So I wrote a book (think Eat, Pray, Love except less international and more riddled with penis references) and lately I’ve been doing this thing that writers have to do in order to get books published, which is query literary agents. It’s not as fun as actually writing books, but it’s like, “a necessary next step” or something, and so it must be done.
The good news? I have two ridiculously talented fellow authors, Julia and Steven, who are also in the throes (or soon to be in the throes) of the querying process to help guide me along the way.
I don’t know where to begin with Julia, but I guess I’ll start by saying that she is the best thing to ever happen to me as a writer—the woman has read not one, but two typo-ridden drafts of my manuscript. Her eye has been invaluable, providing no-nonsense feedback and always urging me to dig deeper. For example, in my earliest drafts, I’d write things like, “…and then I had sex with my ex-boyfriend after having been estranged for two years,” and she’d be all up in the margins like, Um. This is kind of a big deal. Explain?
Julia has helped me grow. And? She’s basically me. Except heterosexual and female and (only slightly) less profane. Read/follow/worship her here. Steven, meanwhile, is also basically me—except he has a boyfriend and harbors an inexplicable hatred toward (the goddess that is) Christina Aguilera. Read/follow/worship him here.
So, querying. The other day I was sending out some letters, infusing every line with equal parts positivity and personality (and absurdity, of course), when I impetuously hit Send on an e-mail to an agent whom, for the purposes of this blog post and the protection of her real identity, I will refer to as Natasha Toestor.
Why was this a big deal? Because I forgot to proofread and accidentally addressed the e-mail like this:
Dear Ms. Toaster,
It was an instant debacle. My heart flipped and my palms moistened and I cried like Taylor Swift circa “Teardrops On My Guitar” as I watched my credibility with this agent disintegrate into the ruthless black hole that is Gmail’s lack of an “unsend” feature. (OMG, remember that function on AOL, though?)
Before making this heinous mistake, I had been chatting with Steven on Facebook in a separate window, so I promptly clicked over to get his advice—but of course Firefox froze and happened to be NOT fucking RESPONDING in that moment, and my panic escalated more quickly than you can say Ctrl+Alt+Delete. Meanwhile, Internet Explorer (where I had my Gmail window open) was functioning dangerously perfectly. So in a dramatic, hazy moment of desperation, I decided to frantically follow-up with Natasha on my own accord.
Here’s what that looked like:
Dear Ms. Toestor,
My sincerest apologies for misspelling your name the first time around! I’m sure it drives you crazy when writers make this (major) faux pas.
Then Firefox started working again.
- Nic: OH
- Nic: MY
- Nic: GOD
- Nic: I just queried an agent. Her name is Natasha Toestor. And I wrote in my query, “Dear Ms. Toaster.”
- Steven: oh no
- Nic: SO THEN
- Steven: …
- Nic: I MADE IT WORSE by sending an immediate follow-up
[Steven reads my apology email]
- Steven: omg
- Nic: I don’t know who I am
- Steven: My entire life is
- Steven: I just
- Nic: WHAT DO I DO?!
- Steven: I am experiencing ALL the emotions
- Nic: I’m that guy
- Nic: I’m THAT guy
- Steven: I am laughing hysterically… I am cringing…
- Nic: Should I send a third e-mail saying, “Dear Ms. Toestor – again, I’m so sorry”?
- Nic: Should I have kept going in my original follow-up e-mail?
- Nic: I’m so fucked
- Nic: with her, at least
- Nic: hello?
- Nic: Oh well
- Nic: Just gotta #KeepItMoving
- Nic: #DearMsToaster
- Steven: omg
- Steven: please
- Steven: stop
The next morning…
- Nic: Twitter has just assaulted me
- Nic: ASSAULTED
- Steven: ?
- Nic: my e-mail notification popped up, and I was all “Oh, an agent!”
- Nic: but it was one of those Twitter suggestions e-mails, based on whom you’ve recently followed… and I kid you not, it was “Suggestions similar to Natasha Toestor”
- Steven: OH MY GAWD
- Nic: she is my demon
- Steven: “Dear Ms. Toestor, My sincerest apologies for the misspelling of your name the first time around! I’m sure it must drive you crazy when authors make that (major) faux pas”
- Steven: I’m STILL dying
- Nic: and, by the way, the “sincerest” was in ITALICS
- Nic: it’s almost like I was mocking her
- Nic: like, “Oh I’m SO sorry, bitch”
[Author’s note: I swear, I wasn’t mocking her at all. That apology, with the italics and all, was just my honest-to-God knee-jerk reaction based on years of being a certified crazy person.]
- Steven: LMAO
- Steven: I’m dying
- Steven: it wouldn’t be so funny if you didn’t SPAZ the fuck out and e-mail her right away with sassy gay apologies…
- Nic: Sassy Gay Apologies! That is so the name of my next book.
So, yeah. That’s how good I am at querying.
Pray for me?