When to say “Enough is enough” – Coming to the end of your query rope

As many of you know, I have been in what I’ve called “Query Hell” for over a month now.   One month and eleven days, to be exact.

It hit me a few days ago.  I finished the first draft of Fire in the Woods in 40 writing days. It was 40,000 words at the time. (After three months of editing and beta reading, it is nearly 68,000 words)

That means that it took me the same amount of time to write 40,000 words as it took me to write this 249-word query (mainly, the 155-word blurb inside it)

How crazy is that?

A few days ago, I said. “Enough”.

This is my problem — I know I am not good at queries, so I had requested a lot of help.  Seriously – I think people were cringing. (With smiles on their faces, I hoped)

But the problem was… I was getting SO MUCH feedback, with contradicting opinions, that I was getting NOWHERE.

A few weeks ago, I complained about this process on Facebook, and an acquisitions editor at a small publishing house commented “Just write the back cover copy of the book.  That’s all we want to see”

Well, yeah, I know that.  That’s what I was trying to write… but people kept saying I needed more.  A little more voice here, a little more danger there.  It was getting TOO LONG.

A few days ago I sat down, cleared my head… thought about all the suggestions people have made… and I just wrote the dern thing.

Funny, the best parts of all their suggestions just flew out of my fingers… and I sat there and stared at it.


I mean, I think Wow… but I’d thought Wow before… so I (being the glutton for punishment that I am) send it to three people (leaving out the person who always found flaws)

I got two enthusiastic thumbs up, and a slight modification.

I made the modification (which fixed something I was uncomfortable with anyway) and asked for one last check – including the most critical person this time. (Who I love by the way-if you are reading this)

Triple thumbs up.  And all around “I’d ask for this in a heartbeat”


You can’t believe the sigh of relief.  Part of me feels like I have wasted a month and a half.  I could be nearly done my new novel, but part of me realizes I have made an important first step to getting where I want to go.

The truth is, Fire in the Woods is too important to me to be flippant with the query.  I’m going to be reaching higher than I have before.  I need to take my bumps and bruises just like anyone else.

So… if you are writing your query, or your synopsis… and feeling the pain… I sympathize.  But believe that you can get to the finish line.  Believe me, if I can write a decent query, anyone can.


21 responses to “When to say “Enough is enough” – Coming to the end of your query rope

  1. Good luck querying!! Wishing many fulls and partials. 🙂

  2. Congratulations! Now get that bad boy sent out!

  3. I’ve only queried one book so far and it took me forever as well. It comes with a lot of pressure because it’s what gets your foot in the door…or the door slammed in your face.

  4. Fan-tas-TIC! Congrats for reaching the finish line.
    I’m only just starting to write a query and synopsis and have always been under the impression this is’ a make it or break it’ deal. Ugh. I have miles to go. Lots of head banging.

    • Yeah – It’s nutty to think that you can sweat over something for a year, and if you mess up on the measly 200-word introduction, the perfect agent might not even read your work. It’s crazy!

  5. I’m sure you must be feeling immensely relieved to be done with the ‘dern thing’! Glad you’ve found success so you can go on to bigger and better things! 🙂

  6. Feels good to finally get to the point where you can just…wait. LOL Congrats!

  7. I felt your pain very recently, as you know, and my experience was very similar. I just emptied my head, pulled the story into my heart, and my fingers spilled out the final version in about 5 minutes. After I’d spent weeks on dud copies. Strange. I guess it just needs that stewing time for the mind to really grasp the heart of the story. Good luck with it!

  8. *applause* *Snoopy Dance*!!!! 🙂 🙂

  9. Well done on your result and getting there in the end – my synopsis was the hardest thing to write and I am still not sure about it, every time I read it I think that I should try to revise it. I’ve revised it that many times that I think my first draft was probably the best – trouble is that’s long since been overwritten! Grrr 🙂

  10. Looking forward to hearing about all the requests from agents you’ll have pouring in shortly. 🙂

  11. Hurrah, hurrah! Hopefully you have got over some kind of hurdle which will help you write future ones more easily.

  12. Bravo … just, bravo!