Querying - A Hard Decision


...okay, okay, let's get one thing clear before we go any further - THIS IS NOT ABOUT QUITTING EVEN THOUGH THAT TITLE LOOKS TOTALLY DEFEATIST!!!! This is about making the decision to stop querying one MS and start another.

As Space!Story edges closer to completion, I find myself wondering if it might be time to stop submitting Resistance. I started querying it in May 2012 and, while it's not been all bad news (in fact some of it has been rather exciting!), I haven't signed with an agency. That's not to stay I won't (exciiiiiting!!!!!!!!), but with a new story steadily approaching query readiness (I'm aiming for early 2014), I find myself thinking it might be time to pop Resistance in its filing box and thank it for trying so hard.

I won't be doing it just yet... but its time may be coming.

Even if Resistance doesn't land me an agent (and it still might! It really, really, really might!), I've learned a lot of really important things:
  1. You need more patience than you think you will.... No, that's not enough. MORE PATIENCE!
  2. Entering competitions is a great way to find agents you might not have otherwise interacted with.
  3. Query when it's the best time for you. Not just your book - you. When I started, I had a stressful job and unemployment loomed. Not the best circumstances to start adding rejection letters to.
  4. Rejection e-mails/letters, even the good ol "Dear Author" ones, are better than silence.
  5. It's every bit as emotional as everyone says it is, especially to begin with, but after a while the sting fades. Well, it did for me ^^; Maybe that's just a sign of how easily distracted I am... Now, every rejection is just another red line in my spreadsheet rather than the crushing blow of defeat. 
  6. Managing expectations is hard at first but it does get easier.
  7. Partial requests are very exciting.
  8. Full requests are SUPER EXCITING YAY!
  9. ...waiting for responses on those is not easy.... And you might be waiting for a while... Like, a looooooooooooong while...
  10. ...Seriously, get used to waiting. Find other hobbies PRONTO (bring it on, Violin Grade III!!!).
If I do stop querying Resistance, I will be sad, but it's been such an important experience. I will never regret taking that huge leap and sending out all those hopeful letters and e-mails. And failing to find an agent with one book doesn't mean I'm a terrible writer. It just means I have to keep on writing books and queries.

I'm not quitting. Never! I'm just adapting.


What hard lessons have you learned from querying?

Comments

  1. Great post! I'm just getting ready to jump back into querying after taking a break to change a few things and add in some beta feedback, so this is very timely advice for me. I hope so much that RESISTANCE gets an agent, because the premise sounds awesome, and it would be wonderful for your hard work to pay off. Hang in there, and best of luck with polishing up Space!Story. :)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you ^_^

      I do too! Who knows what might happen in the next few months? :D

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  2. Great post. Querying is hard and SLOW and even when I thought I had ALL the patience in the world, I learned I don't. And since signing with my agent I'm in the sea of waiting and waiting and waiting again. Publishing is waiting. Way to keep your chin up, think ahead, and keep writing through this challenging time! Best of luck to you:)

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    1. Thank you, and congratulations on signing with your agent!

      Yes, writers certainly have to learn the meaning of patience. We'd win medals if they gave 'em out ;)

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  3. I've made this decision many times. While waiting, I write, and stop querying to begin query rounds on another work.

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  4. I defer all thoughts and opinions on this to the above two commenters who have been there, done that, bought the t-shirt, and actually have an agent. :)

    All I will say is, all the best to you Cole. See you in the query trenches soon, I hope!

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    1. Best of luck to you when you jump in, Colin! :D

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  5. Great post, Cole. I couldn't agree more with your list. I found myself nodding like a bobblehead at all of them lol. I think trunking a novel, as hard as it will ALWAYS be, is made easier by another story waiting in the wings for its turn. I'm sort of in a similar boat right now. And you know what? If you find an agent for Space!Story, they might just want to take on Resistance as well! (That's the kind of thing I keep telling myself.) Still, I hope that you find an agent for this story before it gets filed away. :-)

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    1. Thank you ^_^

      I think that's a good way to look at it. Yes, Space!Story might help Resistance ;) Only time will tell...

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  6. Great list! #3 has definitely tripped me up in the past, so that's always a good reminder to see.

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    1. You're welcome. I didn't think about it at the time, but I soon learned the hard way and stopped querying until my life had calmed down a wee bit.

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