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Slow summer

My inbox of unread queries is always in flux. It constantly ebbs and flows, the number of submissions on any given day ranging from only a handful to dozens. Either way, it’s something that I am continually immersed in, always reading and looking for the next great thing.

But lately, it seems things have hit a slump.  In most of the queries that I read, the writer isn’t giving me the most thrilling aspect of their book, the crucial element that should make me desperate to ask for more pages. In other cases, it’s unclear if that pivotal element is even there.

This is not to say that every query I’m reading is an automatic rejection, not even close. But I guess I wish that something would cross my computer screen that not only makes me instantly excited and interested, but also shows that the writer is doubly excited and practically tripping over themselves to tell me.

Maybe this is asking a lot, and I know that putting together the all-important query can be daunting, but if you want me, or any agent, to be interested in your book, be excited about it, let it show, and get us excited about it too.

8 Responses to Slow summer

  1. Lisa Marie says:

    I hope you get some better queries, Stephanie. I don’t envy you agent folks one bit. It seems like this profession would be a lot like day trading insofar that there’s a lot of risk involved. At least with stocks, it’s a calculated risk. :)

    And I too would like to see more fun women’s fiction. Engaging books about Gen-X career women would be extremely nice.

  2. Fear of rejection tends to put a damper on excitement. Also, whenever I sit down to write a query, my spouse usually has some sort of emergency: torn garbage bag, missing slippers . . . life. Maybe the trick is learning how to channel frustration and anxiety into positive excitement.

  3. Karen Seiger says:

    I have tried to be more reserved about the things I love, and finally one day I asked myself, “Why on earth would I do that?” People are attracted to other people who are enthusiastic about something, at least I am. So I decided to go all out and really express my wonder and appreciation for the people I admire, the things I get to eat, and just the experiences I am lucky to have. And I wrote this entire comment without a single exclamation point. Until now!

  4. Debra Kamza says:

    I’m with Amy saying that fear of rejection puts a damper on the excitement but I got all the excitement I could handle being stuck in Iran for year immediately following the 1979 revolution. Head on culture collision can be very exciting. Ha! My grown daughter says my memoir reads like spy novel but, honest, I wasn’t a spy; just a very naieve young girl. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking by it. When I want FUN excitement, I write romantic sci-fi or magic realism and I’m all excited about it every step of the way until I get to the point of writing a query letter to some agent or publisher about it. That’s when the fear takes over, freezes my hand, steals my breath, and stops my heartbeat. It’s too much like taking a written exam you didn’t study for because you didn’t know what materials you were supposed to study. You get so worried over rejection you can’t even think straight. I hate rejection. So what does a perfect queery letter look like anyway?

  5. Jen Daiker says:

    Last year when I began querying I had no idea what I was doing (insert humiliation here). I thought I had the writing world figured out. I knew I’d be on the bestsellers come 2012. Then the truth set in. I was sending out queries like hot cakes and getting a ton of rejections in return.

    What was missing?

    I wasn’t having fun. This go round I’m finishing up my last set of line edits. I’ve written my synopsis and I’m confident I have one amazing query. I feel good about it. I’m excited about it. The feeling in my gut (as NCIS Special Agent Gibbs would say) is there. I hope that when it comes time to show my queries to the agents they can feel the passion and excitment I feel for this novel.

    Fun women’s fiction all the way!

  6. Sheila Hurst says:

    When you try to squeeze everything into a synopsis, it ends up sounding like a term paper or something equally as boring. All the excitement drains out of it and ends up in a puddle on the floor.

    You can also be so excited about finishing a book that you just want to send that submission out before it’s really ready. Once it sits for a while the changes become obvious, but because of the excitement you don’t want to let it sit.

    Thanks for bringing this up! I’ve been revising my first chapter to make it more exciting. I’m not so sure a synopsis can ever really sound exciting though.

  7. Marilyn Clarke says:

    My big problem is being caught up in the excitement of it all and plunging in headfirst without thinking things through and checking and rechecking what I’m doing. I just want it to happen and I’d prefer it to happen now, or maybe yesterday. This will probably be my downfall.

  8. Pingback: Summer Queries « Carly Watters, Literary Agent Blog

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