Write Drunk, Query Sober
So, last night I drank too much wine and queried three agents. It all started when I didn't make the long list for a recent pitch competition. Out of the 150+ entries, 30 or so made the long list. From there, 10 made the short list, and a few of those will be seen by agents and editors. It was SUCH an opportunity! ...For 30 other writers. I was mourning a minor loss, but thought, "Oh, what the heck? I'll polish up my query to make it even better with the feedback I've received."
It started off so innocent. Before I knew it, I was tearing open the box (Yes... the box. We're real swaggy in the Reed household) and squeezing the plastic bag for every last drop. When I held up my wine glass, I knew we had a problem. It was WAY past the line of acceptable fullness. You know, the line they pour to at fancy restaurants. Triple that. That's where I was. But there was no putting the wine back in the bag, so I drank it. And then sat down at my computer.
In the famous words of Hemingway, "write drunk, edit sober." There's merit to this, because I can say (from personal experience) that your words sound amazing when you're a little buzzed. It makes all the difference in your paralyzing self-doubt. When you're happy and warm, you don't really care about the sentence structure, so you keep it movin' and next thing you know, you've written 10 pages! Maybe trash pages, but that's what editing sober is for.
My husband was also partaking in this mid-week revelry, and he agreed: my query was effing awesome. The words flowed so smoothly, the tension built to the climax of the book, the prose was pretty but not purple and exemplified my writing style! So of course, confidence went to my head and I hit "send." Not once. THREE TIMES.
For posterity, I must tell you I've sent out three other queries for this same project before my wine-induced submissions. I've had 1 full request (meaning they want to read the whole book), 1 form rejection (meaning they copy/pasted the "no thanks" email they send to everyone), and 1 no reply (which means "no thanks"). Now, I've done this enough times to not get bothered by form rejections and no-replies because these people are BUSY! Agents get hundreds of emails every single week and most of them are garbage. (Guilty, I sent some garbage queries in 2014. Sorry guys). So even when I'm sober as a bird, I get mixed feedback. I'm posting this now so we can use it as a measuring stick.
Full Requests: 1
Partial Request (lead to the full request): 1
No reply (= rejection): 1
Last night, after being validated by my husband's kind words and a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, I sent three new queries. No rejections yet! But as they (inevitably) roll in, I will post the count below with some updates for you. Because it's fun and why not?
My wise-beyond-her-years main character states we are the culmination of our choices. So over the next several weeks, I'll post the fallout of my choices--right here, painted in horrific detail, so you, too, can decide if querying under the influence is a good idea. I will say, if I DO get an agent, this will be a great story.
Here's to snagging representation for my book one day! May your queries have adequate stakes and may your synopsis suck less. Cheers, y'all.
NEW QUERIES LATEST UPDATE:
Full Requests: 0
Partial Request (lead to the full request): 0
No reply (= rejection): 0