Unfortunately, I think we’ve all been there. Your query has been flying to agent inboxes for months, maybe years, with nothing but form rejections coming back. The occasional partial or full request might get your heart pumping, but a few weeks later you get that email that says, “Nice try, SUCKA!!!”
And you know what? You knew that was going to happen. You’re at the point where even seeing an email from an agent in your inbox with the subject line RE: QUERY – MY OVERWORKED MS doesn’t put butterflies in your stomach so much as bile. You know it’s a rejection, you know because your request rate has dipped like that heart monitor on a zombie. There’s no life in there.
So what do you do? Feel sorry for yourself for a bit, definitely. Commiserate with some crit partners, sure. Give up and die? Well… lets not do that quite yet.
Was that story the only one you have in you? If it was, then sorry, you’re not a writer. Maybe you thought this was THE ONE, the story that would break down walls and land you on the cover of… something. But it’s not looking good, so what else is in there? Have you been writing, or sending off emails to agents with your fingers crossed and pre-patting yourself on the back?
Hopefully you’ve been writing, ’cause that WIP might be your saving grace. Take it from me – my first YA ms had been on the query path for two years, and had racked up over 130 rejections. Yeah, you read that right. Reality had sidelined me from writing anything new for awhile, so I was going the “crossed fingers” route. Not particularly helpful, or productive.
I was also feeling sorry for myself, which is about as productive as planting seeds and watering them with Roundup.
So I wrote a new story, scripted a fresh query and got request rates that had my head spinning. I had an agent within a month.
Jogging out the old ms with a tired query is like squeezing yourself into last year’s jeans and hitting the town looking for that special-someone. You’ve got some muffin-top going on, your lipstick is feathering cause it expired six months ago, and your roots are showing cause you can’t be bothered to buy a new bottle of hair dye.
A fresh query makes you feel like you just went to the salon, had your teeth whitened, and got a boob job all in the same day. You feel like people are looking.
And that feels good.