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.



So this thing that manifested out of my brain, this book I wrote.
For me this book started a long time ago, before I even knew it was a book.
I'm not going to do a whole lot of talking about the book just yet, mainly because it's not really a book. It's still just this Word doc saved on my computer. Anyways I did want to share some of the things that inspired me to get all of this out of my head and on to paper.

So PostSecret is amazing. Every postcard has its own story just begging to be unraveled. The site is updated every Sunday with new secrets. If you've never heard of it check it. PostSecret is  undoubtedly one of the most amazing communities I've ever come across.

This song, THIS SONG you guys. Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero. I listened to this song on repeat for hours at a time.

And lastly, Devil Town by Bright Eyes (I think it's originally by someone else, but this is the version I prefer.) When I heard this song, I said to myself I HAVE TO WRITE THIS BOOK. For me this song, completely created my setting. In fact I practically built my setting around this song. Pretty damn cool.


 So that's all I've got for now. If you haven't read my last post you should, because all this business will make a hell of alot more sense.


Let's Cut the Crap: In Which I Make a Confession.

You know I'm not blogging.
I know I'm not blogging.
So the question is what am I doing? *hushed whispers roll through the crowd*
You guys. YALL.
I'm writing.
And basically I had to grow a pair in order to come out and say that just now.
That's the short version of this post and here, my friends, is the long version:

Most of you know that I graduated in December with a Bachelors in Political Science, which was awesome and I loved it. My program was awesome, my profs were awesome. It was awesome. Awesome was awesome.
But it was so so so intense, I spent three years learning about countries, diplomat etiquette, obscure political parties, court cases that address consensual adults who engage in sodomy, and dumdum bullets (among other things :)).
All of those things are really freaking cool, so cool that they could make your head explode.
And mine almost did.
Until I started reading YA (young adult) books again. I began to devour YA in all shapes and sizes.  I had dabbled in YA and middlegrade before, but this was a whole new chapter in my obsession.
Originally, in the infancy of my Bachelors, I had planned to major in English. I even took a couple of creative writing classes (where I met my husband, win!) under the guise that I was interested in editing or even technical writing. I told my friends and professors I wanted to be well-rounded should I decide to go into publishing, so I took creative writing.
I said that to people because letting people think you're not fully vested in something you love is alot less scary than showing people how much you actually care. I thought if I convinced myself that I didn't care about the product I was producing it wouldn't hurt when people teared it to shreds. blah blah blah.
So creative writing classes, guess what?  It was freaking awesome.
You know what else? It's really fucking scary to admit to people that you want to be a writer.
I mean, shit, that's a loaded statement. People ask things like: what do you write? can I read it? Those unassuming and innocent questions, over time, morph into things like: You're not published yet? Aren't writers published? How do writers get paid? Is that a real profession? I love to talk about my writing, I do, I promise. But making that initial admission to people that you write. That's some scary shit.
OK I've gotten a little off track.
Anyways I took an AMAZING government class that made me feel like an empowered, aware citizen so I changed my major and stood on my political soap box until I graduated. (I still pull my soap box out of the closet for special occasions.)
So here I am, a college graduate, twiddling my thumbs.
This is what I know:
1. I don't want to go to law school. I don't hate myself enough to do that.

2. Getting a poli sci masters sounds interesting, but I don't want to be a prof, I don't want to research, and I absolutely do not want to work for a politician, let alone be one.

3. I love YA books (All books really, I read some adult books. Promise). Still. It hasn't changed, not a bit, not even wavered ever so slightly. YA books are something I've always come back to. When I was dirt poor after high school and couldn't even afford community college I picked up every Holly Black or Ellen Hopkins book I could get my hands on at used book stores or libraries.

4. I love libraries. They combine my love of books and a little bit of my love for government (THESE BOOKS ARE MADE AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC VIA THE GOVERNMENT, how cool is that you guys??? And, also FREEDOM OF SPEECH ANYBODY?) Deciding to get my MLS is the easiest decision I've ever made and I will do it someday. But not today. Because right now I am on a damn roll. Words are vomiting out of my brain and I want to make sure I can write them down.

As a dear friend recently told me, grad school will be there in January (when I had originally planned to start) and it will be there next year and the year after and so on, but this writing mojo I've got going. This thing may not always be there. So I'm going to pursue this for now.

Anyways, all that to say: I wrote a book you guys.

Not only did I write a book, but I wrote it in three weeks. And you wanna know what? I really like it. And some other people do too and that's cool.
So maybe I'll never get an agent and I'll never sell my book. Maybe it's really not all that good, but that's okay. I wrote a book and some people like it and I never in a million years thought I would ever be able to say that.
I never thought I would be able to admit how much I love to write. And that's really freaking cool, you wanna know why? (Life lesson moment you guys.) BECAUSE I'M GROWING AS A PERSON. I don't care if I do this and fail, because the point is that I'm doing this.
So don't be afraid. It's silly and you're wasting your time.
Do what you're scared to admit you love, because WHO GIVES A SHIT IF YOU SUCK?? YOU'RE DOING WHAT YOU LOVE. And that, my dear friends is really freaking cool.
If I don't need an agent or an editor to write than you don't need a gallery show to paint or whatever it is you do.
Life isn't about "what do I want to be when I grow up?" Life is about "what do I want to be today?" and today I want to be a writer. (disclaimer: long term goals are awesome too.)
That is my life lesson for this year. Heed my life lessons, they are few and far between.


ps- for the record I still love to talk politics and make your ass grass with my mad knowledge of random shit like international pirating (ahoy!) laws.
oh! And if you're still interested in book reviews, I'll be posting here once in a blue moon. And leave me a comment because I'm a narcissist in desperate need of reassurance.