Queries, Synopses, and other forms of masochism

Wow. So, I have been thinking about the querying process for quite some time. I did my research and narrowed my list down to only those agents I think would consider my novel and its genre. And that was disheartening. Not many agents are accepting horror novels from first time authors. But I did not let that dishearten me! I am the Rambler! I am ever optimistic.

So, I carefully made my list, gathered from the 2012 Writer’s Market book (a must have, really). I then took my little list from the book and researched each of the names on each agent/agency’s respective website, and watched as the list narrowed. Agents were no longer accepting submissions. Or, they were no longer accepting submissions in my genre. Or, they just weren’t taking any new clients. Completely understandable, really. And my list shrank even more.

That was five months ago. I looked at my list, and I wasn’t disheartened! I am the Rambler, after all, and cheerful optimism in the face of adversity is my thing! So, I decided to write my first synopsis of Waking Dreams, even as I stared at my itty, bitty list of prospective agents.

And about five months ago, I decided to go through and finish my third edit of Waking Dreams instead of finalizing my queries – which was a good call. It really needed it, and I think I smoothed out some relatively rough areas. Once I finished that third edit, I approached the synopsis and querying process with renewed vigor. After one week, I was still staring at an empty page. Okay, that’s not entirely true. It had the following written, in beautiful typeface, the font painstakingly chosen after the course of hours:

Synopsis of Waking Dreams
a novel by R.R. Wolfgang

It looks really, pretty, right? As pretty as simple words on a page can be, when you’re not trying to shock or awe someone with your graphic aptitude (of which I have none). But I was pretty pleased with myself.
Anyway, I spent a lot of time researching how to write a synopsis, how to write a query letter, and finally, I did what I really needed to do – I just started writing. Then I deleted everything I had just written, turned to my husband and said: “This sucks. This really really sucks. Why does this suck so much?” (Note: there may have been a few expletives in the above bit of dialogue. Maybe. Okay, there were a lot of expletives.) 
After about ten minutes of groaning at my keyboard, hitting my head against the keyboard (quite literally, I’m afraid), I finally decided to poke around my files. Lo! I found a file dated from January entitled “Synopsis”! I was thrilled. I opened it eagerly, thinking I would be able to escape the pit of self-loathing I had somehow crawled into… Only to discover yet another blank, empty page staring back at me. This page didn’t even have a title.
Sighing, I went back to my real synopsis, deleted the gibberish brought about by my head-banging frustration, and set down to it. It took a while, and I had several breaks to run out and get the “This sucks! My synopsis sucks sucks sucks! What does that say about my novel? Gah! This sucks!” – but, eventually, I finished the first draft. 
And, after another week, I am happy to say that I did submit my very first query yesterday. I am relatively pleased with it – I say “relatively” because right after I hit send, I decided I should have kept the paragraph in about the background to Waking Dreams, but, c’est la vie. It’s done, baby! I am not expecting anything of this very first query, but it feels pretty good to have submitted it! 

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