Dear Publisher and/or Agent:

It was an interesting experience.

Sending out my first query letter, I mean.

I hemmed, I hawed, I had so many doubts I was surprised there was a positive thought left in my brain. I stared at my computer screen, willing something more intelligent, something far funnier, something with more wit, to come forth and show these people I so desperately want to impress that hey, I’m soooo worth it. My heart pounded as my mouse hovered over the “send” button. I checked, re-checked, and re-re-checked my email to make sure I hadn’t misspelled anything and that I’d remembered to attach the correct documents.

I promise, I didn't look like this.

And then I became surprisingly blase about the whole deal once the email was off my screen. Huh.

I actually sent out two query letters this past weekend. One for the Liz Norris Pay It Forward contest (deadline is the 15th! You’ve still got time!), and one to Entangled Publishing. I fretted over the wording of my query to Janet Reid, because she normally doesn’t accept queries for romance projects of any ilk. The contest was open to fiction of all kinds, though, even genres she doesn’t normally read, and I’d been debating whether to mention it in my query.

In the end, I did. I’d taken the time to find out what she normally would look for, and I wanted her to know it, and that it was my hope Shadowdemon would change her mind. We’ll see how that gamble plays out.

The query to Entangled…that’s a whole ‘nother animal. When you’re submitting a query, you sometimes have the option of sending a general query, or to a specific person. Entangled gave me both options, and as I was uncertain which imprint Not About Love would work for, I opted to send it to the editor who reviewed queries for both the main line (Entangled) and the category line (Indulgence).

Except they have different submission guidelines. Crap. Crap crap crap crappity crap crap CRAP.

So I headed on over to their “Contact Us” form and sent them a question: do I submit based on manuscript length, or which imprint I thought it would be the best fit for?

Within 20 minutes I had a response from the publisher. Mind you, it’s 7PM on a Friday night, and most sane people would be long gone from the office by then. After several emails back and forth (and this all takes place in under an hour, mind you), it’s suggested I submit using the guidelines for Indulgence, with a request that if it doesn’t work for them, to forward it to the main line for their consideration. I did, and received a response from the editor in question the next morning, asking that I submit the first three chapters as a Word doc (rather than the cut and paste into an email job that’s on the submission guidelines) along with the full synopsis.

Synopsis. Um. Probably should have written that a long time ago. If I thought editing and writing query letters was hard, writing a synopsis leaves those in the dust in terms of difficulty. They suck. Hardcore. The synopsis is in third person, present tense (easy enough) but it should have enough of the sass and flavor of the original work to make someone want to, oh, I don’t know, actually read the submission.

At any rate, I’m pretty happy with my first foray into begging people to read my work. The experience I had with Entangled, even if they reject the story, was positive enough that I’ll probably query them again in the future.

After I’d sent off both queries, I spent the rest of the weekend sitting on the couch, watching the NCAA selection show (what idiot decided it would be a good idea for Gonzaga to play West Virginia in the first round?!) and generally being lazy. The queries were done. I didn’t have a project to work on. I could stop worrying.

So I did.

Although you wouldn’t know it by how many times I checked my email today.


6 thoughts on “Dear Publisher and/or Agent:

  1. Aren’t you glad that’s over–the first query? Now you can relax, you’re almost a pro. Of course now you gnaw your knuckles wondering how they will respond. It never ends–always the angst on something. Good Luck.

  2. Thanks! I’m actually doing okay so far…I figure if they say no, there are others out there that won’t. Of course, by the time I get around to rejection number 75 (or some such number) I might be a bit more anxious ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Receiving a rejection letter is liking your first break-upโ€”it stings. The only thing that seems to be helping me through agent rejection is my refusal to quit. Don’t quit Amanda! Attend a writer’s conference, it’s amazing how many talented writers there are out there looking for an agent. Good luck! ๐Ÿ™‚

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