Friday, June 29, 2012

What to Expect When You’re Expecting (an offer of representation)

Hi all! Today I welcome Kaye Draper to My First Book. Kaye is one of the newer bloggers that I've been following, but I find her blog, Write Me, a useful spot for all sorts of information from writing tips to books to add to my TBR list and good music to write by. She doesn't have a big following as yet, which I think is a shame, so please do me a favor and go check Write Me out?

Are you back? Good, now you can read her post on querying...

I was kind of stuck as to how to approach this topic, since I’m not a published author , yet. A previous guest post spoke about the query and submissions process with publishers/editors, but I haven’t even gotten there yet. So, I decided to “write what I know”. New writers don’t realize how grueling the process of becoming a published author can be. Maybe we hear it, but we don’t believe it. It can’t be that bad. Listen to me new writer. Eyes on me. You listening? I’ve been there. I’m still not published, but I’ve been at it long enough to learn some small things. And here they are:

What to Expect When You’re Expecting (an offer of representation)

1) Expect to spend a lot of time agonizing over how to write a query and synopsis that somehow does you new Bouncing Baby Novel credit

2) Expect to dash off your e-mail to Super Agent (and about 20-100 others)

3) Expect to check your e-mail every five seconds just in case someone responded with a manuscript request while you were in the bathroom

4) Expect to get no requests for Bouncing Baby Novel, even after checking your e-mail every five seconds for a months

5) Expect to start working on Next Great Novel just to distract yourself from checking your e-mail

6) Expect to repeat steps 1-3

7) Expect to finally get an e-mail from Super Agent (or one of the 100 others) asking for more material

8) Expect that Super Agent wants an exclusive

9) Expect to repeat step 4 while stalking Super Agent on her blog, twitter, interviews, and anything else you can dig up on the web

10) Expect to send a follow-up e-mail to Super Agent “just checking in” after six weeks on the unspecified exclusive, because seriously, you’re dying here

11) Expect an immediate response that makes you think she never even looked at the manuscript

12) Expect crushing despair, alleviated momentarily by another request

13) Expect to gain ten pounds while waiting for that rejection

14) Expect to pull yourself up by the seat of your pants and start all over with Next Great Novel #2

15) Expect a couple more immediate request for material on Next Great Novel #2, one within minutes of sending your query

16) Expect to repeat step number 3- even though by now you KNOW better

17) Expect to wonder why, dear Gods and Angles WHY this process takes so long. Meanwhile a published author laughs at you. You have no idea. It took her a year to get her first book published AFTER finding an agent

18) Expect to have moved on to your next project before you even get a rejection on the requested material

19) Expect to be almost finished with Next Great Novel #3 while still wondering what ever happened to that manuscript you sent to Super Agent for Next Great Novel#2

20) Expect to finish Next Great Novel #3 before you ever hear back from Super Agent

The morale of the story? Query widely. Then move on. Don’t sit around waiting for actual, you know… ANSWERS, to the query. Move on to Next Great Novel. Otherwise it will be really easy to become discouraged and never move forward. It might not be your first, second, or fifth novel that lands you an Agent, Maybe it’s book six or book sixty. But if you were still stuck on the first thing you’d ever written, you would never have gotten to book sixty to find out.

You probably won’t believe this until you get there. I think new writers hold out hope that their story will be different, that they’ll be an instant success on the first try. It could happen. But statistically speaking, it’s not likely. Don’t let yourself get stuck. And don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Even when you get an agent (when, not if) you’ll just have to go through the whole process all over again with publishers. And no agent is going to want to rep you if you expect to sit on your hands until something gets published. Butt. Seat. Write. Good luck!

Thanks so much for the great insight of what it's like to be in the query stage, Kaye. I definitely won't be querying one agent at a time.

So Ladies and Gents, this brings us to the end of Query Month at MFB. July is the month of Inspired. Must be a good theme, because almost every Friday is full. Only the 27th is open. So if you want to snap that date up before anyone else, or any of the other dates for the rest of the year, please check out this post and contact me.

Have a great weekend, all!


  1. I love this list! It's perfect. Nicely done. Great to meet you, Kaye. I'll hop over and check out your site.

  2. This is definietley a true and accurate list.


  3. Great advice Kaye. Music lists to write by, eh? I'm headed over to check it out. Nice to meet you!

  4. Wise words and I think in the majority of cases quite true! Writers have to grow thick skins and be very patient.

  5. I loved this. Yes, there's so much anxiety in the querying process.

  6. Hi Kaye, nice to meet you.
    This is absolutely true and we writers experience most of the things you have mentioned. Great post.

    Misha, I will be in touch regarding the July 27th guest post.

  7. wonderful to meet Kaye! All these things are absolutely true, especially #6!


  8. Oh, that is so true!

    The only part you forgot to add was to prepare yourself, after you've sent your whole ms. in response to a full request, for the email that comes back six weeks later saying how much the agent loved your book but still ... didn't think it was for her/didn't think she could place it in today's difficult market. Those are soul-killers.

    Then you gotta send it out...AGAIN.

  9. Well now Kaye, I do believe you've got all my writerly nightmares properly outlined in this post. But this is a good thing, because I know I'm not alone...and that helps a whole lot. I, too, haven't gotten published. Actually, I'm a revision or two away from step 1. But with this list in hand, I can know what to expect - the true version :-)

    Thank you a million times over, Kaye. And thanks, Misha, for having Kaye here.

  10. Nice to meet you, Kaye! That's a great list of what happens when writers write books and send queries.

  11. You've pretty much hit the nail on the head, Kaye! Good luck with your queries. :)

  12. This is so clever!! Love it!! And so painfully true. Off to tweet this to all my writerly friends. ;)

  13. I can so relate to this - especially the checking email every two minutes for six months (in fact I think you under-represented the email-checking!)

    Great post, and thanks for hosting Misha!

  14. This is why I unplug my modem in the basement while working on my new WIP. This way I can't keep checking the inbox for agent response on the previous novel. :)

    Love this post!

  15. Great list! I've never queried, but this sounds like an accurate summary of the process.

  16. "Expect to gain ten pounds while waiting for that rejection" lol... only 10 pounds??? ;)

    Great post!

  17. The agonizing nature of this process helped to send me toward self publishing. I think that after completing my next few projects, I'll be ready to tackle this process all over again. Thanks, Kaye!


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