Yikes. I did it again. Took a chance on a query that I’m rethinking, too late.
Ever do that?
This particular query was for CHERRY. This particular agent seeks literary fiction, a strong voice, compelling plot, really interesting characters, solid writing. I think CHERRY is all that.
But the grit factor–that’s where things get iffy. That’s where my confidence kind of falls apart. See, this agent wants to be hooked from Sentence One and CHERRY’s first sentence is
The kid looked like a dog shitting razor blades and no wonder; it was nut-numbing cold out there last night.
Per agency guidelines, I sent the synopsis and first five pages. If this agent is so inclined, she’s going to read that first sentence. Whether she keeps reading is anybody’s guess. She might be offended or she might be intrigued, I don’t know. I put it out there. That’s what you have to do sometimes when you’re querying, put it out there, take that chance.
Before you answer that, there’s more. The agent I queried–this smart and savvy agent–mentioned in an online interview she likes to read a querying writer’s blog posts and tweets. So, with more than a modicum of trepidation, I included web addresses for this little blog and for my twitter account, such that it is.
Did I mention this agent was smart and savvy? I know–I’m shameless. On second thought, I gave this particular agent what she wants. And if that means putting my stuff out there–such that it is, right–so be it. I’ve written blog posts I’m really proud of. Others, not so much. Same with my tweets. You live and learn and I’m definitely doing the latter–I said as much in my query letter.
But I do have faith in my work. CHERRY and EFFIN’ ALBERT are both pretty solid right now. No doubt an editor will have some great suggestions but, all-in-all, both novels are ready for the next step.
Question is, am I?
Are we ever?
Here’s another question, and you can ask it of yourself: Is–insert your novel’s title here–what X agent is looking for? Is your novel something Awesome Agent can get excited about, something she really wants to read? My personal answer to that question is, I don’t know. I do know my narrator isn’t what you’d call likeable. I know he can be a selfish asshole. I know he drinks too much and screws up left and right.
I also know he has a good heart, even if he doesn’t know it yet. And I know that, even when his heart gets broken, he holds out hope for better things.
Querying is like that. We do our homework, take our chances, hope somebody takes a chance on us. As for me, I put it out there, warts and all, took a deep breath and hit ‘send’.
Question is, did you?