Friday, May 17, 2013

There's Successful and then There's Me

There are several places on the web where you can find examples of successful queries.  Over the years, I've studied these.  I pour over them and then compare what these successful authors are writing in their queries versus what I'm writing in mine - you know to try and figure out why these people are getting agents' attention and I'm not.

Personally, I can't see any difference.

Oh sure, back when I was a wet-behind-the-ears newbie, there was a huge difference.  My early queries blew chunks in a major way.  But these days, with 9 years of working at this under my belt, my queries pretty much follow the same general course as these successful queries.  The only differences are in the subject matter.

The subject matter....

Yeah.  I thought about that, too.  This, of course, leads to comparing my writing to actual published books I'm reading.  Again, I'm not really seeing the difference.  Some of my stuff seems better than some published stuff I've read.  Some published stuff seems better.  Most of the time, my stuff is about on par with the stuff publishing houses are putting on the shelves.

Okay, so maybe my urban fantasies aren't quite as gritty or as spicy.  Maybe there's something cerebral mine have that others don't.  Maybe there's something cerebral they have that I don't.  And yeah, my suspense isn't quite 'romantic'.  I don't bill it as romantic suspense, though, so I don't think that's the problem.  Suspense with romantic elements - if the agent says they're looking for it - and straight suspense if they aren't. 

My daughter once told me that there weren't enough bodies in my urban fantasy.  I added more, but not too many more because the book isn't really meant to be a gore fest. 

Over the years, I've had an untold number of writers look at my queries and my books.  I get a few suggestions, but usually they're nothing major, and I do get kudos. 

I guess this morning I'm just running that hamster wheel in my head of why I'm not garnering interest.  True, I've only been back to querying for a short time, but it's less about what's happening now than what's been happening for years.  And yeah, I know the hamster wheel never does anyone any good.  It's just got me stymied.  I've tried to do everything the way I'm supposed to do it.

:shrug:  Maybe that's the problem.

No questions to ask here.  And not looking for suggestions.  Just blowing off some steam and getting my mental exercise running on the wheel.  If you want to blow off your own steam in the comments, feel free.

PS.  I'm not feeling down about any of this.  I'm just curious and trying to think things out.  I do this from time to time.


  1. That is really strange, and I've had the same thought about your writing. Have you tried entering contests? Most of the time there are agents or editors in the final round, and they like to request things from that. And trust me, you'd get far in a contest.

  2. Feel free to rant away! Not offering any suggestions, just a friendly ear.

  3. Been there, done that - got off the wheel ;)

    Seriously, just keep on keeping on because I think what I have learned from all my internet reading (blogs, agents, twitter, etc) is that patience is your best friend. Patience and a very thick skin. You've got what it takes, B.E., just hang in there (and don't be afraid to go outside the box - look at the request you got by doing the Pitchmad a couple of months ago on Twitter)!!

    Great business, eh?

  4. I know you're not looking for suggestions, but...

    My best advice is to write another book. For whatever reason, this one isn't doing it. Put it away. Write a new one.

    I know lots of successful writers who went through this very thing - and no one knows why that book in the drawer didn't work. It just didn't.

  5. I'm convinced it all boils down to luck. Your query needs to land on the right desk on the right day. And the way to make sure it does? Keep sending out queries.

    You have talent, B.E. And you have drive. You'll get there.

  6. I agree with Silver James. I hope the luck catches up with you soon!

  7. I've never tried contests, Nat. Most of the ones I've seen are either tied to some organization I don't belong to or they have entry fees.

    Thanks, JB. I can always count on you.

    Yeah, Janet - you and me both. And I've been as patient as my impatient self will allow. I think I'm reaching critical mass. LOL

    I keep putting them away and writing new ones, Jeffe. That's why I have 13 sitting around here somewhere. I think I'm putting them away too soon, which is why I'm back to this one.

    Thanks, Silver. I think my drive is stuck in neutral this year. I need to kick it into gear. ;o)

    Thanks, Deb. From your fingers to the agents' ears. =o)