Querying and Why It Sucks For Colossally Impatient Folk

On May 15, 2013, I started a novel. I know this because I keep a word count spreadsheet to track my various projects. Unlike all my other novels, where I got discouraged around the 30,000 word mark, I raced through this one. By September, I’d realized A) I was going to be way over my targeted word count, B) parts of it needed a massive rewrite. In the past, this would’ve been the point where I gave up and started a new shiny project. But this one was different. This one I wanted to finish, and finish right. At the end of January I’d completed two rounds of rewriting and polishing, and in February, I did another word-cutting and tightening edit. Then a different kind of anxiety hit. Holy crap, I thought, I’m finished. And it’s the best thing I’ve ever written.

I sent my first round of queries on February 12th. I’d decided to do ten at a time, in case I needed to make adjustments to the query letter or the book. Five quick rejections came back. I wallowed in the depths of despair for a week. Then I took another look at my query letter. I thought it was pretty decent, but decided the nautical terminology might be off-putting to non-boating folk. I eliminated it. I also realized I was querying a fantasy novel, but hadn’t really mentioned the magic. Finally, despite my sort-of-hatred for such things, I added a kicky This-Meets-This comparison that I thought described the feel of the world. I sent more queries.

Either my email was hitting the right inboxes or my changes were good, because that second query letter hasn’t gotten a rejection yet. (Of course, saying this will jinx it, but I don’t really care, because it’s unreasonable to expect it won’t get rejected at some point. It just hasn’t this month.)

At this stage in my querying process, I have two full manuscripts and two partials with agents. I also have another full and a partial that were the result of a contest win (people not on my original querying list). I’m pretty encouraged, because five rejections and four requests is a pretty decent ratio.

Aaaaand… then I realized how long it takes agents to actually get around to reading your stuff. Because, let’s face it, we all dream of the agent seeing our thing and being like, “This sounds SO AMAZING I’m going to drop everything and read all 100,000 words of it immediately!” That dream stays alive… for about the first 48 hours. Because yeah. This is not so much how it works in real life. I have an account on Querytracker now and I can see the data on how long it takes agents to read partials and fulls. Patience may be a virtue, but it ain’t mine.

—- I was in the middle of another thought, but another agent requested a full literally as I was typing GAAAAHHHHHHHH peace out I can’t handle this process!!! :-P

 

2 comments

    1. Thanks! Just hoping the book doesn’t fall apart in the middle in a way that makes everyone universally reject it. But every time someone asks for pages I feel like my chances just improved a little!

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