Friday, March 23, 2012

Statistics of minor interest/curiosity

No laptop yet, so again, this will be another short iPhone post :)

Well, my curiosity got the best of me and I actually used my phone to scroll through the results for the Public Slushpile Contest.

Surprisingly, 11 out of 58 commenters said YES to my very rough query.

What's interesting (to me) is that most of the NO votes basically said, "Don't write in 1st person".

I anticipated this (and was expecting a high ratio of NO votes), but it also makes me wonder... how many of those NO votes were simply because it was in 1st person?

The standard format of queries is 3rd person, so how many people mistake 'standard format' with 'iron-clad-don't-ever-do-this-rule'?

The other most common comment was people thought they were reading my first page (as in, I was an idiot and submitted the wrong text) because I didn't put a 'Dear Agent...' line at the beginning. That missing line combined with a 1st person query... duh, of course that would make it seem like the first page, so yes I was an idiot to not foresee that happening.

It makes me wonder if I had included the 'Dear Agent...' line, if the YES/NO ratio would be any different.

BUT, all-in-all, I'm surprised my non-standard query garnered slightly better than a 1/6 YES rate.

Pushing the boundaries of what is possible is one of my defining characteristics as a person. I wouldn't be writing/attempting to get published if that were not the case. Actually, I can safely say the majority of my life choices are because I want to push my own boundaries. Sure, this makes things harder on myself, but when you succeed... there's no better feeling.

While the ratio of YES/NO votes may discourage someone else and send them back to the drawing board to re-write their query in 3rd person, I'm actually encouraged by the results.* I was going to consider it a win if I had 1/10 YES vote.

I was also incredibly pleased to see some genuinely helpful comments which I will certainly make use of when I do get around to re-writing this rough query into something presentable.

Query writing is incredibly difficult, but I must admit, I actually kinda find it fun :)

Oh, and here are a few fabulous posts I was able to read (but didn't comment on)!

A look at the Thelma & Louise movie for showing character through action (it's long, but worth it)

If you aren't already following Guilie's helpful posts from her SFWC experience, here's another great post which sort of brilliantly compliments this next link, which is:

...a lesson on perfect lines from Calvin and Hobbes, a comic from which I've divined much inspiration ;)

*Incidentally, with only 25 entires, 12 entries had the same number of YES votes as mine or less. 9 of those had single digit YES votes, 2 of which had 0 YES votes.

...and yes, that took me over an hour of scrolling on my phone to count. Hey, I'm obsessive! I admit it!


  1. I still like your query - and it's just because your voice is so strong in it. But I think that some people automatically said no because of the first person.

    I didn't critique any of them (had no time/forgot since I wasn't chosen), but I would have thumbs-up yours (and thumbs-down a few that were chosen, frankly).


    1. Thanks! Yeah, I know *breaking the rules* is a bad thing, which is why I expected a high number of 'no' votes :)

      One 1 of the 5 winners would I have said 'yes' to. But perhaps a lot of that is just personal taste.

  2. I wish I could find the joy in writing a query. I think if your gut is telling you to write in first person, then go for it.

    1. I think it's a masochistic kind of joy :) The harder it is, the more badly I want to win :)

      how's your query re-write coming?

  3. I definitely agree that a lot of the commenters didn't get beyond the fact that it was first person.

    1. Oh well :) If I was actually at the stage of querying, I might be more concerned, but since the story's only half written... meh.

  4. I remember thinking that exact thing when I was reading the comments, that a lot of the No's were probably based on the first person thing. And great links, as always! Thanks.

  5. Luckily you only received a few No's, right? Usually the critics outnumber the helpful peeps.

    By the way, you are definitely one dedicated blogger! I have yet to write a blog post from my phone. Perhaps that stems from my penchant to lose them rather frequently. I have lost 4 phones this short year already.


    1. Most of my votes were 'NO', I only got 11/58 'YES' votes :)

      Hahahaha... maybe just overly obsessive. When I started this blog, I promised myself that I would not break my commitment to post ever MWF, and so far I've kept to that.

      Oh my goodness! You lost 4 phones? I'm bad about dropping my phone... haven't broken one yet, but I make sure it's in a case 'cause I seriously drop it at least once a day.


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