My first (finished but unpublished) novel is called "Ghosts of Innocence". It is a science fiction novel about an assassin, determined to exact revenge for the destruction of her home world, who is ultimately moved to help those she has spent years trying to destroy.
I finished the first draft back in February 2008, and worked on revising the manuscript, with excellent help from the Critters forum, through the rest of that year. In fact, the whole experience of reading and critiquing other peoples' work, an essential part of the forum, was at least as valuable as the direct feedback itself.
But that was only the start of the hard work. At the same time as revising, there was the whole mysterious world of publishing to get to know. Many, many hours on the Internet later, I finally started pitching to agents this year. Sending out a few queries at a time and seeing what happens, taking stock, revising strategy, and trying again.
Query stats to date:
Queries sent: 30
Partials requested: 2 (both subsequently rejected)
Form rejections: 14
Non-replies (assumed rejected): 6
Still hopeful: 8
Huge help with the query process from Query Shark and the Public Query Slushpile, plus uncounted trawls through agents' blogs. After the first batch of outright rejections, I heavily revamped my query letter and chose a new title. Got my first partial request soon after, so presumably moving in the right direction.
I am now at the stage where I think my query letter itself is sound, but wondering if the manuscript (especially the early pages) is letting me down. Time to go through again with a fresh and critical eye before lining up another batch of queries ...