I'm all flushed.
Seriously, it's hot in this apartment despite the chill outside, but I'm all verklempt because I've finally got a query letter I think I can live with. I'm sending it off tomorrow to an agent. They're local to where I live, which was part of the appeal in some strange way — but also because they do seem to be seeking the kind of work I'm offering. And their Web site is the opposite of pretentious, which I like.
So I've got the letter, the SASE, and a synopsis, and I'm packing it all off tomorrow. And trying not to begin an obsessional period, in which every little detail is examined and determined to be wrong. I went back to ye great old Agent Query Web site, which said two things that knocked me a bit off-kilter:
Re: The query letter format
Date: Should be positioned under the agent's contact address
In addition, we highly recommend sending along the first five pages of
your novel with your query letter, even if our submission guidelines
say, "query letter with SASE." Most literary agents will be happy to
glance at a short sample (first 1-5 pages; no more!) of your writing
included with your query letter. And it's one of the major benefits of
snail mail queries: if your query is marginal, but your first five
pages hook Ms. Agent, she's likely to request a partial.
Okay, so No. 1, putting the date after the address is completely anti-business letter practice from what I've always learned and can tell, and looks completely brain-dead. But maybe this is how they do it in this business. I can't tell! I'm going with what I'm used to.
No. 2: This whole Web site is dedicated to telling you how to follow whatever rules there may be out there. And then they throw this "exception" at you? It so happens that my first end-out says they only want SASE, and maybe a short synopsis if you have one. Everywhere I read of agents who get pissy if you don't send what they want, or you send too much. And so that gets me all worked up. I'm sending the synopsis, no chapters.
So that's the next step taken. Or it will be, once I go to the post office tomorrow.
Next: The real reason I'm all verklempt. I went back to the synopsis to read it with fresh eyes, for sending to the agency and to refresh myself with my style of shortening my story.
And came across the use of the same phrase twice in the same sentence. Clearly, an editing mistake. I'd read the whole thing so much that I must have brushed over it. I could have cried: I've already sent this synopsis out for the contest.
Hoping that they won't notice is like hoping nobody noticed that bra strap you've had hanging out all day with your shirt slumped down your shoulder.
My lack of competency stuns even me sometimes. Gah! Gah, I say!
Just wait until the rejections start coming in. I'm going to need Prozac.