Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Game of Queries

In my quest for Literary Representation I shall be thence forth called Tenacious C. Imagine an arena filled with agents, writers, and publishers. In the ring I am the one wearing a fiery red and orange spandex unitard with a big C emblazoned upon my chest.

A bit much? Maybe.

Okay, so a little while back an agent rejected me and that single rejection propelled me to a place I never expected to be. But let me back track a bit. (Insert Wayne's World Time Travel Effects.)

With my Editor requests, which I am so blessed and lucky to have, I went on a massive query fest. The quest did not go so well. Some of my writing peeps hit me over the head when inquiring about the epic query fail. They screamed at me to query agents who rep Commercial and General Fiction. See, I'd been limiting myself to agents who rep Women's Fiction and/or Romance. What was I thinking, I know, I know.

So, I cast my net wider. Got some bites. Then this kind agent told me she had to regretfully pass. Her plate was too full. But she went on to say she did not come to this decision lightly. That from my sample pages she could see why editors were reading my MS. Then she said something that changed everything. "If you're tenacious enough with this you will be successful."

At first I clicked it off into the another rejection pile. But her words kept coming back to me. One word in particular.



1.Not readily letting go of, giving up, or separated from an object that one holds, a position, or a principle: "a tenacious grip".

2.Not easily dispelled or discouraged; persisting in existence or in a course of action: "a tenacious legend".

Yeah, that sounds like me with this novel, my baby, my first born if you will. See, I'd read an article that said you probably won't sell "the book of your heart". It kind of deflated me. So much rang true but this book of my heart keeps beating within me. Something about it won't quit. As if it's tenaciously clinging to my bloodstream.

Anywho, two weeks later at a writing conference I pitched to an agent, Agent Lovely I shall call her. 

This pic reminds me of her. Lovely. Elegant. Poised. And ready to make coffee, bake a pie, and sit down for a nice long chat. Agent Lovely turned the pitch into a 20 minute lesson. She wondered why I didn't tell her immediately that editors are reading it and about my contest wins. She also asked about my query status. I told her the honest truth. Then she hit me over the proverbial head with a smile as if saying in that southern way, "Bless your heart." 
Agent Lovely informed me I am no a cold query. I have credentials.

Huh? Exsqueeze me? What the what? I haven't been published. I have no agent. How in the hells do I have Scribe Street Cred?

Hit over the head again. Bless my little naive heart again.

Her answer:Major publishing houses are considering my work and I do not have an agent. I won/finaled in contests.

Oh. That stuff. I never gave myself enough credit for all that. All that hard work, blood, sweat, and tears. And don't forget all those ledge moments, the cyber breakdowns, and woe is me phone calls to JAWS. I never let all that sink in and register. For me, without an agent I felt insignificant in this writing world. One among the masses.

Agent Lovely went on to tell me I should be querying agents by leading off with my contest wins and editors submissions. That I can even query those closed to submissions. The worse that could happen? I hear nothing. Big deal, she says. See, the fool I am thought this agent wouldn't even be interested in my work. Being that she reps mostly non-fiction and that Women's Fiction isn't even one of her genres of interest on her Agency Bio. But the conference bio did mention she is actively seeking WF. And she was. Agent Lovely went onto to ask for a partial. Yay!

All this agently advice settled in my wee battered noggin over the next week and Tenacious C emerged.

I re-queried agents who'd rejected me the year before.

I queried agents not open to submissions.

I queried agents via email when they only accept snail.

I tenaciously queried my tookus off.

To date, I have 11 total submissions, only one is a partial. I am still awaiting to hear news on 9. One invited me to revise and resubmit. They wanted to see some things changed. I'll wait to hear from the other agents before jumping into edits. Bottom line, this agent loved my story and got my characters in a way no one else has. Another agency extended an invitation to submit my full exclusively. So, if the other agents pass, I can send to them.

You have no idea how nervous, excited, superstitious, and superstitiously nervous with excitement I am. Hopefully my next post will be about how I now have a Literary Agent!

**Please, do not take this post as an invitation to query at will. I broke rules with this query fest but did so with the advice of professionals.**


  1. I feel you so deeply. I'm en route to queryland. I knock myself out to make sure I follow directions of the agent; some want a query and a proposal, others want a synopsis and first chapter and others still want a bio along with a proposal and query.I understand the plight of the agent, but sometimes.... Lord helps us all.

  2. I've been there. Let me tell you, perseverance does pay off.

    1. Encouraging words. Thanks Jamie

  3. May the tenacious force be with you!