It’s been a little over a month since I sent out my first queries for my first novel. And boy, what a weird ride it is. I’ve received three rejections thus far, and the rest are still in Limbo.
After querying the first batch, I thought it would get easier; normally, I’m Pro after Go One- it becomes a mechanical process that I’m able to do with ease. But querying? I’m still nervous. Every. Single. Time.
It’s difficult putting yourself out there, being positive, and still keeping failure in mind. The rejections haven’t hurt my feelings, per se– I knew the chances (and what to expect) when I started playing the game– but it’s still nerve-wracking to click that big ol’ SEND button on every e-mail.
For those who are interested in getting representation but have yet to start researching, let me give you what I’ve learned so far:
* READ ALL SUBMISSION GUIDELINES. Every Agency I’ve queried has wanted something different; some want a query letter only, while others want a query, synopsis, and the first (insert random number here) pages of your work. Be sure to follow their rules on this– they put them in place to streamline the process for everyone. Not because they’re psychotic bureaucrats. (Time to sing the Bureaucrat song from Futurama!)
* KEEP TWO SYNOPSES READY. After my first few queries, I started seeing more detailed desires when it came to Synopses and their length. So I prepared two: one is the entire story summarized, play by play, totaling about seven pages, while the other is the story arc of the book, and it’s about a page and a half. There are lots of great websites out there that can help you with your synopsis. Here are a couple I used:
Author! Author! A delightful series of posts regarding the Synopsis and all its forms.
Jane Friedman’s Back to Basics As the title says, it’s a Back to Basics refresher on all things Synopsis.
* WORK ON SOMETHING ELSE. This. All damn day. I am a worrier & a solver- if there’s a problem or anything at all that needs a resolution, I WILL FIX IT NOW, otherwise it’ll eat my brain. Therefore, waiting for replies– something entirely out of my control– has sent me into Spazzy Energy Land, where I annoy even myself with shenanigans. One minute, I’m eating a sandwich. Next minute, I’m trying to write a 400,000 word epic fantasy set in a far-flung future that features feathered felines, in one sitting. (Had way too much fun with that sentence. Now I need to write about said-felines. Sheesh.) Third minute, I’m griping at myself for getting said-sandwich onto said-writings. Four minutes in, and I’m nearly in tears because WHAT DO I WRITE?! OH LAWD, I AM A HACK. I CANNOT DO IT. *Kermit the Frog flail*
My point here is to try and write something totally different from your novel. For me, poetry comes easily. It helps, too; poetry has a smooth beginning, middle, and end, as long or short as you want it. I can feel accomplished (and not like a hack) within minutes, because I *did* create something, and it helped expend that psychotic energy that’s built up. I still have an itch to start that next book (and I did, as of 1/28/15), but it doesn’t eat me alive while I wait.
* READ. READ. READ. Sometimes, the only way I keep my sanity is my delving into someone else’s insanity. Reading books, especially those of the same genre as yours, can give you clarity, a sense of camaraderie, and confidence that you, too, will get out there someday. It can help revv those brainy engines, too! Some of my best ideas have randomly come while reading. “Take a look~ it’s in a book~”
Yes, I will sing the ENTIRE Reading Rainbow theme. If it helps you.
These are some of the things that have helped me over this past month, and I hope they help you too. I’m hoping that I’ll snag my marvel agent soon (and not like Marvel AGENTS. Though it’d be cool if my agent was in S.H.I.E.L.D., too. I’d be the next Coulson!), and get onto the road to traditional publishing. We shall see what shenanigans await!
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