Thursday, July 26, 2012

Querying frustration and perspective

Sorry for the radio silence lately. Summer is the most crazy, intense, ridiculous, busy period at my day job, so I've been feeling kind of swamped in that arena. I'm also busy reading a lot, writing a brand new WIP, and planning my trip to London (60 days until take-off!).

Also I'm querying right now.

This being the second manuscript I've dug deep into the query trenches with, I came into it with some preconceived notions of what the experience might be like. Last time, summer-fall of 2010 and a little of 2011, I got fewer than five form rejections in total. I got many, many full requests and quite a handful of partials. I had an R&R that was a very close call. I eventually stopped querying because I lost faith in the manuscript and it felt like a full connection was never going to happen.

Fast forward to summer 2012 and a brand new manuscript that I'm absolutely in love with. Enter the gorgeous, snappy, much-fawned-over-in-QLH query letter. I've got a high-concept, super-original premise (if I do say so myself). I was expecting the same kind of reception as my last MS.

But... so the opposite.

Two requests out of twenty queries sent. It feels kind of like a punch in the gut.

I don't want to complain, because I realize there are people who send hundreds of queries and never get a single request ever. I'm so, so grateful for any amount of success I ever get. But it just goes to show that you can't expect instant success, and sometimes that realization is tough.

There are a couple things going on in my brain right now.

Thing 1: "*whine* Why don't they like this one? It's sooooooo commerical and hook-y and omg, if I saw a book in a bookstore with this premise I would just, like, DIE!"

Thing 2: "I should just give up and crawl into a hole right now."

Thing 3: *cranks the Alanis Morrissette and sings bitter unrequited love songs to the publishing industry at large*

And as embarrassing as those things are, I know they're irrational. I know everyone feels like that every once in a while, and even if I were to snag an amazing agent and book deal, I would still feel those things sometimes. In this industry, those feelings are inevitable.

And after I've felt all the things and finished slapping myself for being so silly, I start to think about it rationally. Sure, maybe my first month-and-a-half of querying hasn't been mind-blowingly awesome, some awesome things have come of it.

1) Four agents remembered me from my past manuscript (and one of them read only a partial almost two years ago) and were happy to hear from me and enthusiastic enough to invite me to query them again in the future.

2) I've gotten replies from every query. In just a little over a month. That's amazing.

3) The two agents who have requested so far are AWESOME and I'm beyond honoured that they want to read my stuff. I would be ecstatic if either of them offered rep.

So, author wankfest over. I'm going to put my nose to the grindstone and keep on querying. And keep writing.

Always, always keep writing.


  1. It's still too early to know for sure how things are going to turn out. Or at least that's what I tell myself every day. Querying is tough, rejections are tough, but I know I'd be a lot more upset if I never even tried.

    I'm crossing my fingers for you. :)

    1. Thank you! :) And you're right. It is early days yet.

  2. That is frustrating, Becca. I will say this, though. The publishing industry has changed quite a lot, even since your last querying go-round.

    I don't mean that in a, "Your story doesn't work right now" sort of way. I mean that in a, "I'm hearing/reading more and more agents are getting super-selective about what they'll take on from both first-time and experienced authors right now" sort of way.

    I think that directly reflects the precarious financial state of publishers, and the world in general, more than any kind of negativity toward your story.

    Keep at it. You had such a great response the first time, I bet you'll generate some interest soon. You obviously know how to whip a manuscript into shape, so the rest will be (as you say) about finding the right fit.

    Best of luck to you!


    1. Yeah, the general climate of the industry might be partially to blame. It sucks. Really, really sucks :(

      Oh well. As a writer, I have no shortage of ideas. At all. Gimme another year and I'll have three more MSS ready!

  3. It stinks when you think something is great, but other people aren't so into it. Just remember, if you love it, someone else has got to. And if you don't believe in yourself, no one else will. ;) Good luck!

  4. Best of luck with your querying. Remember, it only takes one yes! By the way, I loved your description of the thoughts going through your head. They're so true I laughed out loud on the train. :-)