Tuesday night I sat down in front of my laptop, in itself not an unusual pose for the evening. I opened the file named QueryFinal and tweaked it.
Tweaked it again.
Deleted the tweaking.
Deleted the whole thing.
Remembered another version stuffed in an e-mail somewhere. Found said version. Restored QueryFinal and pasted the newer version above the older version because. . . well, because.
Tweaked some more.
Went on-line to Query Tracker to check my list. Did some more agent research. Opened a new e-mail and proceeded to paste QueryFinal into the body. Personalized the e-mail salutation and first line. Quadruple-checked spelling, punctuation, and the agent’s submission guidelines, and then —
— my fingers hovered over the Alt and Enter buttons to shortcut key my way to the send e-mail function. This was It. The Moment. What was I hesitating for?
I had picked my <cue music> Dream Agent to query first. Sprinted right to the top of my list because, after all, no guts, no glory. And because I’m equal parts Glutton for Punishment, and Just That Confident. Or perhaps hopeful. Worse, naïve.
Then the waiting. Impatiently. Even though, believe it or not, the last time I did this everything traveled via snail mail and waiting for months on just a query was pretty commonplace.
Even though my phone is set to alert me when an e-mail arrives, I probably checked it every ten minutes throughout the day Wednesday. My hopeful side could already read the request for a partial. The realistic side, closely resembling She Who Doubts, thought otherwise.
Thursday morning, 11:50 a.m. there it was, staring at me from the in-box and I froze. The waiting was over. Amazingly quick. It was a bad sign. A sign that the first drops of BD&L blood were about to be spilled. I opened the standard rejection letter, complete with apology for the fact that it was a standard rejection letter, and sighed. Of course, none of us wants a rejection letter. Very few of us will ever strike gold right out of the gate. But that doesn’t mean the rejection will slide off our backs like those damn proverbial drops of water from off a duck. I know the nature of the business, I just wish I knew what they’d rejected. Was it the query itself? The premise? The length? A bad day at the office? The genre? The list is long and will remain forever unanswered.
But, the gates have been opened. Many more queries to many more agents have hit the cyber trails while I try to formulate that nastier-than-a-query synopsis required by some on my list.