Well, you guys?
This is my second tour through the query trenches. I know better than to make stupid mistakes.
(Here are some examples of stupid mistakes:
- Writing a bad query letter (one that doesn't talk about the book, disparages published books, etc.)
- Addressing your query to "Dear Sir or Madam"
- Sending a query to an editor
- Sending an attachment with a query
- Not following submission guidelines)
So, when I sent out my first batch of queries Monday, you'd think I wouldn't make any of those mistakes, right?
Yeah. You'd think.
Here's the story in all its brief, harrowing detail:
I've been watching my query inbox just in case I get a request, so I can send it out quickly.
I ran over to the agency website for one of the queries I'd sent and been on especial watch for a response to, to see if I should even EXPECT a reply. (Some agencies are "no reply means no," so this would be normal.)
While on the site's submission page, I skimmed over the part that said I should send a query letter, first chapter, and synopsis.
Wait. WHAT? Because I know - I KNOW - I only sent a query letter and synopsis.
Knew it down to my bones. Knew it without even having to scramble through my "sent" box to desperately re-check.
How did I know that, so clearly and certainly?
Because. The one and only query I messed up?
WAS THE ONE I SENT TO DREAM AGENT.
I drafted that query for A WEEK. (I personalized it because she read a full of my last MS.)
I knew (thought I knew) her sub guidelines inside and out.
I wrote a synopsis JUST FOR HER. (A lot of agencies don't require one.)
I know my chances of getting a request from her were low anyway, just like with any other agent.
I know, from reading some of her stats, that she only requests 1-2% in the first place.
I'm sure my query would have fallen in the 98%, so it's no big difference - or loss, I guess - if she decides to just chuck it outright.
I know that, at this point, getting a rejection from her would be her doing something REALLY nice.
I'm not going to blog about how things happen for a reason, or how everything works out for the best.
(Incidentally, I don't believe that everything happens for a reason, or that everything works out for the best.)
I have nobody to blame for a stupid mistake but myself.
And this one? Was pretty epically stupid.
Please regale me with stories of stupid querying mistakes (or really any stupid mistakes in general) you've made, so I don't feel like quite so much of an idiot.