Happy First Friday of April!
April = spring
April = blog anniversary (7 years next week!)
April = my birthday (I've decided to celebrate for an entire weekend this year. Absolutely.)
So, first things first: I want to thank each one of you who took the time to offer your advice and encouragement last Friday. At first, I started to swim through the comments, meaning to respond to each one individually. But that didn't quite work for me. So please accept this public post as my heartfelt thank you to EACH OF YOU.
You offered me clarity. You helped me to see possibilities I couldn't see. I am so grateful.
I don't have an update for you. I'm supposed to know by the end of today whether or not I've made it to the next step, which I assume will be an interview. No matter what happens, though, I feel incredibly peaceful about it. What a precious gift you've given me!
Anyway. Let's talk about writing stuff. Specifically, QUERYING.
I admittedly haven't chatted about queries much recently. This week on Twitter, though, there was a small kerfuffle over a query letter sent by some hapless writer who apparently copied every agent in the Northern Hemisphere on the same email. Some of the agents, in their rejection emails, started to "reply to all", so it became a monstrous thing for a short while, much to the chagrin of the affected agents.
I'm absolutely certain that nobody HERE sent that query letter. For real.
I do want to throw a couple things out there, though, to those of you who are preparing to embark on your first--or subsequent--round of queries:
1. If nobody else has read your manuscript, PLEASE DO NOT QUERY AGENTS. It has surprised me to sometimes receive submissions for my editing business in which the authors inform me that I'm the first person to read the manuscript, and that they're planning on querying after receiving my feedback.
No. First of all, we all need critique partners. And that word is plural because we need to receive feedback from different people. "Different people" doesn't mean Mom or our fifth grade English teacher or our best friend. It means WRITERS WE CLICK WITH AND TRUST.
Please don't give your manuscript a once-through and then send it out. Please don't hire an editor--even if it's me--as your one-step-before-querying. Give your manuscript the time and attention it deserves. Make sure it REALLY SPARKLES before you send it out there.
2. Please carefully research agents before you send your queries. I'm sure this is a no-brainer for most of you, but when things like this week's query-to-thousands hit the internet, it reminds me that, yes, there are folks out there who are just beginning to navigate the scary waters.
It's easier than ever to research agents nowadays! When I first started querying (shortly after the discovery of fire), agents were just taking baby steps toward accepting e-queries. Agent Kristin Nelson actually had a list on her blog of agents who accepted email, and I remember being absolutely thrilled by this. Now, a decade later, it's hard to find an agent who will still accept snail mail. And it's also hard to beg the excuse that you don't know how to go about finding out which agents represent your genre. Almost all agencies and/or individual agents have web sites. Many have blogs. There are wonderful web sites like QueryTracker that offer easy-to-navigate agent information in one, convenient place. And, yes, there's Twitter (which is NOT for accosting/querying/harassing agents--but that's another post altogether).
So do your homework, please. Represent yourself professionally and thoughtfully, and you will have a fighting chance of rising to the top.
If you're in the midst of querying right now, give a shout out in the comment box. That way, we can cheer you on and offer a few high fives and fist bumps and probably something alcoholic.
Have a fabulous weekend, everyone! And thanks again for being wonderful.