I've spent a lot of time online the last two weeks reading agency websites and creating a spreadsheet with all the agencies and particular agents that might be interested in Promise of Blood. I started sending out queries yesterday. In fact, I got my first rejection as I wrote this paragraph. Quick turnaround time on that.
So far I've sent out 21 queries. My list of agents to query: 67. I started with all the easy ones; that is, the ones that ask for a simple query letter and maybe the first chapter. I'm leaving the ones that ask for a one page synopsis (about half of them) until the end because I absolutely dread having to write that synopsis. I remember when I sent out queries for Butcher I spent days and days on the synopsis and still felt like it was stilted, listing, and totally useless in getting across the story of the book. There's just so much going on in a 150K word novel. How do I shrink it to 1 page?
Now, yes, my query letter includes a two paragraph blurb for the book. Of course. So you might ask, how is that any easier than a page? Well I'll tell you. It's easier because I can just sketch over the main storylines and the coolest concept and BOOM I'm done. When it comes to a full page things are different. Characters need to be introduced, concepts need to be explained, and twists revealed. You need to touch upon everything important that happens in 150K words all while making it coherent and interesting and you have what, 500 words to do it in?
Anyway. I'm interested to see how this goes over the next couple of months. Agency responce times are anywhere from one day to four months. Many of the agencies only respond if they are interested in hearing more from you. Most will send you a standard rejection.
It's going to be important to me not to let rejections get me down. I mentioned in the last post that my chances of being asked even for a partial are around 1 in every 200, give or take. If I keep getting more and more rejections I'm in the very real danger of getting depressed and discouraged. I can't let this happen. During this time I'm going to do a couple of subsequent edits on Promise and I'll also be moving back for my rewrite of Drums. This means I have lots of work to do and can't afford to get depressed.
I have often felt that I went about Butcher in the wrong way. I submitted to a single editor and only sent out maybe seven agent queries. The response I got from that editor was that he was not interested--there were a few flaws in my storytelling but that I was a very good writer and to keep at it and that another editor might actually like the book enough to buy it. Of course, instead of being energized and excited I fell off of my writing for half a year or more. I didn't send out any further queries or submit the manuscript to other editors. I just let it gather dust, wallowing in my video games.
Not gonna happen this time. I hope. I know the book is good. I know my writing is quality. I just have to keep at it until I get an agent. And if that never happens, I have to keep at my writing to make it better.