I have had the weirdest past few weeks when it comes to querying, but that's over now.
Back in September, I finally heard back from an agent who'd asked me to query her thanks to the July IWSG pitch contest. To my utter and complete shock, it was good news - the agent wanted my full manuscript. It took me a while to actually believe that this was happening to me, but I took care of everything and sent her what she wanted.
Then, I accepted that I'd have to wait for a while, and when the answer came in December, it wasn't what I thought it would be.
Querying has a whole lot of "it's not you, it's me" in it as agents tell us (or at least, tell me) over and over again that the writing business is very subjective and just because our work isn't right for them, we should keep trying because it could be right for someone else. I see this all the time, and now find it odd when a rejection letter doesn't include some variant of that. But when I heard back from this agent, I didn't actually hear back from this agent.
On December 27th, I got an e-mail from another agent at the same agency, saying the original agent wasn't able to get to my submission due to their workload. But, this second agent said, they'd read my query and would like to see my manuscript.
If you're getting emotional whiplash from any of this, imagine how I felt. :P It's one thing to hear "it's not you, it's me", quite another to hear "it's neither you nor me, it's my workload."
After a significant amount of sputtering at how damn weird my life can get, I sent my book off to that agent as well, and settled in to play the waiting game again. I've heard that it can take 3-4 months to hear back from a full request, and I didn't get a response from the first one for three months, so I didn't think I'd get word from her anytime soon.
I heard back from her on Monday. She said no.
When this all started, and I was breathlessly telling people about it, I described the publishing process as like trying to climb a pyramid, and the higher you got, the lower the odds were of you getting any farther. After fifteen books and hundreds of rejections, this was my first full request ever. Technically my second one too. It felt like I had finally climbed onto that first step.
And now, I've been kicked off, and find myself exactly where I was before.
I'd love to say this makes no difference, because it's just another rejection, right? But it doesn't feel like that. It feels like one of those "why did I bother hoping" things. I know I should send more queries, but . . . I don't even want to. Having finally reached that first step, every time I don't get there is just going to feel worse.
I swear, if I had any other story that was actually working and might become a book someday, I would have trunked STARWIND by now. But I've got nothing else.