Like a Blind Date

Let’s revisit how I feel about querying, shall we?

Remember I said it’s like trying to date the Quarterback?

Well, it’s also like going on a one-sided blind date. Which is super awkward for the person who’s going into the date blind.

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Sam Hunt has a song right now that I LOVE so much. It’s titled TAKE YOUR TIME. Now, if you don’t know this song, you should listen to it right now.

Go on. I’ll wait.sam_hunt_0_1418211245

See. Told you it was a good one. Now, I get that it’s more romance-y than querying, but think about it. (From a non-stalker point of view.)

I do want to take an agent’s time.
I know their name.
I don’t mean to be a bother, but I do have to say HI and see if we’re meant for each other.

But that’s super awkward when they have no clue who I am and I come out of the woodwork. It’s so much easier to personalize (hence, the word) a query when yanno, you’ve MET IN PERSON.

Cold Queries are COLD. And standing out isn’t a piece of cake unless you’re already a household name. Or have a career that has placed you on a perfect path for publication. OR USE YOUR VOICE, and present  a solid story pitch that has hook and heart.

So, my point is this. I queried FOR THE LOVE over a year ago to this *ONE*RAD*AGENT* that I’ve had my eye on for a lonnnngish time. The query was short, only told Lenox’s pitch, and was “complete” at 135K. Yeah. (Hey, don’t judge. I still had a lot to learn, and still do.)

She sent me a super kind rejection, and rightly so. She said she felt it was very interesting, but wasn’t right for her.

Since then, FTL and I have been through lots of  edits, and recently through the ringer, but it’s helped me, and the story grow. It now sits at 82K and I’m ready to try querying again.

So, what did I do yesterday?

That’s right. I sent out 3 queries.

1 went to *SUPER*RAD.*
1 went to a small press, that had taken interest in FTL, but the editor is no longer with company, leaving FTL hanging. (Did some research and was encouraged to resend it.)
And 1 went to a agent that is my BLIND DATE for the purpose of this story.

Well, here’s the part where I remind anyone out there in webville who’s reading this: AGENTS are human.

Some seem to be SUPERHUMAN, with their client lists and online presence and big personalities, but they’re really just super humans, with big hearts, unequivocal love for the written word, and tasked with the job of finding authors and stories to give us readers. They leave bread in the toaster as they rush out the door, buy milk, order contact lenses, and deal with auto-corrections in texts–just like the rest of us.

Based on some advice from a dear friend who takes time to mentor me occasionally, I prepared a new query for the agent tried over a year ago. I used the first sentence to announce just that, too. Here’s my query:

*Name of Agent,*

I admit, I queried you a year ago with this project. Right there might be reason enough to bypass me, but I wanted to resubmit FOR THE LOVE to you because it’s been through the ringer since that first query. I attended a conference–LDStorymakers 2015–and received some invaluable, critical feedback from an agent that I have applied to the entire manuscript. While it may not have been the project for you in 2014, perhaps it is now.

 

*BOOK PITCH*

 

FOR THE LOVE is a fantasy complete at 82,000 words. I’ve attached the revised first five pages as instructed—still love your website, by the way, and your fun facts on querying, and that you haven’t blogged in a while, story of my life, right there—and I’m kind of hoping to high heaven you deleted my first query. Then again, if you compare the two, maybe it’ll show my growth.

I look forward to hearing from you, and Cheers! for the new year.

Gina Larsen
*personal info*

 

Okay, so that fancy query got a killer reply in under 2 hours!

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Can I just say I was thrilled without sounding crazy? Sure, I wanted her to request pages, but look at that. So encouraging, so real, and so human. How many times have we fallen out of love with a genre, a series, or a character/authors work? Usually, it’s not because we hate it. We just need something ELSE. Something DIFFERENT.

I can’t fault her at all for her honestly or feelings.

I broke the rules, I think, because I replied back:

Response

 

AND YOU KNOW WHAT?

SHE REPLIED AGAIN!

 

She said 82K was perfect, and to definitely keep her in mind for the contemporary.

And that’s it, folks.

Be kind, have hope, and query on.

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I’ve been toying around with using my voice and personality to write a query to some agents that I’ve been looking at, and there’s days where it feels like I’m in a bar, hitting on them. Don’t wanna come on to strong, but I wanna be like Sam Hunt, and just put myself out there.

Think I could use this as intro to my query letter?

*Dear Agent,*

I’m one of those people who actually loved blind dates back when I was dating, but can we admit that a cold query letter is worse than a blind date? While I thrive the first few minutes of awkward introductions and find the get-to-know-you questions that follow delicious, that’s just not happening in a query. Still. Unless you put yourself out there, you never know. So, it’s no surprise that I write about Cupid.  Except, he’s not the Cupid you think he is.

Probably not, I know.

 

 

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