Friday, March 5, 2010

YOU DID WHAT? Querying Faux Paus Gone Bad!

So, faux paus…we’ve all made them. I’ve been known to maybe wear white flip-flops after Labor Day, oh, er, wait we’re talking about QUERYING faux paus, not fashion faux paus. DUH!

Yeah, that’s an ENTIRELY different ball game. Lemme just say that I’ve made quite a few blunders in the ol’ querying game. And today, I’m putting on my big girl panties and fessing up to them. First, lemme break down some stats for you.

Months spent in Hell aka Querying: 9. I began one frosty, late January morn of 2009 and received my first offer on October 17, which happened to come on the same day as my late mom’s 60th bday.
Novels Queried: 4
Genres Queried: 3….1 YA Urban Fantasy, 2 YA Contemps, 1 Adult Southern Literary/Christian Fiction

First, I’m breaking out the big guns, and I’m telling you about my most shudder worthy query mistake. Are you ready? Can you handle the truth?

Here it is:

I queried an unfinished novel.

Actually, I'm a repeat offender cuz I queried two!

When Don’t Hate the Player was within 2K of being finished, I sent out some test queries. The positive reception fueled me to finish.

But here’s the “querying unfinished novels to end all querying unfinished novels” story. In my defense, I blame roasting in querying Hell on what I did. The steam got to me and warped my mind.

So, DHtP was getting back to back rejections because of the dreaded boy book factor along with a revise and resubmit offer, TG was still hanging in there(picture a novel on life support with the blipping line going across the screen) and The Road to Damascus was flatlining because of what I call the Goldilocks factor: It was too secular for Christian pubs and too Christian for Secular pubs. I WANTED AN AGENT! Get the picture?

What happened next came out of desperation. A moment of pure insanity. I’d written around 20K of a YA Contemp called Nets and Lies. I thought it was pretty cool—some real edgy territory. So, I did the unthinkable. I wrote a query with the help of Kody Keplinger, Stephanie Jenkins, and Hannah Wylie. And I did it. I sent it to an agent who ALWAYS…ALWAYS requests partials.

You can imagine what happened. She requested a full. I probably stared at the email for ten or fifteen minutes. My first every query to request without rejection….and it was for a FULL.

So did I panic? Did I soil myself? Well, almost, but what I did do was write like a maniac and churn out 36K words in six days. Yep, I was sweat pouring, mania like Jennifer Beale in Flashdance.

And although I should caution you, although I should say, NEVER, EVER DO THAT...I won't. Here's why. Number one, I hate preachy posts by authors and writers who try to be all upturned nose and condescend to you. Yeah, some are published and agented, so they try to act all higher intelligence, but that's not what it's about. It's about being there for each other and learning from each other's mistakes.

Wanna know a little secret?

Sometimes rules are meant to be broken in the writing game.Trust me, that's a hard statement for a girl often labeled a "goody two shoes rule follower!"

Here's the truth. Yeah, it was a mistake to query, but what came out of that week of writing 36K was some great, deep stuff! I'm not lying or bragging, I promise, you can ask my beta readers what they think of Nets and Lies.

So, turns out my mania was nothing. I submitted the full around September first offer for DHtP came in on October 17th. Then I had to email all the agents with TG, RTD, DHtP, and NaL. It was epic! Then came two more offers for DHtP. AND I FINALLY HAD MY AGENT!

Long faux paus short, I'm the first to admit I made mistakes. I wouldn't advise you to make the same. Some people might think querying four novels was a mistake, some might think accidentaly quering an agent in the same agency is a mistake when they've said not to(yep, did that and got a request after a rejection).

In the end, I guess I could say what I heard people say before, "Do as I say, not as I do", but that's probaby not good either! LOL


Amna said...


Glen Akin said...

Lol very funny. But this is one of those once in a blue moon kinda thing. There's no way I can finish my novel in 6 days if I queried it now. It'd be too rubbish and it would end up rejected anyways

J.S. Wood said...

Yes, Nets and Lies is made of awesomness. And this post was soooo funny. You know I would *never* query an unfinished manuscript. Nope. Not me. ;)

Anonymous said...

This awesome post is awesome. :D

Debra Driza said...

OMG, I wouldn't be able to finish 40k in 6 days...because I would have died from terror! I'm both laughing and bowing to your mad speed-writing skillz!

Anonymous said...

WOW! Your ability to work under pressure is amazing! I don't even think I could SAY 36k words in 6 days.. Congrats and good luck =)

Annie McElfresh said...

Ahhhh my writing mentor! You have taught me well! ;) I will admit I have followed in your crazy footsteps and put my novel out there before I was finished, so I totally feel your pain of MAJOR wordage in a week. *Shudder* And I agree--NEVER, EVER DO THAT!! LOL

*HUGS* This post rocks! And Nets and Lies KICKS ASS!! :D

Krista Ashe said...

HAHA, thanks for the nice comments guys and for not calling in the authorites to have me carted off in a straight jacket!