Jul 7, 2011

The road to query success

I'm a slow learner. It's taken me years to realize this (ha!) because in school, when someone is handing me information or on the job when I have to think quickly, I was one of those kids who rolled her eyes at every question and wondered why everyone else was so dense.

So in my first query experience this past year, I did all the wrong things. I queried too early and had no idea there were so many web sites to get critiques on a query. Also, my first pages weren't great AND my concept was overused. Honestly, if I had to do it over again, I wouldn't have written the WIP for that last reason. But I had no idea of any of this until I queried and was rejected. Our of 54 queries, I had 5 requests and no offers. Yikes. So I shelved the MS and wrote Saving Andromeda in six weeks.

This time around, I wrote my query when I was halfway through my MS. I posted it on several boards - including an agent critique on Pitch University. The agent who reviewed that rough query wants to see pages when I'm ready to seriously submit. (Yay!) I revised the query about five times w/ input from betas and decided to send a test query to this agent who has fast responses and is also totally awesome. I sent it two days ago, figuring it was July 4 week and it'd take her a few weeks to respond. My plan was to use that time to polish and revise in case she bit. (I didn't think she would, tho - she's awesome, but her list doesn't include a lot of YA mysteries and her standards are high.)  She responded with a partial request five minutes later.

So now I know my query rocks. I'm also much more confident in my story  - it's based on a true crime in Nova Scotia that's haunted me all my life.  Hopefully these two elements will get me an offer this time around...as long as I don't rush revisions.

So  - do you have a query success story? Or how about a revision method (outside of critique groups) that works for you? How do you know when to ignore your beta?



Emily Rittel-King said...

Awesome story! I hope you have a great success in your querying process. It feels incredible to know your letter is on the right track. Bravo!

Nancy Thompson said...

Gosh, I went through so many of the same things that you did. It's trial and error and lots of practice. I received 4 requests from my first query, so I knew I was on the right track. I keep honing it though and after many, many versions, I hope I've finally found the right one.

Good luck to you!

I'm a new follower.

Pk Hrezo said...

Hi, Melodie! Nice to meet you. Wow you live in Alaska? How cool. My hubby and I love it there and can't wait to bring our kids some day. How awesome about your fast request!! You are definitely on to something there. By knowing you can write a good query, it's one less thing to worry about so you can focus on your ms. Best of luck with it! I hope to hear some good news from you soon! :)