Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Query Update

If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you’ve probably noticed that I haven’t posted any query updates for the last several months. As I mentioned in March’s update, I started working on a major revision in February, and I finished that at the end of May. Since then, I’ve been waiting, critiquing my guts out, waiting a little more, adding words to Steve, and waiting even longer.

Here in mid-August, I’ve heard back on most of those R&Rs, and since I haven’t announced that I have an agent, I guess you can tell how most of those turned out. The funny thing is, the vast majority of those rejections had more positive than negative things to say. They used words like “excellent” and “great” to describe the changes and praised the concept, the characters, the world building, the plot. Then they fell back on that ubiquitous, "But I just didn't fall in love." In fact, one agent seemed to be on the verge of offering (she was e-mailing every week or so, saying things like, “So sorry it’s taking so long, but I’m reading the manuscript and enjoying it and look forward to talking soon”), but ultimately, she passed, too.

Thankfully, the news hasn’t been all bad. I was corresponding with an agent several months ago, an agent who’d read and rejected one of Bob’s earlier drafts, and she mentioned as an aside that she was still thinking about him. She asked what his status was, and when I told her I’d just completed a revision, she let me know that she’d mentioned him to an agent friend and that said agent friend was interested. Said agent friend then e-mailed me--SHE e-mailed ME--and asked to see the manuscript. I’m still waiting to hear back from her.

Also, I picked up a partial request--or maybe a partial re-request--from another agent who'd read an older draft last fall, and just last week, another agent requested ANOTHER revision. In a couple of weeks, I’ll hit Bob’s SECOND birthday, and yet he refuses to take his place on the shelf. He’s tenacious, no doubt about that, and like any normal child, he’s made me laugh--and cry--more than a few times.

To be honest, I’m not sure where to go from here. I’m really enjoying Steve and how he’s progressing, but it’s hard to resist the siren song of an R&R. Maybe when Steve is ready for his first round of beta readers, I’ll have some time to dive back into Bob. The revisions won’t be nearly as extensive this time around, and maybe, just maybe, the third time really will be the charm…

(As for the numbers, I have to admit, I’ve lost track of how many queries I’ve sent, how many of those are still pending, and how many have turned into non-responses. I believe the total query count is somewhere around 80, but it’s hard to say, since I have re-queried a couple of agents.)

27 comments:

Alex said...

That's tenacity Krista, and good things are coming from it.

I have a question though, how do you go about requiring the same MS to agents after a revision?

Michael G-G said...

I loved your line about laughing--and crying!

Krista, it seems you are on the verge. Not the best place to be, perhaps, but better than being on the exit lane to nowhere. I admire your perseverance, and believe you will be rewarded. Please remember, your faithful readers are behind you and sending positive thoughts your way.

Your blog has been an immense help in my own journey through Queryland, particularly in getting to know the agents you interview. Thank you.

Magan said...

I feel the same way alot of days about querying. It's hard to keep yoru head up or decide to just work on something new.

I guess just listen to Andy Grammar and "Keep your head up."

I also decided for myself if the rejections are positive then it's a step in the right direction.

Lori M. Lee said...

All the positive response, in spite of the rejections, means you're onto something. You just have to find that right agent that clicks with the manuscript. I know you'll do it!

I started querying about a little less than two months ago. It's been pretty stressful, and I can only hope I've got as much tenacity as you! <3 Best of luck!

Chantele Sedgwick said...

Keep hanging in there, Krista! If the responses are more positive than negative you're doing something right. I'm crossing my fingers for you! **hugs**

Krista V. said...

Alex, when I've finished a round of revisions requested by an agent, I just e-mail the agent and ask her if she's still interested in taking another look. Every time I've done this, the agent's gotten back to me within twenty-four hours with a yes.

Michael, thank you for your comment. That means a lot. And you know, even if I'm not on the verge of something, I'll keep pounding out new stories. That's all you can do, right, when the writing's in your blood?

Magan, who says we have to pick? Let's keep our heads up AND work on something new! :)

Lori, querying is rough, and this is the roughest it's ever been for me. I think that's because I feel so close and yet so far away. Amazing how much querying is like playing Chutes and Ladders...

Thanks, Chantele. Maybe it'll be the last query I send out that will finally get me an agent:)

Pam Torres said...

I have to say I'm impressed with your tenacious attitude! I've just begun the query stage and have a ways to go before I meet your count. Thanks for the inspiration.

Ninja Girl said...

Grrrrrr, I am not a fan of the "didn't fall in love" line. It's like that whole "it's not you, it's me." :/ But as everyone has said, your attitude rocks! I saw this post by Beth Revis:

http://bethrevis.blogspot.com/2011/07/learning-curve.html

It's a video Ira Glass did on writing, and it really inspired me. The main message was just to stick with it and never give up, that your writing would get better in the end. It sounds like you're really close Krista, and I'm glad you're still keeping the faith :) Hopefully you'll get that big Yes soon!
Ninja Girl

Alex said...

I got it. I thought maybe you were requerying other agents with a revised MS.

