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Or, Why Query Writing Sucks!Getting published sucks.

Okay, so what I mean to say is trying to get published sucks. Getting published in and of itself is awesome beyond the boundaries of all awesomeness, or at least I imagine it is, for all I know getting published could turn out to be a dreadful experience, but I will take my chances and err on the side of awesomeness. Yes…it will be awesome.

However, getting to that level of almost unattainable awesomeness is like carrying a possessed ring to the top of a fiery volcano while fighting through Orcs and trying not to die alone the way. It’s like finding out you’re wizard, that you have to save an entire world, it taking seven years to do so and when it’s finally time, you have to die to do it.  It’s like being given an enchanted compass, traveling the world to find your friend only to hand him over to be killed, then journeying through the multi-verse just to defeat a terrible god-like entity only to discover that he is nothing more than an old dude in a box.

These literary allusions doing anything for you? No? Well then suffice to say it sucks.

Of course, the first step any new author must take is  the most damnable, awful, annoying, terrible, masochistic, torturous, nauseating step in the entire process.  Those with heart problems be warned! This revelation has been known to induce trembling and internal hemorrhaging simply at the mention of it!

It is the devil known as QUERYING. (**dramatic music, thunder and lightning, hail, all manner of plague, weeping and gnashing of teeth ensue**)

Querying is a sadistic practice in which a new, hopeful author creates a letter detailing themselves as an author, the general plot of their work and any other fancy-pants credentials that say to the agent “See! This says I can write a book!”.

Now, their are two types of queries, A GOOD query, and a BAD query.

Good Query: Dear (Agent), Hello, my name is (bluh-bluh-bluh) and I am seeking representation for my novel, Whatever, a 78,000 word expose on the trials and tribulations facing a young beaver as he journeys to the city…

BAD query: Dear Sir and/or Madam (or “to whom it may concern”, or the absolute worst, “dear agent”), I am totally pumped for what I’m ’bout to show ya! Its the bitchin’est novel since that one russian dude wrote than one book about that one thing! Prepare to blown away…

This may seem like I am being facetious, but I have read queries that are WAY, WAAAY worse than that last one. Look up “bad literary queries”, you will get positive treasure troves of examples of ACTUAL, real queries that are SOOO much worse! Why do I point this out? Because it is easy to see why these queries not only get rejected, but downright don’t even get read. However, my queries look nothing like this. They are prime examples of excellent letter writing skills with perfect grammar, excellent, concise exposition and perfect formatting.

How do I know this? Am I just full of myself? No, I know this because my queries get accepted all the time!

What?!

Hold up, what’s the problem then?

One word: waiting. This is beyond just simple patience or perseverance. We’re talking Jedi-like waiting. Weeks, sometimes MONTHS, of gainless, answerless, empty waiting. Like Yoda on Dagoba waiting for Luke in a swamp, waiting.

This waiting also has only one of two possible outcomes. In fact, the entire agent/publishing process only has two possible outcomes:

1. Get Published 2. Keep Waiting

I am the latter of the two. I have submitted over 75 queries in the last two years and have been rejected over 65 times. Yes, you read that right, there are some agencies that do not even bother rejecting you (which is a whole ‘nother rant entirely). The real kicker is that 25 of those rejections were to the first query, the rest, after I sent either sample chapters or the manuscript itself. Meaning that I waited not once, but twice to get rejected! The fun never stops!

Add to this the time to actually write and formulate the query itself, a process which if done correctly and personalized to the agent (which is a definite MUST DO if you EVER want your work to see the outside of a wastebasket. Believe me, my manuscript has seen the wastebasket, it and the wastebasket are friends, they vacation together, hell, they are thinking about filing a joint tax return…) can take hours or even days. If an agent then wants a synopsis you can go ahead and just kiss your life for the next few days adios. Seriously, synopsises are Satan. Try writing one if you don’t believe me, go ahead, I’ll wait….wasn’t that just horrible? I shudder at the thought…

However, at the end of the day, queries are part of the game, a game you have to learn to enjoy to keep from losing your mind before you start trying to make time machines out of Deloreans…I’m just saying…. My patience has been tested over and over again with this process, and the more it tests me, the more I am invigorated by the chase. Yes, queries suck…but so do spiders, yet without them the world would be taken over by mosquitos and horse flies.  (That analogy sounded really awesome in my head…)

So strap on your query kickin’ boots and get ready to take names! You can’t avoid them, so let’s show ’em what we authors are made of…

They can reject our BOOKS! But they can NEVER REJECT OUR FREEEEDDDOOOOM!!!!!!

*Now, I should take a moment to note that if you get a request to see any work at all, it is definitely something to get excited about. In fact, most people never seen that point in the process at all, so I realize how incredibly fortunate I am to have achieved the level of success in rejection that I have achieved. It still sucks that I have not been published. That is simply incontrovertible, but it most definitely sucks less! Yay for positive thinking! Snaps for you!

Question of the day: How many times have you been rejected?? Whether in trying to get published, find love, get a job, etc.? Leave a comment in the comment section below!!

Rejection is part of life, let’s share it with one another!

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