After 16 weeks of Chum Bucket nights, I'm in awe of the talent, courtesy and tenacity of the writers who query me.
I hope I don't sound maudlin if I say it restored my faith in the query process.
It came about by sheer accident (but then, a lot of great things -- at least in my life -- do!)
I'd been on a query hiatus. When it ended, I forgot. Query writers did not. They queried. I wrote back. I'd fallen out of the habit of clicking the form response.
Then, a miracle.
A miracle in the form of Ashley Z writing back to thank me for what I'd said. She pointed out it hadn't taken me very long to write the email, but it was of great value to her.
Such a small thing, and yet, that's what it took to make me realize that if people WANTED feedback, and were willing to buy in to the social contract to not respond angrily, we could do some really good work here.
And we have.
I confess I'm astonished we've gone 16 rounds with not a single angry response. Let me assure you that it wasn't cause the replies were decorated in flowers and pink frosting either. I was as direct and to the point as always---and that's the kind of stuff that is VERY hard to hear.
I truly believe the secret is that we aren't talking about it widely. I've asked people not to tweet about it, or blog about it. It's something you know about if you're paying attention to my blog, or my twitter feed. That means the people who are participating are generally the ones I WANT to talk to. The ones willing to hear direct comments. To suck it up and come back for more.
Can it go on? Probably not forever, but honestly, at this point, I'm in.
Thank you to all the writers who queried during Chum Bucket. You made my year.
And let's hear it for our Number One Chum: Thanks Ashley!