The Dreary Query; in which I stand in front of the world naked

Note: apologies for the formatting on this blog, HTML had a mind of its own on this one.
Uhhhh ok. So I started querying. So here's the deal 99.9% of my friends are not writers and 80% of them do not share my reading tastes. So here it is for you simple minded people. A query letter is a letter sent to a literary agent in which you request their representation. Should the agent  offer you representation they, in turn, attempt to sell your novel.

Okay so that doesn't sound so bad, right? Hey mister my books super good, will you be my agent?
Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. It's horrible. Here's the true story: You write this thing and it's pages
and pages and pages of words that have been festering in your belly. You have horrible moments where the computer screen looks like a freaking brick wall and if you have beautiful aha! moments where the world feels right and perfect. All of these painfully beautifully moments comprise the writing process, or at least they do for me. Anyway you go through this intensive labor of writing and you finish and you want the world to read your book.
So, what do you have to do? You have to find an agent... and that's only the beginning. This agent wants you to explain your characters, plots, and the sheer essence of your book in just a paragraph. Then they want to hear a little bit about you, but only a little, and really only what's relevant to you as a writer... what qualifies you to write this book, that's what they want to know. Then they want you to tell them a little bit about why you chose them? That doesn't sound bad right? Wrong, sit down and google someone. Anyone. Then write that person an email telling them why they're qualified to do what they do and what attracts you to them.
It's really fucking hard you guys. Querying is not for the faint hearted or the weak minded. AHHHHH. so that's where I am right now. Oh and by the way... some agents have ridiculous wait times, like months. And even after that some of them never respond, because for some agent no response = no. But there are those few who respond in days.
Here's another kicker, some of those agents who respond just send you a form letter that starts out "Dear Author: blah, blah, blah." Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful for the finality of that form rejection letter, but man it sucks to be a nameless face. By the way when I sent out my first letter, I threw up. Not like blowing chunks throw up, think more over excited senior citizen cat throw up.

Querying is like when you're a little kid and an older sibling/cousin/random stranger grabs your hand and hits you in the face with your own hand while saying "Stop hitting yourself" OVER AND OVER again. That basically sums it up.
So anyways, because you're all joysucking vampires, you're really just hear to know my stats thus far. I started querying last week and this is what I've got:
Queries Sent: 6
Rejections: 3
Queries still in outerspace: 3
Now because I'm a master statician, I'm going to break down my rejections for you (while keeping the agents anonymous).
Note: After I had sent out three letters, I had an epiphany and COMPLETELY rewrote/reorganized my first chapter, and I got really positive feed back from some select test readers so I decided to go balls out and send it my last three agents.
Rejection #1: I received a form response from a BIG BIG BIG agency whose clients are pretty commercial and not so literary and/or edgy. Now because they represent such commercial friendly clients, they are easily accessible and receive major query traffic. Plus they promise a response within two weeks, which I have to admit was the deciding factor when I sent in my query. So I wasn't disappointed or discouraged by they rejection because they weren't my top pick or close to my top pick but you always want someone to want your book, so that's a little rough. But I did send them my old chapter versus the new rewritten version!
Rejection #2: This rejection was a little harder to swallow, because I basically idolize this agents clients. However, this agent comes out of a small boutique agency so if their client list is full, it's full. Regardless, I took my chances. And by the way I received my rejection from this agent on a Saturday morning (which is unusual) AND this agent's policy is no response = no. So albeit a rejection I was encouraged by a personalized reply, especially since I was expecting no reply if she wasn't interested. This agent kept it short and sweet.... but I almost cried because it was positive.... a positive negative if you will! The email simply read: "Hi Julie, It's good but I'm just not looking right now. Good Luck!" You guys I cried, and I'm not a crier AT ALL. I've got some thick skin, but after a week of one rejection and an otherwise empty inbox, those thirteen words rocked me to my core. Not only did I get a personalized response from a no response = no agent, but to me this agent's opinion is as big as Mount Everest.

I haven't sent off to my dream agent I'm holding off for a bit, sort of testing the waters.
Rejection #3: I literally just found out about this rejection like five minutes ago. It was to my first agent (so old first chapter) and their policy is no response = no. But here's the caveat, they keep a blog saying how many queries are in their queu, and they have looked over all of their queries so if you haven't heard yet you're not going to.... which I'm okay with this rejection.

But here's some awesome news! I won a contest! the prize was a query letter critique and a first chapter critique from published author Lisa Desrochers! So I've kind of slowed the query train down a bit until I hear back from her.

So there you go you guys, that's where I'm at.

And by the way my working title is....
Homesick for Goodbye!

And my most amazing critique partner Ashly made me this LOVELY tote using an image created by Kristin, my Yoda reader. oh! and Kristin had a spiral copy of my manuscript made, which basically made me pee my pants. Literally. It was awkward.
That's all for now, leave a comment. I need your affirmations to continue on. I'm serious... ya know how in Peter Pan, Tink dies if people don't believe in her. Well I will die unless you write a comment. Comment = Julie Life Juice. FACT.


  1. I'm really glad you wrote this. Querying is like a dirty little secret that you're not supposed to ask about, BUT YOU JUST WANT TO KNOW ALREADY. Thanks for sharing the dirty details ;)

    *crossing my fingers*

  2. Are the queries much different from company to company? All of those responses seem pretty positive. Best of luck finding an agent!

  3. Now I know why I am so terrified of querying! Rejections suck but I know you are going to hear good news just as soon as the right agent reads HFG.

    Thanks for the post, although it took me a LONG time to read it. (Ha! I'm not good at reading vertically.)

  4. @Daniel every agent has different specifics for their query letters so yes!
    @Ashly vertically? Am I missing something? :)