Sometimes when I'm writing and something needs to simmer, or I'm so tired of revising my feeble fingers can only manage to work a mouse, I cruise around the Internet trying to learn more about the biz.
What I've learned thus far mostly makes me want to blow groceries.
See, here's the thing. I'm a rule follower in the "Must Please Those In Authority" sense. (Except for my last boss toward the end of my five year employment, when I would say things like "crap" and "hooker" in normal conversations just to watch him blush. Children's ministers.)
Take query letters. I've been reading lots of posts by agents about stinky ones whose writers do not follow the rules. My query letter has yet to be seen by the first agency, and I am grateful to have learned these truths before it goes forth naked and screaming into the cold, cold world.
When it does emerge it will:
1) be spell checked
2) be formatted according to specs
3) actually be addressed to the person receiving it
4) make no mention of the fact that I really need to have my book published so I can hire a nanny.
I mean, the possibility of in-home child care is not the only reason I wrote a book.
As for "how bad it is out there," I will remain hopeful and choose to ignore the statistics. Such as the one from an agent who read over 200 queries in one week and didn't request one manuscript. Not one.
YEEOUCH. Watch out for flying chunks.