GETTING PUBLISHED FOR FICTION WRITERS

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Horrifying Journey of Querying an Agent
Is it just me, or does anyone else experience an immense gnawing in the pit of your stomach while typing your query letter? And how long does it take you to push SEND once you’ve finished?
I’ve finally finished all of the revisions that my copy editor suggested, re-read the entire book for the seventh time, and had another copy editor look it over for good measure. And I thought that was harrowing! But, compared to writing the query letter, that was a piece of cake.
I’ve researched agencies, many of them, and they all seem to provide similar advice on query letters. Advice like; “Be careful with your query because it is your very first impression with the agent. A bad query can sink your book,” hasn’t really done much for my confidence. Instead I think; “Oh, thanks. That’s just great. No pressure, right?”
One of the best places I did get the best advice on the infamous query letter is at Agent Query. I like this site because it offers so much information about… well, so much! It’s like a one-stop-shop for writers. Here are some other resources on this subject:
When you begin your journey, my best advice to you is, be sure you check out the agency’s website. They pretty much spell out, to the T, what their expectations are, from the query letter through submission. Taking the time to read through their websites has helped me tremendously to understand what is expected of me. It hasn’t helped, however, in calming my nerves. I guess only I can do that. I suppose a fifteen minute session of Yoga, followed by another fifteen minute session of Pilates, and finished off with an hour at the spa before each submission would be beneficial. Not sure how productive it would be, but at least I’d get to keep my sanity.
Oh, wait! I remember now. I received a response from an agent last night who is requesting a two page synopsis. OMG!!! Two pages?! Are they crazy? They want me to tell them all about a 387 page novel IN TWO PAGES?? Okay. These nerves are going to take more than an hour at the spa can cure.
How about you? Are any of you experiencing these sorts of feelings? If so, what do you do to curtail, or deal with them? TELL ME! I really want to know.
All my best to you.
Merry Christmas!
Dee Ann

6 comments:

  1. I went through that suffering for every query and partial I sent out. It's why my hairs are graying now.

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    1. LOL, Phil! At least I know I'm not alone in this. :) You use the term 'went'. Are you no longer in the query process? Have you been published?!

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  2. very same experience. The best reply I received was "Unfortunately, after careful consideration of your manuscript, we have determined that it does not fit our needs. The editor has provided the following feedback:

    “I enjoyed the lyricism of the prose and the story, but I didn’t see enough of a commercial angle to pull me through."

    Unfortunately, for a publishing house if they don't see immediately a return with at least 5 zeros they won't take the plunge and risk for an unknown author. I went the road of self-publishing.

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    1. I'm just starting the querying process, but I have set a limit. If I don't get picked up within six months, I'm going to go the self-pub route myself. How is it working out for you?

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  3. Great post, Dee. Gearing up to start the querying process myself and since it's been almost five months since you posted this--didn't see anything new in your blog about it, didn't miss it did I?--wondered if A) You had any updates to your journey and B) If you've have had any "I wish I knew then what I know now moments"?

    Cheers!

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    1. Hi Jay, thanks for stopping by. I'm knee deep into the querying process now. The journey is a LONG one. I've had some minor interest from agents, but my book The Consequential Element was picked up by a small press publisher. They are currently reviewing and we'll go from there. Now I'm querying my second book. Only sent it out to a couple of agents so far (3). Preparing for the long road with this one. :) Good idea about a followup post to my querying adventure. That should be coming soon.

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