So, I'm in the query process. My hat is in the ring, as it were, and I'm enjoying the process. This morning I received another rejection. Coupled with the pounding headache I woke up with and the still generally ick feeling from the sicky bugs, I wanted to go back to bed. But I didn't. Instead I killed some naughty pixels (Lego Batman is so awesome and the popping sound of lego bits blasting apart is cathartic) and then tucked into a bowl of Golden Grahams.
A woman I've known for more than half my life told me that I should not let this get me down. That somewhere out there my agent was waiting... a 6'2'' lebanese god with abs I could do laundry on. I quirked an eyebrow and thought of all those author blogs/twitter posts that say "Keep trying, your special agent is out there somewhere".
Now, I'm plagued with a strange fear....
Is querying like online dating?
Seriously, you've got your pitch line (the headline of your post), the what-you're-looking-for, the bit about yourself and then the meat of the pitch, which is how to get someone to want to know more. It's the same thing (but without pictures or attachments, because agents hate that). Granted we're not at the point where eHarmony will link you with your perfect Agent Match in 6 months or your pizza is free, but, in a few decades, who knows! "SWF seeks agent for SF/F novel w/ WC of 111,000."
Then there's the social implications. I like to consider myself a feminist. My fiance and I have worked hard to not instill the Damsel in Distress Princess stereotypes into our daughter. When I read Cinderella to her, I make sure to tell her that the Prince marries her because they have a lot in common and have built a lasting relationship on mutual respect. After all these years, though, of trying to remind myself that there is no Glass Slipper, I'm faced with a similar message in my pursuit of the elusive published novel....
Someday your Agent Charming will come. Somewhere out there is one agent meant just for you (and their other clients). Wait from your tower and send down your hair in hopes that someone will grab on.... okay, the analogy is beginning to unravel, but I think I've made my point.
So, does this mean that all the people who say "keep going, keep trying, your agent is out there" are bogged down in the mire that is societal thinking skewed by fairy tales? Does this mean that my queries are doomed to the same failure as my long-forgotten ad on Yahoo!Personals?
Nah, because it's all about point of view.
I'm not waiting for Agent Charming to come put a ring on that, nor am I waiting for Agent Right Now. I'm actively seeking representation from an agent that will look at my work and get excited. Someone with whom I have a lot in common and can forge a long-lasting relationship based on mutual respect.
Hells no, I'm not going to just pack it in after a handful of rejections. But I'm not going to sit here singing "Someday my agent will come"...
My battle cry will come from the cancelled-too-soon-space drama we all know and love. You know the one I'm talking about. That's right. In the immortal words of Captain Peter Quincy Taggart... verily I say unto you....
NEVER GIVE UP! NEVER SURRENDER!
(You thought I was going with Firefly, didn't you? Nope, Galaxy Quest for this one, kids.)