Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It's Out There

As most of you probably know, Firebrand Literary is running a "Query Holiday" until January 15th. Basically, you don't have to write a query; they just want to see your first chapter. Since writers pretty much universally agree that writing a query letter falls somewhere between biting into one of those hard things in a hamburger and a colonoscopy on the Things I Really Enjoy Scale, everyone, including, I think, this girl, has sent them a submission. (Geesh, that's a lotta commas. I must have done something wrong there. Go 'head, grammar Nazis, have at it!)

If you don't believe me, check out agent Nadia Cornier's Twitter. They've received 1,750 of the things. For those of you who are curious, but too lazy to do the math, that's an average of about 100 per day. And there's still half of January to go.

I debated whether or not to send them my first chapter of the middle grade novel I have completed. On the one hand, since Firebrand pledged to read these things by February 1 (a Herculean task it would now seem) I figured it might be smarter to wait and submit to them in the conventional way because when you have to read about 100 first chapters a day to keep your pledge, how much time and attention can you really devote to each one? I've been on interview committees where the stack of applicants was nowhere near the glut of email subs these agents are going to have to work through, and I can tell you that we spent very little time scanning resumes in order to whittle that pile.

On the other hand, I didn't have to write a query letter.

So of course, I submitted.

Sent the thing last night and received my confirmation email sometime thereafter. So my baby is all grown up and she's left the house. She's out in the great, big, scary world. If you see her, please be gentle.

Gentlemen (and ladies), start your rejections!

New feature. At the end of my blog posts I will now be including LITERARY WISDOM OF THE DAY. Basically, I have a lot of books I'll never read again. I've decided to put them to use by sharing the wisdom between their cheap covers. Today's literary wisdom comes from the book Motley Crue: The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band.

While I was on my own, I tried to avoid two things: One was listening to any John Corabi songs, which wasn't difficult since they were never on the radio anyway. The other was my own press clippings.

--Neil, p. 285


Jill Corcoran said...

Good luck with Firebrand, Paul.

OK, count me as one of the few that is fine with writing queries. I actually received a giant percentage of requests based on my queries....they're fun.
Whoops, is my MBA showing? My biz background makes queries second nature. Email me if you want help with yours.

Anonymous said...

You didn't manage to talk yourself out of submitting. Well done, you!

Marcia Calhoun Forecki
Better Than Magic

Paul Michael Murphy said...

Thanks, to both of you. Jill, if you're as skilled at writing queries as you say then I'll be too embarrassed to let you look at mine. I mean, eck.

Marcia, thanks for reading and for the kind words. Truth is, I kind of like getting rejections. I want to be one of those writers who visit schools with a huge, Jerry Spinelli-sized stack of rejections so I can talk about the importance of perseverance. That somehow seems cooler than being a Mormon stay at home mom who sells the first book she ever wrote and is now a bazillionaire.