Just in case anyone is interested besides me…
I’m querying a WW2 historical fiction.
I submitted an earlier draft to the Athanatos Christian Writing Contest last fall- it made the first ‘cut’ but not the semi-finals. I received great professional feedback, and the novel is much stronger for it.
Currently, it stands at about 93,000 words. (Trimmed down from over 120,000.)
I’m planning to explore traditional publication options first, so I’ve got a list of literary agents worked up to submit to- three rounds of 7 agents each. Word on the street is that fall is a good time to submit, so I’m going with it! In the meantime I’m beating my head against the wall, trying to write a decent query letter.
The following is a little journal of my attempts. Thanks for visiting!
6/? Latest beta read done, a few scenes switched around, and trying to let the thing sit in peace for a while. The query letter wall isn’t getting any softer.
7/29 Update: Last round of editing by someone other than myself done. I’ve got a month, and then (gulp!) we’re going to give this a try.
8/18 Well, my first book proposal went out with the mail today! E-mail queries are just about ready to go next week. No, I’m not nervous… it’s just that this chocolate peanut butter ice cream is tasty…
8/21 …and round one is away! 🙂
10/9 I’ll admit, round one was a bit disappointing. I hadn’t allowed myself to hope for an offer. I HAD hoped for someone to request the full manuscript. Not this time. Not many responses either- I had been (perhaps being a bit naive) hoping to get some feedback via rejection letters if no one wanted the full. The response I’ve gotten so far was kind, and included some encouragement and advice on non-traditional options, so I shouldn’t complain.
I think it’s time to re-visit the query letter and see if I can improve it- I have a couple of ideas. Then…maybe it’s time to let round one go, and try for round two.
10/14 I hope I’m not rushing things, but I have started sending out some more query letters. Life is going to get crazier as November approaches, and it’s now or wait until spring. (I don’t intend to send out any letters right after Nanowrimo or during the holiday crazies.)
We’ll see what happens. It’s hard to tell by just reading a website and bits of social media and interviews, but I’m hopeful that I’m querying some people who would be good to work with- maybe they’ll feel the same way about me. 🙂
11/1/17 Well, round two is moving faster than round one, so it has that going for it! Out of 13 queries total, I’m up to 6 very polite ‘no thank you’ s. Ah well. In the grand scheme of querying, 13 isn’t many. Between some family…things, music and teaching and other obligations, I’m going to have to sit on the last round until after Christmas. After that…we’ll see.
1/29/18 I can’t really use “Christmas time!” as an excuse anymore. I’m revisiting my query letter, synopsis, and the manuscript itself, an getting my list of potential agents together. I intend to get my next round of submissions in before February is out. Deep breaths…
2/24/18 My query letter revisions are done, and I’m very pleased with the results. (Hooray to amazing friends who will give feedback and another set of eyes!) Of course only ONE of the agents I’m pitching to asks for a query letter alone. NOTE: If you’re querying, make sure you check your agent’s website for their specific wishes.
On to revising the synopsis, and my bio, and marketing ideas, and about fifty other things!
Four more days, and these letters are going OUT!
(A few hours later) They…are…done… Coffee????
3/7/2018 Last night I dreamt that an agent contacted me with an offer, but his e-mail was so full of spelling errors that I could barely read it! I wasn’t left with a great deal of confidence in his abilities…but then I woke up and didn’t have to make any big decisions. I suppose that’s good 🙂 (In real life, only one very nice rejection letter so far…)
4/4/18 Another response today…but it was a ‘no.’ Ah well. I’m about 6,000 words into the next manuscript and I’ve thrown my hat in the ring for a couple of writing contests. Moving forward!
5/1/18 The results are in, and I took second in a short story contest!!! It was a great experience, and all of the positive feedback was a nice contrast to a new ‘no thank you!’ letter. Between thoughts in the new rejection letter and the helpful critiques on the story story, I have some new ideas to consider for the story.
ALSO, a friend has been talking to me about her self-publishing experiences, how nice it’s been for her to have the freedom to control her work…and she designs awfully nice book covers…
6/1/18 And there it is. The last e-mail. The last word I’ve been waiting on, from query and contest, and it was a “No, thank you.”
I won’t say there aren’t a few tears- have I mentioned that my husband is awesome?- but, that’s that.
I’m not giving up on publication, but I AM taking a few months off from chasing it. Joining a writer’s group with some friends. Working on edits. Working on the second book.
And as to the next steps… we’ll see!