Can I take a sec to complain about the whole querying process? Of course I can- this is MY blog!
Since I have some time before I start querying again, and I'm well into re-editing, I've decided to use any extra waiting time to really research the agents I'm looking to query. Not that I didn't do that before- because I did. I read articles about them, read books they represent, even sometimes books they've written themselves. But here's the problem. Or problemS...
First of all, how do you come across in your query that you did your research without sounding like a brown-noser, or worse- stalker. Or do you mention nothing about it all, instead assuming that since you researched and KNOW that said agent is looking for your type of book, they will automatically understand that you did your research.
That sentence made no sense. Maybe I need to get back to writing.
Anyway, and then... sometimes there's really nothing you can find about said agent. Like, ok, they represent this book or that book, but if yours is exactly like it (or very similar) they won't want to represent you because it's too close to the client they already have. Or if yours is different, then they're going to think to themselves, this person did not do their research and therefore their query is going straight to the bin.
Or you read that they're looking for a compelling voice and good-storytelling. Well duh. What author who sends their book out doesn't believe that about their own book?
And then there's the whole issue of comparing. I have read that you NEVER compare your book to a bestseller. But should you compare it to a book no one but the agent has heard of? And then what do you say? No matter what you say, you're going to come across as either pretentious/egotistical or too humble/ unconfident. Or maybe that's just me.
And then of course, there's the simple fact that I've done TONS of research about querying and come up with one incontrovertible truth: there is NO ONE RIGHT WAY to query. Some agents want to be flattered. Others want authors to get straight to the point. Some like title and word count first off, others don't care if it's at the end of the letter. Where one query might work for one agent- that same query might get totally rejected by another. And that's even after you've followed the basic query format. ARGH!
And don't even get me started on the fact that most agents don't read the queries at all...
Ok, I'm done complaining. That was the despair before the action. Venting my thoughts and worries before I actually get involved in the querying process once again. Because once I do, I won't be worried about all that. I'll just be worried about making sure my query is the best-written, best-researched query letter it can be.