Tag Archives: representation

Writing While… Part V — writing while writing a query

Writing while writing a query

For the past several months I’ve been sending out my novel to agents (you can read about that journey in Writing While Submitting and Writing While Receiving Rejections). And even though both submitting and receiving rejections are not on the list of my most preferred activities, writing a query beats them both.

My current query is a few months old. I was thrilled with it when I wrote it. But then a few months of submissions later, I realized that I was getting very few requests off that query. Agents were suspiciously silent. Which, after I thought about it, could basically mean any of the following:

(1)They didn’t respond because they were being rude;

(2)They didn’t respond because they weren’t interested in my book;

(3)They didn’t respond because they didn’t understand enough from my query to be potentially interested in my book

Since addressing (1) and (2) would just be a waste of time, I decided to address the last issue. And so I posted the query I’ve been sending on the Absolute Write Forums under the Query Letter Hell heading.

There is a reason they call it Hell.

After reading a few critiques I wanted to crawl into a dark hole on a planet where light doesn’t exit. I also wondered what in the world ever possessed me to think I could write when I am so horribly, terribly awful at it.

So I closed my computer and spent a few hours hating myself and everything I’d ever written. The next day, probably because I am a sucker for punishment, I re-worked my query and posted it again. This time, I thought, it had to work. Because in my head it sounded really, really good.

The bad news is that it wasn’t.

The good news is that, although I still want to crawl into a dark hole, it doesn’t have to be on a planet without any light. So I am guessing I am developing thick skin.

What I am not developing though is a successful query. Even though I keep writing one over and over again.

Writing While… Part III

Writing while submitting or looking for representation

You finished your novel. You’ve edited it several times, re-written parts of it to flush out the characters, and even had several readers sing your praises (who, just to clarify, haven’t only been your family or friends). You are ready to begin the next step of your literary journey. The submission process.

So you look for an agent. You scout websites of literary agencies searching for the one that will be interested in the book you wrote. You find her. She sounds fantastic—exactly like your type of agent. She is looking for books in the genre in which you write, she says she loves working with new writers, and she may even have something in common with you. Perhaps she went to your alma mater, or perhaps she dabbles in chess, or maybe she is a friend of your cousin’s daughter’s friend’s former brother-in-law. Whatever it is, she sounds like she is the agent for you.

You send her your query letter. And the synopsis. And the first three chapters of your manuscript or whatever else she requires in her submission guidelines. And you feel great. Because what you are feeling at the moment is the emotion that makes everything worthwhile. You are feeling hope.

Then you wait. You check your e-mail ten minutes after you sent the letter. Then you check it in twenty minutes. And then in one hour. Then you need to go somewhere so you stop checking your e-mail and engage in life outside of your computer. When you come back two hours later you check again. Because two hours is a long time to be away from your mailbox especially the mailbox that surely has good news.

But there is nothing. Your hope diminishes in size but it’s still there. Because it’s only been a few hours and even the most eager-to-represent-you-agent has a life. So you keep checking every ten to twenty minutes for the next several days.

Until you stop. Because your I.am.writer! (at) gmail (dot) com mailbox continues to be empty. You get no e-mails. Not from that special agent and not from other special agents you found prior to that one. The submission table you created to track down all submissions looks eerily empty in the “Responses” column. Your mood takes a nosedive. You wonder why you are even writing in the first place. You writing gets blocked. And you stop writing.

Until the next time when you browse the internet again and find that other special agent whose bio reads like she is waiting for your submission.