QueryTracker's longest blackout is well-behind us now, and we can finally laugh about it.
Laugh outrageously hard, if given the chance to read what the QueryTracker community came up with for their one paragraph essays on "How I survived the QueryTracker Blackout."
I know people say it all the time, but it was seriously SO hard to make a decision on this one when we received so many worthy entries.
So without further ado:
First prize, a query letter critique by Lindsay Davis of Writer's House...
Goes to Mercedes M. Yardley!
I remember the Query Tracker Blackout of 2009 like it was only last week. It was a tough time, but I’m a tough woman. The first thing I did was throw a blanket over my head and pretend that I was camping. When one is camping in the woods, one can’t possibly surf over to Query Tracker, can one? One also can’t do the same thing when one is suffocated. I ditched the blanket and moved on to the next stage of grief…er, coping by doing the following Very Adult Thing: I cursed. I cursed like a demon, like a pirate, and like great-grandpas who are known for their cursing. I even stamped my foot once, hard. This hurt my tender heel, thereby swinging me into a new bout of cursing. Then I begged QT not to leave me. Ever. I promised to be kind to it, to only check it one or two times a day. I apologized for smothering it. I confessed that I’d be agentless forever without it, and oh my, doesn’t QT look simply stunning in purple? But there was no answer. I fell on the floor and stared at the ceiling. A life frittered away on looking agents up page by tedious page without outside help simply wasn’t a life worth living. “Take me, afterlife, I’m yours!” I screamed. Then I realized that Query Tracker would most likely come back up in the future. Nothing is really forever. And I had made some fresh cookies, and they certainly wouldn’t last forever, either. I pulled myself together and forced myself to make the long trek to the cookie jar. I had to be strong. I had to look to the future. I had to recheck QT’s main page another 2000 times that day, promises of “giving it space” be hung.
Second prize, a year of QT Premium Membership.
Goes to Jim Duncan!
Frustrated beyond belief (ok, not really, but who doesn't need an excuse to do something absurd), I spent the first several hours tracking down where these server folks were hiding out. Discovering they were rather conveniently located in the back room of my local Waffle House Diner, I proceeded to do what any irate internet geek would do. I packed up my army of mechanical garden gnomes and proceeded to lay siege. Garden gnomes as you most assuredly know, are both ingeniously clever and easily distracted. Once the front gates of the server vaults had been breeched, I was forced to spend the wee hours of the morning berating my lieutenants to keep my server repair crew on the task at hand and stop turning pancakes into aerial assault vehicles. Needless to say, the servers were successfully brought back on line, and I have only now finished hosing off the syrup after the celebratory pancake war ensued. Happy querying everyone!
Third Prize, Steve Weber's Plug Your Book: Online Book Marketing for Authors
Goes to Ed Conte!
Sure, according to Webster’s, I “remained alive” and you might even say I “continued to function” during the Great QT blackout of 2009--despite the hardship and deprivation of losing the indispensable link to my essential agent data base and publishing network. I experienced a set of symptoms so strange and incongruent with my objective to generate and dispatch 10 queries that day. I knew I’d have to find a different focus during that down period…not knowing for how long I’d have to restructure my priorities. I found some release reading obscure blogs on the history of cursive writing and the origins of broccoflour. Checking back more frequently than I ought reveal to see if the QT server was up, I used the intervals between QueryTracker website inspections to read ship manifests of Ellis Island immigrant records and to see if I had outlived high school and college classmates on the Social Security Death Index. I became obsessed with survival and knew I needed to take a break from the computer. Drawn to the garden I began to look for others signs of new life and endurance…any symbol of growth and resilience to carry me through the blackout. I made it and so did the a head of that hybrid, pale green vegetable cluster…broccoflour…on my dinner plate that night as a pristine icon of survival in the computer age.
Congratulations to our winners and many thanks to everyone who entered for a lot of laughs!
And big thanks to Lindsay Davis, who generously donated a query critique for our first prize winner!
Lindsay Davis is a literary agent at Writers House. Before joining the agency, she worked in the children's marketing department at Harcourt and taught fourth grade as a member of Teach for America. For the past three years, Lindsay has apprenticed with Steven Malk in the West Coast office of Writers House, where she's had the opportunity to work with some of the very best authors and artists in the industry. She's now building her own list and is actively seeking picture book, middle grade, and young adult manuscripts. She's always been passionate about children's and young adult literature, and, as an agent, she's eager to help bring fresh voices, characters and stories to a new generation of readers.