Monday, January 23, 2012

Update from the (Pre) Query Trenches

So I've been getting some great feedback on WiP #2 from my beta readers. I've been making changes as they suggest them. So far, I haven't felt like anyone's asked for anything unreasonable or overly daunting. I'm actually really happy with the improvements I've made because of them.

Why, then, am I scared you-know-whatless to query this puppy?

I'll tell you why. This time, unlike my first project, I'm not writing about an iffy age group. This WiP is straight up YA. It's also a contemporary romance, not another been-there-done-that paranormal romance that every agent seems to be sick of.

And the worst part? I honestly believe I've done a good job on this. I'm no longer the green rookie I was with my first novel.

So when the rejections come rolling in on number 2, I'll have none of those things as consolation. The only thing I'll be able to tell myself is Gina. You suck.

It might not be true, but I'll think it is.

So, peeps. Any tips on how to kick the querying boogie man's butt when you really just want to hide in the closet, hug your ms to your chest and rock back and forth? (Kidding. Sort of.)


  1. "SUBJECTIVITY, YOU BITCH." (<--- my reaction to every rejection I get.)

    Basically....just keep sending query letters like it's your job, until you run out of agents.

  2. Congrats on not being 'green' any longer. lol Are you a member of YAlitchat? It's a great place to get quality feedback on your query letter. As far as keeping your nerves in check, while writing that letter - think of your MC, his/her conflict, then motivation and tension (stakes).

  3. Gina -- you DO NOT suck. Everybody gets rejections -- even JK Rowling, as we all know.

    Remember, the agent is running a business. Your manuscript has to be a match for what they like to read, what fits their list, what doesn't compete with their other clients, and what they think they can sell. I know that sounds even more daunting than just writing a great book, but it also means that rejections aren't personal. And when you find the agent who sees your work as something they can and want to sell -- it is wonderful.

    Querying is your end of the business deal. You have to put your heart in suspended animation while you do it.

  4. Well, this is a bit fatalistic...

    Okay, it's super fatalistic: I'm not expecting anything from ONE.

    I've just decided that this whole thing is about being in the right place at the right time. And my current MS might not be the thing that gets me there.

    So, my advice is the same as it was last time - Make the MS shine, get all your stuff together, start sending out queries, and then start the new WiP. That week. That DAY, even.

    You and LYM are going to kick the query trenches' butts.

  5. I guess my only advice is to just hit send. You can do it! And remember that all of us feel that way about our manuscripts. Seriously. Good luck!

  6. I don't think there's any real way around the querying crazies (or wearing out the F5 key on your keyboard from refreshing your inbox), but I've found a couple things that help:
    1) lots of aerobic exercise. It does wonders for releasing stress!
    2) Pour yourself into your next book. That way, you're not only distracted from the novel you're querying, but you know that if that one doesn't work out, you've got this other gem in your pocket.

    Good luck! :)

  7. Just keep on sending out queries, believe in yourself, and start working on another project. The latter will keep you sane.

  8. I've heard such great things about LYM on Twitter! So I'm sure it'll at least do better than your previous MS. :D I don't really have much advice for querying since I'm more or less taking a break from that part of my life now until my MS (which I'm revising YET AGAIN after the pathetic 0% response rate my queries have had) and WIP are ready. Or at least, until I'm ready to start querying again. >_> But I think what everyone suggested is good. Keep calm and carry on. And keep writing/submitting! Good luck! :)

  9. Don't look at querying as a test of how good you are. It's about finding the right agent for your novel. As others have rightly said, it is very subjective. You want an agent that loves your work and wants to represent you, and that's not going to be every agent out there. Of the hundreds of agents in the US alone, you just need one. And finding that one might seem like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack, but don't be discouraged. Keep trying. :)

  10. It sucks to hear this, but even if you're writing was the absolute most perfect thing created to be viewed by the eyes of man, querying is subjective. Agents are subjective. One agent's form rejection is another agent's dream come true call.

    You can feel it in your bones that this MS is good. Shoot that query boogie monster a sly smirk, make him think he's got you then pull an old fashioned Muhammad Ali rope-a-dope to knock it so far to the curb it's seeing acceptance letters circling around it's head.

    This is your time. Go for it. Rejections may come. That's okay. Stick with it and learn from the rejections where agents provide more than just a form response.

  11. I'm finding working on a new project really helps, although I do tend to get sucked into that and forget to send out more queries. Getting requests definitely helps. But knowing that not every agent is going to love your query, and that's okay, makes a huge difference in surviving the process.

    And did I mention working on a new project really helps. ;)

  12. You should...NAY...You MUST feel proud of yourself for what you've accomplished already, and if you feel it's good, then you're probably right :) Now someone else just needs to recognize that!

  13. sooo when are you sending this to me?