When It’s Just Not Happening
So, you’ve figured out how to write a query that pricks an agent’s interest. How do you know this?
Before this point, it’s fairly easy to figure out problems that might be preventing agents from reading your manuscript. And you can tweak your query or your first 250 words and throw the line back out.Partial requests have you feeling hopeful! Full requests keep you up at night, for awhile…
But this is the point where querying becomes the hardest.Since I began querying, I’ve received around twenty requests for full manuscripts. And twenty times I kept hoping that someone would come back with a positive response.
And a few of them did – giving me positive or negative feedback.
One even offered to do a revise and resubmit. Twice!And yet, I am still un-agented.
Does that mean my work stinks? (God, I hope not!) My betas don’t seem to think so.So what’s going on? What am I doing wrong?
Well, if there’s anything I’ve learned from years in the query trenches, it’s that agents are just like us. They are looking for that story they want to read exactly when they want to read it and they have a lot of work and words vying for their attention.You can’t be ‘the one’ for everyone. But you have to believe that your fairy god agent is out there.
That is the key to surviving the process. You can question yourself. You can change. You can learn. You can try again.Doubting yourself and your writing is normal. Wanting to give up is normal. When it just isn’t happening, you start to wonder if it ever will.
I know I have.After all, at this point it seems forming fossils move faster than the publishing industry. Requests no longer bring any hope –just anticipation of the disappointment that comes with the inevitable rejection. Researching agents is torture. Sending out queries seems pointless.
But it’s taught me endurance and the meaning of the word ‘determined’. It’s helped me develop a thick skin. It’s kept me on my toes and in constant search of bettering my craft.Sometimes, the query process is just a blip on the radar for published authors.
But other times... I think the query trenches are where mettle is tested and writers are made.Thanks so much for this encouraging post, Katie! It was great having you on my blog. So, ladies and gents, are you going the traditional route? Have you met with any sort of success? How do you deal with rejection?
Katie, the right timing will come for you!ReplyDelete
Great motivation to hang in there. I applied your positive words to completing my second draft as I've given no thought to finding an agent. E-books are fine with me. But good luck to you! Your godagent is out there!ReplyDelete
Ah, yes, querying is delightful! It's a lot like dating -- mostly a string of disappointments till you (hopefully) meet Mr. or Ms. Right. Requests for partials and fulls send you up -- and rejections of them send you down. The worst, of which I had more than a couple, are those that say what a great little book you've written, but add "in today's tough publishing market, however..." It's like a girl telling you she's in love with you but really needs a man with a marketable skill....ReplyDelete
But there's nothing for it but to continue on, so...good luck!
Hi Katie, as I too am querying, I am keeping my fingers crossed for you as well as me. Our fairy god agent is around the corner :)ReplyDelete
Timing is everything. It feels like you need to send that query at just the right time to just the right agent when they are in just right mood. Sometimes it can feel like a crap shoot. I guess we must really love writing or something.ReplyDelete
Good points, Katie, and I think you're right, it improves our mettle and inspires us to prove them wrong.ReplyDelete
Thanks Misha for sharing this with us. I'm querying right now and trying to be blase' about it. I can do it, I remember the mice in Cinderella.
I could probably deal with rejection better than I do. I'm not sure it's good that I've begun to get used to it. I tend to give up more easily now when it comes to querying. I just don't have the optimism that I had 18 months ago.ReplyDelete
Insightful post. Thank you for sharing.ReplyDelete
I have yet to begin the query process, (need to finish my manuscript first). However, I encourage myself now with stories of the greats, Stephen King, Kathryn Stockett, Dr. Suess, who were rejected, numerous times, then found the one! I think we all will find our one.
AWESOME post!! Querying is never fun! I started after i thought my book was finished, but after many reviews and critiques, have decided to revise it before trying to query again! :(ReplyDelete
Katie, Wonderful, wonderful post. And I KNOW your writing has what it takes, and I'm especially mystified why KFC hasn't been picked up. But I guess you haven't hit the right agent at the right time in the right market. It seems like a crapshoot. Until it all comes together perfectly. I hope that happens for you SOON!ReplyDelete
Hey, Katie! It's fun to see you here.ReplyDelete
I totally agree with you. Querying it not for the faint of heart. (I'm in the trenches with you.) Hopefully, you'll soon be writing the "I got an agent" blog post. :)
"...it seems forming fossils move faster than the publishing industry." LOL, you are SO RIGHT! :-)ReplyDelete
How do I deal with rejection...well, if advice is proffered on what, in my writing, needs attention, I get to work on that. If not, I keep trying until I've exhausted all known possibilities. Then...we'll see. :-)
Some Dark Romantic
Right, third time lucky (I've had problems posting a comment on this blog today!)ReplyDelete
With so many writers trying to find agents, perserverence is the key... as is not giving up! Good luck Katie :-)
Katie, it is so hard to keep on when your fingers keep slipping off that brass ring. I know I decided to self-publish, but then, that, too, is often an excercise in frustration.ReplyDelete
You never know when your timing of a query will hit an agent who has been just wishing for a novel like yours. Keep knocking on those doors, Roland
It's such a rollercoaster, and even sometimes when you feel you've got it figured out... you find out you were wrong. Great post-- thanks for shedding light on the process.ReplyDelete
It can be discouraging, but it is a learning curve. Every one you write is practice for the one that will find you an agent, or publisher that will be the perfect fit. :)ReplyDelete
Thanks for this very wise advice! I agree with you on the purpose of the "query trenches." Good luck!ReplyDelete