Staying Motivated While Querying

Querying is so tough, and as the rejections, the silences and the waiting all piles on, it can be so hard to keep yourself motivated.

But stay motivated you must. You can't give up on your dream.

Say it with me (and Ellie): endure and survive.

Today, I'm sharing some methods of keeping yourself motivated. It's not easy, and we could all use whatever help we can get our hands on.

  • Relish every partial and full request. Every. Single. One. Enjoy that rush of excitement and hope. You have earned it.  
  • Use sites like Query Tracker to see where agents are up to in their submissions. Sometimes you'll get a good idea of how close to reading your query they are.
  • Choose the next agents and prep their batch of queries. I tend to send my next submissions after 6-8 weeks, or after a group of rejections.  It's good to stay in a cycle like this, plus it gives you time to consider any feedback you may receive.
  • Keep submitting even if you've had full requests.
  • I know you hear stories about people querying on a Monday, receiving a request the same day, and having the agent offer to represent them on the Tuesday morning. As magical as this would be, do yourself a huge favour and don't expect this every time you send an e-mail. In the four years I've been querying, I've only ever had two full requests come in on the same day as the initial query, and I definitely didn't get a response a day later on those fulls.
  • Work on your next project if you have one. Throw yourself into it. It'll be a great distraction.
  • If you don't have a new idea yet, seek other distractions. I talked about unfinished business the other week, but distractions can be reading, TV/movie marathons, videogames, learning an instrument... anything that keeps you from constantly checking your email.
  • Don't isolate yourself. Stay in touch with your friends, family, and the wider writing community. 
  • Don't feel like someone else's success is proof you suck. We're all different, and we write very different stories.
  • If you want to rant about querying, do it in private. Damn, I'd write that in great big flashy text if I could. Don't splash your discontent all over Twitter, your blog, or a forum. If you do these things in public, the agents you're querying will see it. It's hardly professional. And yes, getting your frustrations off your chest is so helpful, but don't do it for the world to see or hear. Do it via e-mails, private messages, or in a coffee shop with friends.
  • Speaking of which, treat this as seriously as you would approach a job application. This is business first and foremost. Staying in that mindset can be very helpful. It can take some of the emotion out of it.
  • Focus on what you want, rather than ugh, another rejection. Remember, it's all about getting a yes from the right agent. Positive thinking for the win!
  • Don't be afraid to take a break if it's getting too stressful.
  • Don't be afraid to take a break if you get some amazing feedback and want to apply it.
  • Unsubscribe from as many marketing emails as you can. It can be such a pain when you get an e-mail alert that could be from an agent, only to discover it's some company trying to sell you something that you don't want.
  • Treat yourself! You deserve that slice of cake for the ups and downs querying entails.
How about you? What do you do to keep yourself motivated while querying?


  1. Haha, the marketing e-mail thing is SO TRUE. I've never been so thorough about unsubscribing to mailing lists, haha.

    It has a really rubbish name, but I enjoy "revenge querying". Every time I get an R in, I send out another query. It's a really fun strategy and it keeps me motivated no matter what arrives in my inbox -- R's aren't bad news anymore, they just mean I get to send an email to another agent! It's exciting!

    1. Haha, me neither! When I get an email alert on my phone, I was always "THIS COULD BE IT!" And then, oh, nope, marketing. AAAARGH!

      That's such a good way of looking at it. You're right - revenge query is a terrible name. Perhaps it should just be part of the querying cycle ;)

    2. I love the idea of it being part of the querying cycle! Re-reading this post today after some rough time in the inbox, and I still <3 this post so much.

      I really wish I was down in your part of the world more often so we could commiserate about the trials of the trenches over a cuppa tea. It's *hard*.

    3. *hugs* Maybe next time I'm Scotland bound we can plan exactly that! I would love to commiserate with you <3

  2. Love this post!

    When I queried my first MS, I think I seriously believed agents were just sitting around, waiting to request from me (haha).

    Now I only check my email a handful of times throughout the day, otherwise I'd be completely unproductive at the day job.

    "Positive thinking for the win!"


    1. Thank you!

      Hahaha, so did I. Patience has been hard earned.


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