By the way I'm starting a community query critique page on my blog.

http://boxingwithpencils.com/query-letter-critique/

The goal is to have all of us on the querying hunt send in our letters and week by week they get posted and critiqued from the community. So hopefully tons of useful feedback and everyone will get their letter critiqued!

Shallee said...

Way to keep working at it! Sounds like you've had some good responses. Good luck going forward!

Carol Riggs said...

Thanks for the update! I'm always curious how people are doing. Sounds like the normal ups and downs--and way COOL on an agent contacting you, as well as having agents say great things about your work. You are definitely on the right track!

Krista V. said...

Pam, thanks for the comment, and welcome to the blog!

Ninja Girl, I'm sorry to say my attitude doesn't always rock. (Just ask poor Amy Sonnichsen and Myrna Foster, who had to listen to me blubber through the ether a few days ago.) But I do my best to bounce back. And thank you for that link. I'll have to check it out.

Alex, I kind of re-queried a few agents who hadn't specifically requested to see a revision, too. There were a handful - like, two or three - that had requested previous versions of the manuscript, and I thought they might be interested in taking another look as well. Turns out one of them was. (Hers was the partial re-request I mentioned in the post.) As for how I tackled that, I was just totally upfront and honest about it in the query (i.e., "You read an earlier version of the manuscript last fall, and after changing this and this and this, I thought you might be interested in taking another look"). Hope that helps! (And thanks for the link to your new query critiquing series!)

Thanks, Shallee. I hope things are going well for you.

I hope I'm on the right track, Carol. I hope that every day:)

Bethany C. said...

WOW! This is super encouraging!! Of course you love Steve, but when you have a first child screaming at you, you have to pay attention to them, too!

Good luck. I smell tasty things in your future!

erica and christy said...

I'm sighing a big sigh for you. Close but so far away is a really yucky place to be - but at least you're close, right? (I know, that doesn't help much.) Keep loving your work and you'll get there.
erica

Tracey Wood said...

Krista, I admire you so much for baring your soul like this. We are all in the same boat and it's hard to be truthful about rejection (ie do I sound lame, what if an agent reads this, will it put him/her off???). I am going through all the agonies of querying, and also blogging (argh, public humiliation v you have to do it). -Well done! -Thanks! -And, me too!

Adam Heine said...

Sounds like we're in a similar place. I finished a major revision of my novel (Air Pirates) and am sending it out again. Lots of requests. Lots of positives, but so far combined with "I just didn't fall in love."

Good luck, Krista!

Robin said...

Hi Krista ~ thanks for sharing this! I'm also querying and hearing similar things so it's nice to know I'm not the only one. Your perseverance will definitely pay off one day! In the meantime, it sounds like you're enjoying writing - and that is a very wonderful thing. My fingers are crossed for you.

Jenny Phresh said...

Thanks for sharing this. Your blog is a big asset to all of us, and even moreso when it helps us know that we are not alone in our tenacity to collect a large stack of rejections on the way to success. It makes more a more dramatic and gripping story in the end to hear that you had to conquer hurdles, and we writers like a good plot.

Melodie said...

You're sooo close. Reminds me of having a house on the market: lots of lookee-loos and no real buyers. Yet. The traffic indicates there WILL be a taker. Soon!

Krista V. said...

Hmm, Bethany. Now I'm wondering what tasty things you might be smelling... :)

Erica, thanks for your comment. Some days I feel like my peppy, upbeat self, and some days I just feel...deflated. Just have to keep pressing on.

Thank you, Tracey, for the lovely comment. I always think long and hard about how much information to include in these query updates and exactly how to spin it, because it is a tough line to walk. I'm glad hearing about my situation helped you with yours.

Adam, we're like querying twins! You definitely let me know if it works out for you - that way, I'll know it's about to work out for me, too:)

Robin, I like to know I'm not the only one, too. Good, good luck to your with your queries and requests (and with your next project, too).

Thanks for the comment, Jenny. It reminded me of a success story I recently read. The writer had finally sold her first book, but it was the THIRD manuscript her agent had shopped. She said she always felt a little silly around all the published YA "rock stars," but someone in the comments told her that she was the rock star - those others were just lucky.

Good analogy, Melodie. I hope you're right! ;)

Adam Heine said...

LOL! I'll do that, Krista. I hope you'll do the same :-)

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

We are in a tough and intensely competitive business, that's for sure. But only because there are so many talented writers. Hang in there!!!

Krista V. said...

Will do, Adam. Will do:)

Susanna, we did pick a tough business, didn't we? And some days it feels like I'm hanging by my pinky toe, but I'm still hanging!

Lora R. Rivera said...

Oh man, you're so close, Krista! I wish I could send you all the luck I might have coming in the next few months. That ubiquitous "didn't love it" is sooo hard.

I admire you for critiquing others' work while on sub, though. That's a great idea to keep your mind off it and to help other writers at the same time.

Keep at it! Your work is excellent from the small bit I got to read. Sending hugs your way! Keep at

Krista V. said...

What a lovely comment, Lora. Thank you.

Myrna Foster said...

Adam and you really are querying twins.

Krista V. said...

I thought so, Myrna. Nice to hear it confirmed:)