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?