Ever since I came close to querying, I've felt an incredible amount of impatience. I had this almost irresistible urge to query, to move on with the process. I've been writing for two years now with technically nothing to show for it. I'm sick of people asking how it's going and not being able to tell them anything concrete. And frankly, I want validation for my work. I've worked hard, but more importantly, this book is really good.
In light of the above-mentioned impatience, I queried Safira, and now I believe I did it too early. Not only was it too early, but I was sloppy about it. When I went back and revised recently, I found that there were errors - even typos - in the excerpts I had sent to agents. That is so embarrassing, and after all the hard work I've done, typos are NOT representative of my work or my potential as an author. I misrepresented myself. I sabotaged myself. And I may have done it in more ways than one. Here are the possibilities that I've considered for why I met so much rejection:
- My sample pages were imperfect.
- My book was misidentified in terms of genre/demographic.
- I queried the wrong agent.
- My query letter was bad.
I'd like the amend the last item by saying that my query letter was not poorly written. I think it's a beautiful letter, but it does several things wrong. It's too esoteric, it doesn't get to the point quickly enough, and it assumes previous knowledge of my work on the part of the reader - not directly, but there are better ways to explain the book. Yesterday morning I wrote a new query letter that I hope corrects my earlier mistakes.
A few weeks ago, I would have sent that letter soon after deciding it was good. But now I'm going to wait. I'm going to send it to my mom and sister and have my husband give it a once-over. I'm going to put it aside and then pick it up and re-read it repeatedly to make sure it is PERFECT. I'm also going to finish the round of revisions I began but did not complete last week. I'm going to finish revising and re-read new passages until I'm certain that the work is the absolute best I can produce. Before, I thought I couldn't afford to wait until Safira was perfect. Now I know I can't afford to send out anything less.