A Query a Day...

You're familiar with the tortoise and the hare. Slow and steady wins the race. 

Over the past 5 years, I've sold 100 short stories to various publications. Looking back, I might be tempted to think of those tales as little hares, sprinting past my novel-length projects and giggling with glee as they were snatched up by editors, maybe blowing a raspberry at certain novels that have been out on the query circuit for millennia.

The truth is, plenty of those short stories demanded a whole lot of excruciating patience while out making the rounds. Many went through 20 or more rejections before finding a good home. But even so, the novels I wrote over 5 years ago still haven't hooked an agent. They're definitely plodding tortoises in this extended metaphor.

This year, I set a new goal for myself: representation or bust. I'm determined to query my brains out. But have I, really? No. My brains are fully intact. More to the point, I haven't queried nearly as much as I should. 10 queries a day? More like none.

Until this past week. I decided to query Those Who Wait and After the Sky every night when I got home from work. That's right. After trying to teach 7th and 8th graders all day, I sent out one query for Those Who Wait and one for After the Sky. Two queries a day to two separate agencies. Definitely doable.

I didn't expect responses right away. Most agents take more than a month to reply. And when they do, it's usually "I don't think I would be a good fit for your work." 9 times out of 10, that's what I get. Not surprising. I don't write what's popular. I write weird stuff.

But within 24 hours of querying last Wednesday, I received a partial request for After the Sky and a full request for Those Who Wait. Suddenly, two of my tortoises had new life breathed into them. They're ready to give those 100 hares a run for their money. Add to that a small press requesting the first 3 chapters of Madame Antic's Hotel Grotesque... and it's been a good week for querying. Slow and steady, folks.