I promised Misha ages ago that I’d do a post on... querying.
No, don’t run for the hills, it’s not all bad.
I’ve been out on queries twice in my life – the first time was a couple of years ago, with a YA/MG that even I realised, after a while, wasn’t quite ready to be submitted yet.
The second time is ongoing: I started querying my historical romance, Out of the Water, a few months ago. I’ve gone about it a lot more slowly and a lot more methodically than the last time.
I browsed agent blogs, looked up the agents of my favourite writers, haunted Agent Query and the other agent-listing sites, and came up with an Excel sheet.
As I send out a query to each agent in order, this time around, I’ve made a lot more effort to personalise each letter.
The magic connection between agent and author hasn’t happened yet. So I’m not sure if I’m the right person to give out advice. I’ve had to learn and relearn to stop comparing my progress with others; no medal or award has ever been given for fastestwritertolandanagentever
I’ve had oodles of help along the way, though, and I can share with you those who’ve helped me:
First and foremost there’s the Compuserve Books and Writers Community, a treasure trove of newbies, seasons authors, and all around great folks who are all too willing to critique and praise.
Then, Barbara Rogan, whose Next-level Workshop did wonders for the final draft of Out of the Water.
And then there was Mindy McGinnis, who held a Saturday Slash featuring my query letter!
Finally, just to show that you never know what’s around the bend, there’s always Adam Heine’s query story, about how he sent out over 100 query letters, but the third agency he’d queried ultimately asked to represent him.
All you can do is keep querying - and keep writing! Especially short stories, if you can - so much easier to submit to magazines, on all kinds of topics!
In the words of Neil Gaiman: “Just keep authoring things or you will be eaten by flowers.”
Deniz Bevan recently returned to Romance after a foray into Young Adult and Middle Grade novels. She's currently querying my latest romance, Out of the Water, set in Spain and Turkey in 1492 and editing a second romance set in the same time frame, Rome, Rhymes and Risk. She also writes travel articles and book reviews for the trilingual newspaper Bizim Anadolu and the 100 Romances Blog. Visit her at her blog.
Hello Misha and Deniz!ReplyDelete
Misha - how have you been? I've been AWOL for a while. Things are looking good here on your blog! I do hope all is well!!
Deniz - thanks for stopping by and giving us your input on querying. It's a long process for all of us. Anyone who continues to pursue that goal of an agent has advice to share! Keep on submitting and I'm certain that magical relationship will happen for you!
All the best,
Thanks for your best wishes, Jen!Delete
It doesn't matter how long it takes. And when it's right, you'll know it.ReplyDelete
I hope so!Delete
I like Alex's comment.ReplyDelete
And, I don't know, being eaten by flowers sounds interesting ... so long as it's figurative.
Maybe it would make a good story...Delete
Great post, Deniz. Thanks for having her for today's Guest Friday, Misha.ReplyDelete
Author Elana Johnson also has a ebook for putting together a great query at her blog. She got Possession repped after quite a few rejections and now her sequel, Surrender, is coming out in a few days. So it can happen. Rejections by pile up, but that "yes" can happen.
Oh yes, you're right, Angela - Elana's book is a great source for writers entering the query trenches.Delete
Nice links. I'd recommend highly QueryTracker.net -- like Agent Query, lots of good info on agents (a much better search function than AQ), plus it has a built-in spreadsheet that tracks your queries, partial/full requests, rejections, etc. Plus, it's free.ReplyDelete
(Also free as of today, if Misha'll pardon the plug, my book Tainted Souls at Smashwords. http://tinyurl.com/7geeh4e)
Thanks for the tip, Steven!Delete
Great post, Deniz. As for me, the feedback I received from my queries helped me continue to hone and refine my ms. During the query process, I went through TWO revise & resubmits ... both of which ended in a pass after the revision. Heart-breaking at the time (each time) -- but the revisions I made ultimately made my manuscript into the one that won another agent's heart.ReplyDelete
So keep querying, learn from every single one, and don't give up!
Thanks, Dianne - and congratulations!Delete
If you don't quit, you can't fail. Great inspiration on querying because it can be a trying process. :)ReplyDelete
A great reminder that it's determination that will get us there as well as the writing. What doesn't fit with one agent, will, hopefully, one day, fit with another.ReplyDelete
Comparisons never work as we are all so individual.
You're right Rebecca, thanks!Delete
Thanks for coming by everyone!ReplyDelete
Must shout out to Matthew MacNish as well, who was very helpful in another round of query revising.
Hi Deniz and Misha!ReplyDelete
Great post Deniz. Loved reading about you here.
All the best!
Thank you, Romance!Delete
Great post Deniz! :)ReplyDelete
Hi Misha, I've given you the Stylish blogger Award - come on over to my blog for the goodies!
Thanks, Amy and congratulations, Misha!Delete
Great posts and nice Links shown here..ReplyDelete
Thanks to share.
Great links and post. You'll know when the agent is right for you. One piece of advice, make sure you have the 'right' agent. I've been through two in the last three years. You have the right to ask questions before signing.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Ciara, that's a good thing to remember!Delete
Querying is such a hard thing, so it's nice to hear of other authors' experiences. Thanks for the great guest post!ReplyDelete
Thank you, Susan!Delete