Queries, agents and more editing

On January 20, 2014, I started sending query letters out to agents. I read my book, the 2013 Writer’s Market carefully and have followed their suggestions step by step. It’s good stuff but sometimes needs  a bit of modification and personalization. For instance, the sample letter I found on their website seemed good but it didn’t provide me much of a response. No response in fact. And that is probably more the agent than the letter, but more internet research provided better examples from other agents. And now, I think I have a pretty good letter.

To date, I’ve sent out fifteen letters over the past three months. I have not heard back from eight agents which is the norm from what I’m learning. I have received six kind, polite and respectful “no thank you” emails. Each one couldn’t have been more polite and supportive. Very different from the negative experience I’ve heard a few other writers have experienced. But I’ve just started. I’m sure I have some ugly waiting around the corner, somewhere, sometime. But there was one same day response from a guy who wanted the entire manuscript. And within a week, he read it and sent the following response:

Dear Philip, 

Thanks so much for sending FATIZEN, which I read with great interest. Unfortunately, I’m going to be passing at this time. 

Fiction, as I’m sure you know, is just about the toughest thing to sell in the current marketplace. I need to really fall in love with something before I can even think of taking it on. Though there is much to appreciate here, I’m afraid that I ultimately didn’t believe I would be its best advocate.

Thank you again, sincerely, for the chance to take a look. I wish you all the best of luck placing this successfully.

I was thrilled that he read it. I would have loved more feedback but it was energizing to see what he had to say, and did’t say. Very polite and sweet but I know it needs more work. Something echoed by a few honest, terribly smart friends taking their time and providing me their line edits.

And then there is the magic. Or lack thereof. I was having trouble editing a scene in the camp and Delilah was looking at a rather plain room. It was circular with lots of doors. So I did some research on similar rooms and found the Harry Potter Wiki, http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Room_of_Doors. Rowling described a beautiful room. It was magical in its simplicity. Not overdone and delightful to read. I looked at my passage and heard one of my undergraduate professors whispering in my ear: there’s nothing magical about it. Knowing that’s my fear, it still made me think about the necessity of this round of edits. As much as I’d like to say I’m all done, I’m not. And that’s O.K.

2 thoughts on “Queries, agents and more editing

  1. Your agent replies, rejections, or no replies is on target, Philip. We know there are scenes that can use some beefing up or re-writes. If you can take the time, leave it alone for a month. Don’t even peek. Then, sit down and read it again with total concentration from start to finish, taking notes as if someone else wrote it. Say some of the scenes out loud. Listen to the language and descriptions. Then, and only then, think about changes. I’m standing by for the next go-around and sending you enthusiastic vibrations.

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