A possible query breakthrough?

It’s been nine months since I last blogged and, in that time, pretty much all I’ve been doing is querying agents. I’ve repeatedly re-uploaded the updated Excel image in my last post so you can see just a sample of my rejections. I’m probably up to around 70 queries and maybe 40 or 50 rejections at this point. The agent I met in Pasadena, took a very long time to decide (she said she was “on the fence” about representation) before regretfully passing on it. But I will not be deterred.

And this week, some good news – possibly. I sent out the full MS to an agent in New York, one Victoria Skurnick at Levine Greenberg Rostan, after her colleague whom I queried passed my letter to her. Victoria seems more of a mystery/thriller/literary fiction agent than women’s fiction, so I hadn’t planned on querying her directly and instead queried her colleague. But Victoria loved the concept of my book so she asked to see it, and she has been reading it over the holidays.

Last week she contacted me to say she really enjoyed it, but she couldn’t commit to representation as there were a number of problems that needed fixing in the MS, and at 111,000 it was still too long. And this week, we ended up spending more than an hour on the phone talking about everything that needed fixing.

It was such an incredible conversation – a masterclass in itself! Victoria is an extremely experienced editor as well as agent, so she knew exactly what needed doing and could pinpoint the problems. She had also sent back her edited version of my MS for me to work from. What a gift! Even if she decides to pass after I make changes, just talking to someone like her about what needs doing to my book has been an amazing privilege.

So now I have what’s called a revise and resubmit request. As I work full-time as a real estate journalist/editor, I told Victoria it would probably be several months before I had a new version to send. Victoria’s response was that she hoped it would take me that long, because if I sent it back to her in a week she’d be really worried!

All of which means my aggressive querying is on hold while I try to fix all the issues Victoria identified. I may have to rope in some help, but I have a work friend who is a great editor and said she’d look at it.

Clearly the editing that I thought was done is not done! Time for another major go-round…