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Queryitis
7/27/2011 8:43:39 AM

I’m suffering from a raging case of queryitis. Among the first symptoms of this somewhat rare and mysterious disease are feelings of euphoria and delusions of grandeur.  Once the patient has experienced the onset of symptoms, he or she can expect more severe symptoms, such as mild anxiety, heart palpitations and indecisiveness. Once the disease is in full swing, the patient often experiences self-doubt, extreme self-loathing and a burning desire to hurl his or her laptop into the nearest river.

I first noticed the symptoms of queryitis after I sent out my first letter. The query wasn’t ready, and I knew it. But I was in such a holding pattern and was convinced that sending out one letter would set me back in motion. The queryitis kicked in right away, and I was practically giddy. Maybe I would be the first writer in the history of mankind to secure an agent on my first query letter. The delusions of grandeur were overtaking my brain.

Then came the first rejection, and the queryitis started rapidly progressing to the next stage. It is well known that one of the most potent cures for queryitis is scrapping your original letter and writing a new one, so I did just that. The symptoms started to ebb temporarily. This letter was better. Much better than the first. And it didn’t contain the glaring error that my novel was 117,000 pages. Yes, PAGES. I even had pretty complimentary marks from a published author. I made most of his suggested changes and excitedly sent out a few more queries.

But the symptoms began to reemerge, the most noticeable being indecisiveness. My author friend liked my voice, but maybe my hook wasn’t strong enough. Was the letter really capturing the essence of the novel? Maybe I was better off highlighting the more paranormal aspects of the book. Enter letter 3.0. But at it's heart, the book is realist. Anna is normal girl with normal problems. Sort of. Enter letter 4.0. 

Now that I’m on the fifth version of my letter, I’m in the throws of full-on, incurable queryitis. At one moment, I think that my latest letter is better than all the others. In the next moment, I think that I’m the worst query letter writer to ever walk the face of the earth. I haven’t quite gotten to the stage of wanting to hurl my laptop into the Savannah River—after all, I spend more hours per week with my Macbook than I do with my husband—but I can see the appeal of giving up and moving on with my life.

And yet the queryitis persists, and I must learn to live with this gruesome disease. I have prescribed myself a nightly glass of red wine (well, two actually), a hefty dose of reading (I just finished The Hunger Games and am moving on to Catching Fire) and some shopping therapy. I will report back on my recovery soon.

 

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