will love what you write.”