I wasn’t really as surprised by the rejection as much as I was the speed. In less than 24 hours after hitting send, I was staring at a polite, professional, boiler plate, “Thank’s, but no.”
Wow, my query bounced back so fast it got whiplash!
No? Ok, moving on.
Since I was pretty sure that the agency didn’t have a message bot that scanned for key words and sent auto rejects. (though they probably wished they did.) It told me that my query was bad.
So now I have the tremendous task of patching up my query letter. Fortunately, the internet is overloaded with helpful tools to aid in my quest. Dozens of outlets exist where I can, for a nominal fee, get my query critiqued. There are also workshops, online courses, and even agents who have entire blogs and/or twitter feeds dedicated to improving queries. (Most notably the agent who recently sent me the ricochet rejection. Guess I’m a poor student.)
Unfortunately, these resources give out contradictory advice.
Agent 1 “The bio is the most important part of your query letter…Even if the pitch is not strong, a good bio will get you noticed.”
Let’s see how that plays out.
I have a book. Bad things happen to normal people.
I’m Stephen King
Hmm.. I’m not Stephen King. I’m also a newb. Relying on my bio is not a good play.
Agent 2 “Tell me about your hobbies and interests. Being a debut writer will not hurt your chances. Use your bio to really let your personality shine through.”
I have a cat. I have an advanced degree in sarcasm, with endorsements in bitchiness, and cynicism.
Agent 3 “I don’t care about your dog. If it’s not relevant to the project leave it out. If you are a debut author, skip the bio entirely. It won’t hurt your chances.“
Despite what her website says, I have a sneaking suspicion that it won’t hurt because this particular agent doesn’t give debuts a second glance. But at the moment I’m willing to risk it.
I’m gonna go with option 3.