What follows is what you would call a composite in the journalism world, Based On a True Story on the Lifetime Channel, and enough reason for the psychiatrist to up my Prozac dosage seeing as how the conversation didn't actually happen. Well, okay, it did. Kind of. But I basically spared y'all the commercials over the past two years and boiled it down for for everyone to be able to follow along. Except for HC_Palmquist, who didn't realize until she was halfway through reading the first drat that she doesn't have to be physically present to be this funny.
Me: I finished the book. Now what?
HC Palmquist: You write a query. My sister has a workshop she teaches for that. You should sign up.
Me: I'll look into it. After I send the Pure and Obvious Genius I have penned out to the top agents on my list and wait for them to all start tripping over each other with contracts in hand. I promise to at least look like I wasn't expecting it when the day comes.
Four minutes and no responses later...
HC Palmquist: So how's that Pure and Obvious Genius thing working out for you?
Me: *Honestly confused* I'm not sure. I don't have any responses yet. And that's mainly because I'm not counting the ones that said no.
HC Palmquist: Maybe you need to check out CJ's workshop?
Me: I'll look into it.
HC Palmquist: Sure you will.
Me: Okay, I won't. It's not like I need that kind of help. I mean, I'm not an inexperienced writer or anything. I didn't start writing yesterday, you know. I even have Published Clips from the newspapers I worked at and freelanced for. Hell, I stepped over puddles of blood at the scene of fatal car accidents to avoid pissing off the fire chief, for crying out loud, and stood This Close to People Eventually Convicted of Murder while covering their trials. I think I can handle a fucking query.
five minutes and six query revisions later...
HC Palmquist: How's the query writing going?
Me: I think I'd rather present The Husband with an itemized expense report showcasing my extensive "Oh So and So sent me THAT RAMDOM THING I FOUND ON ETSY thing for free hoping I'd mention it on my blog collection and wait for the steam to stop pouring out of his ears.
HC Palmquist: But the experience! The Clips! The pools of blood!
Me: Right...I can do this thing...
Fifteen minutes and nine more revisions later...
Me: I can't fucking do this. How the HELL am I supposed to convince a perfect stranger who has no idea how utterly AWESOME my book is that my book should be a, you know, BOOK in the BOOK STORES on their SHELVES for PEOPLE to BUY with a one page letter? I SUCK at writing letters. That's why God invented email.
HC Palmquist: Don't tell me you haven't looked up agents that accept e-queries.
Me: *Eyes shimmer with faint hope*
HC Palmquist: But you still have to write it in the same format.
Two minutes and forty-five revisions later...
Me: I think I finally have something here.
HC Palmquist: Good. Maybe this time you won't embarrass yourself completely when an agent finds a query with your name on it in their inbox.
Me: You mean like that time I wrote Muff Top?
HC Palmquist: Yeah. That.
Me: I was really hoping that one would have worked based on the humor factor alone. I mean, really. That would have made a kick-ass How I Got My Agent story for Chuck Sambuchino.
HC Palmquist: No arguments here. Now, back to the query...and the workshop?
Thirty minutes and fifty more queries circulating in Publishing Land.
Me: This one is SO going to work. I mean, it's PURE and OBVIOUS GENIUS REVISITED. And Friends A-Z all agree it's SOOOOOO much better than the first one I sent out (shut up) so that means it's practically perfect. Now, how long is appropriate to wait before agreeing to a contract? I don't want to look desperate or anything.
HC Palmquist: At least three seconds. Anything sooner and you just look like a whore.
Me: Thanks for the tip. *Sits back to wait for Happy in the Inbox.*
Six months later and still waiting....
HC Palmquist: So, not that you are interested or anything, but my sister is offering her last query workshop ever next week.
Me: I think I'm signing up.
HC Palmquist: *Falls over dead*
Me: Seriously. I obviously have no fucking clue what I am doing and need serious guidance and CJ obviously knows what she's doing.
HC Palmquist: *recovering quickly* Ok, I'll send you the link.
Three days later
Me: Why didn't you tell me my query SUCKED ASS and I needed this workshop LAST YEAR before I blew that shiny first impression with that crap copy? WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME YOUR SISTER IS A QUERY GENIUS???????