… and not what I do.
Yesterday, I’m working on querying. I think I’ve sent out a grand total of about 15 query letters so far, and only about 2 with my SHINY NEW QUERY.
Shiny new query.
Me, researching agents.
I’m researching this one agent (‘stalking’ might be more appropriate?) to find out what she likes. Because if at all possible, it’s good to personalize your query letter a bit. Show that you’ve done your homework. And also that you’re not just mass querying.
Anyways, there I am, researching this agent, getting excited. Because she likes the same things I like. She says she grew up with brothers (like I did). She says she’s looking for pretty much exactly what my novel is. I spend ten minutes reading and re-reading her profile page on Manuscript Wishlist, already envisioning her as my agent, becoming the champion of my novel.
I’m thrilled. You know, it just feels right.
So I start a new email, and copy in my shiny-new-query that I’m really proud of. Play around with the wording of my introduction and conclusion, personalizing it and making it sound interesting. Making myself sound professional and yet relatable. Perfect it.
Read over it one more time, scanning for typos or errors. I check and double-check that everything is perfect. I’m biting my lip with anticipation.
I hit send.
Then switch back to my other browser window, with agent’s information on it.
And my heart stops at what I see.
Please copy the first ten pages of your manuscript into the email.
Guess what I forgot to do? Copy the first ten pages of my manuscript into the email.
So, let this be a lesson to all of you querying-peons out there:
Don’t forget to double- and triple-check the submission guidelines. Agencies all ask for different stuff. Some just want a query, some want a 3-page synopsis, some want the first 3 chapters. Some want the first 10 pages copied into the email.
There’s about a 100% chance that even if this agent reads and loves my query letter, she will delete my email because I failed to follow her instructions. As she should.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go bang my head against the wall some more.
(And then get back querying, being extra extra extra careful about the submission guidelines.)