Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Update from the Query Trenches: Still a Moron, Still in the Game

The good news: After my undeniably sucky form rejection on my full, I received two partial requests (Yay!)

The bad news: I failed to learn my lesson about Exhausted Querying after my first big Querier Boo Boo.

Obviously I managed to get at least two right, but I know I screwed up at least two more very, very badly. After going through the trouble to revise my query letter yet again, and actually thinking it kind of rocked this time, I set out to query a few more agents, two of whom had just re-opened to submissions.

For agent # 1, I spent so much time making sure I'd spelled her name right and personalized the letter with reasons why I'd chosen to query her that I forgot something sort of important: the sample pages.

That's right. The sample pages specifically requested on their website. The same sample pages I claim to have included in my query letter. Yup. Somehow managed to hit send without them.

I realized my mistake as soon as I did it, and even as I banged my head against the desk, I managed to get query # 2 right.

But then, I tempted fate. I decided to send a third.

And know what I did this time? Oh, that's right. I forgot to delete the personalization from my first query letter, which claimed I was a follower of both her blog and Twitter. And I'm pretty sure this agent has neither.

I know exhaustion makes crazy things happen, but seriously, I'm no query rookie at this point. How the heck did this happen?

Please make me feel better, peeps. Regale me with your stories of stupid query mistakes. If you don't have any... make one up! I don't want to be alone in this!


  1. Don't worry! Everyone makes mistakes and there are TONS of agents out there for you to query. Every little mistake makes you better at what you do! Besides, you have two partial requests! Some authors don't even get that far, so you've got to be doing something right. Hang in there. Sending some good Karma!

  2. I once copy-and-pasted a personalized letter (complete with personal details) that had been sent to a friend's agent to an editor I really wanted to make a good impression with...and I forgot to remove the gal's name, much less the details. The next day, the editor had promptly emailed back with the message attached and a note that read: "I think this belongs to you." I was mortified. A year later, I still have not recovered enough to try sending my mss. to that editor again.

    FYI, I found you completely by accident on Twitter and enjoyed reading your blog. I'll be back. Us wannabes have to stick together. ;)

  3. I mispelled an agent's name (which was easy to spell) and then emailed back to apologize. Fortunately the agent wasn't a big deal so I wasn't heart broken with the rejection.

    And then there was the time when I filled in an online form and mispelled MY name. The stupid cursor was over a letter and I didn't see the typo until it was too late. Talk about embarrassing.

    But now you know why I'm not in a big rush to query. NOT making a mistake freaks me out more than the rejections.

  4. So, I can't think of any stupid mistakes I've made (unless you count querying at all. But that's just the rainy weather talking.)

    Seriously, though - not being able to think of any mistakes freaks me out even more, because I'm SURE I've made bunches, and just don't realize it.


  5. awe, poor Gina!!! We all have our battle scars my dear. I just figured if I didn't query right I'd resend in eight weeks like nothing happened or perhaps it was just fate trying to tell me they weren't the right agent:) Just stay in the game!

  6. Ugh, I always do something wrong in queries, I feel like! Now I write the queries and wait a full day before sending them to make sure I check EVERYTHING over. It's so frustrating!

  7. I'm not sure what stupid query mistakes I've made, but it seems like every time--EVERY. TIME.--I get a partial request, I forget to attach the partial to it. (And yahoo doesn't have gmail's handy "Oh, you said you were attaching something, but you didn't attach it" message.)

    Oh, and, you know, the part where my MS has NO FORMATTING because OpenOffice hates me, so I have to send out my full again. >.<

    But it'll be okay! Agents realize that people make mistakes, especially with the "forgetting to attach/include sample pages" thing.

  8. Oh, boy, that is kind of bad, but don't worry, it's not as bad as this.

  9. Well, I say let's have a brief pity party. For my YA dragon story, I sent out at least 40 queries and got 1 request for a partial. And that was my second round of querying after doing some updates to the story. So enjoy your moment. Have two glasses of wine. I'm working my third :-)

  10. The good news is that they get so many they likely won't remember you. I'm with query girl. Just wait eight weeks and resubmit. I sometimes think we make more mistakes by trying so hard. I know I obsess to the point of making things worse most of the time. Best of luck with your querying. :)