Yes, querying is a lot like dating, isn't it? You're full of expectation, hoping to make the perfect match. And, if you're a sensitive soul -- and what writer isn't? -- you're full of dread, fearing rejection.
I always admired those men for whom being rejected by a woman was of no more consequence than water washing over the back of a duck -- something to shake off and instantly forget. These were the guys who always said, "Women are like buses. Another one will be along in a minute."
Guys like me lived in fear of rejection. However logical and analytical you might be about it -- after all, a woman declining a date, whether a first, second or third one -- was probably no more commenting on your lack of worth as a human being as your lack of suitability as a romantic partner -- just as you yourself did when you declined to ask out other women because they weren't your type or their interests/politics/religious views didn't mesh with yours.
So I told the story in Part I to illustrate what had been a particularly liberating experience for me (and one that never repeated itself). After awhile, I became totally indifferent to whether or not she had any interest in going out with me. I didn't care what she thought of me. I was in control because I had no expectations -- and it was amusing to call her, chat, hear the same obviously insincere line about getting together. It made me laugh.
I told the story to illustrate the attitude I've adopted in a final round of querying. (Perhaps final. I keep saying I'm through with it.) As promised, I'd decided to give up on agents and query solely publishers. After looking into it, I discovered there are only five or six publishers of mysteries taking unsolicited subs. Even some of the smaller independents are now insisting that your novel come through an agent. (There are a couple of others that take mss. over the transom, but they're publishers of "hard-boiled crime" fiction, which is not my turf.) I could send out those five queries and be done with it.
But...then I'd be done with it. Over. Finished. Finito. On to e-booking.
Too soon, too soon to give up on the hardcover. So I went over to QueryTracker to see if there were any new agents that handled mysteries. Agents come and go with regularity; some new ones arrive, moving up from editorial assistant, while others switch outfits. WTF, I said, I'll query 'em all. I did this without even bothering to research them (other than checking a couple of agencies I'd never heard of). I didn't bother to see if the "mysteries" they handled were really romance novels with a mystery twist, or so-called "cozy" mysteries.
It's like calling that woman and not caring what she's really thinking. I'm just in it for the laughs.
I've had one laugh already. I queried one agency I'd hit up before, sending the e-mail to a different agent. That agent forwarded my e-mail to another agent, who has asked to see a partial. The only thing is, she's already seen a partial of my book -- and rejected it! (You can tell it must have made a great impression on her, since she didn't even remember the title.) That was almost a year and a half ago. So I'll send it and see if the new summer intern rejects it.
I feel so liberated. I was kind of down after the rejection by Poisoned Pen Press, though I knew going in that my nontraditional mystery was probably not a good fit for them. Unless you're a water-off-a-duck's-back kind of person, the rejections -- and I've had plenty -- do start to take a toll. (Please. No more J.K. Rowling stories.) But tossing out a new batch of queries to some new names in previously hit-upon agencies after already deciding to move on to publishers is like having one of those casino tokens good for one shot at the slots.
Costs you nothing to play but you still get to watch the wheels spin.