Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Querying Woes


I'm querying right now. And I think I might explode.


Back up the query train for a moment.

I started writing in 2010. Finished (and polished-or so I thought) it within 6 months and was feeling pretty darn good. Started querying...oh maybe 25 agents. Generic rejections across the board. What??!! How could they not love my perfect manuscript, you know the one that all my friends and family said was fantastic. The one that would turn the publishing world on it's head because of its fresh concept, amazing characters, and nail-biting plot.

Yeah. Whatever agent people. So I started writing another book.

Then I went to a writer's conference. Then to another writer's conference. I learned hey, maybe starting out with dialogue in a prologue with a character whose name I didn't want to give away in an otherwise boring childhood scene was not the way to start my story. Maybe I could go with a few less adverbs, adjectives, passive voice, being coy with the readers. And wait, where is that hook? Yada yada yada...my book sucked. So I started studying (books and blogs on writing), paying attention to feedback, got myself a critique group and revised that baby to death.

Which brings me to today. Again, I'm feeling pretty darn good about that first book. This time around, I hope I'm not deluding myself. I started querying a couple of weeks ago. Generic rejections across the board.

Except, wait, what was that? Oh yeah, I got a full manuscript request. What the ??!! Yipeee!!
(Edit...um, make that 2 full requests. Just got another this afternoon...who-hoo!)

Regardless of what happens on this querying roller-coaster I'm on, at least someone in the writing world thought my book was worth a look, right? I know the reality of the business. I'm probably in for at least a few more years and a few more books before I break into the world of publishing, but I'm in it for the long haul. Not giving up. Despite these querying woes.

Any advice to get through querying? (And online agent contest rejections too...yuck) I could use some motivation.

24 comments:

Cristina said...

oh good luck!!!!!! I'm not there yet, still working on my first manuscript, so I have no advice, except for maybe.. keep writing!!!!!!! you'll get there :)

Kelley said...

Yay for the full request!! Keep that email handy whenever you need a pick me up.

My advice is the same as Christina's, write the next book. Because that way, if the rejections roll in you can tell yourself 'no big deal, THIS one I'm working on is the one'.

And someday, it will be :)

But seriously. I LOVED your story! I can't imagine it doesn't get published.

Kathryn Purdie said...

Just keep writing. Keep believing. I'll keep believing in you too. (And please share in all the motivation and query triumphant moments you have--that'll keep me inspired.) Congrats again on the full request!

Emily said...

Eat chocolate and drink diet coke and keep writing.

Yay for fulls.

Morgan said...

It's rough. Real rough. I had a great round of querying with my first book. I truly thought that I'd be one of the rare few to snag an agent off my first MS. I was wrong.

I took it hard. I doubted myself, my ability, my passion... and it took a lot to get back to myself. But I'm here and trudging through my WIP. I'm excited/horrified to query again. It might not end as well as I'd like--but one thing I do know is that I survived it the first time and that I can survive it again.

Continuing to write, time, and rekindling that passion is all I needed to survive. Oh, and put a lock on your email so you don't refresh it every ten seconds! LOL! :D

Jenny S. Morris said...

I haven't entered that world yet. I hope to very soon. I agree with other people. Send the query and keep writing.

The Writing Hour. said...

I'm about 2/3s of the way through my WIP, but I hope to start querying by the end of the summer. Good luck with the full request though! I hope good things happen :) You never know!

Cassie Mae said...

Yay!!!! Congrats on the full, that's awesome!

And Lisa Regan recently did a segment of surviving Query Hell. It's super awesome and totally what I needed to read as I sit here in the query pit. :)

Carrie Butler said...

Congrats on the full, Ilima! I'm about to start querying, so we'll both be on the roller coaster this time. Weee!

ladonna watkins said...

Keep writing and all the best.

ilima said...

Thanks for all the encouragement! It really helps to have such a supportive writing community. We writers can be so sensitive sometimes, and positive words help big time! (Two full requests now...yahoo)

Shallee said...

Oh, the joy of querying...or something. I'm afraid I don't have any advice, except keep at it, but don't be afraid to take a break and look at the story again if you think it needs it! Sounds like you already know what you're doing, though.

Congrats on the requests, though! They make the rejections worthwhile. :)

Lauren Alissa Hunter said...

Ah, I'm querying in March-- terrifying! That's exciting that you've had two requests for fulls! It feels like highschool, doesn't it? Like no one is going to ask you to the prom...

twentysomethingfictionwriter said...

Awesome on the full request! Keep us informed of how this goes :)

Crystal Licata said...

I know exactly how you feel. I went through the same thing. Your post cracked me up about what you learned after the conferences...I felt the same! UGH! I'm finally getting it now too. I realize now that it's a HUGE learning process and you have to educate yourself. It's like a job and going to school at the same time. Congrats on the full requests :)

Angela Cothran said...

Congrats!!! That feels great to get a request for a full. I'll say a little prayer for you :)

twentysomethingfictionwriter said...

Hello, hello! I nominated you for an award over at my blog check it out!

ilima said...

Thanks Victoria!

Emily R. King said...

So long as you feel good about putting yourself out there in query form, that's all that matters. If you're getting full requests, you've done something right!
Congrats, and good luck!

Jolene Perry said...

I hate the online competitions.

Querying is SO up and down, and then once your agents starts shopping your MS, you go through kind of the same thing again.

NOT fun, BUT totally worth it in the end.

ilima said...

Yes, I think it will be worth it. Thanks for all the advice and well wishes everyone!

Candy Lynn Fite said...

Yipee! for the fulls. :) Advice (which I should follow myself!) is have a blast on the roller coaster ride, Ilima! Ups, downs, twists, loops, sudden stops...see the good and make it happen.

Peaches Ledwidge said...

Congratulations.

ilima said...

Candy-thanks for the great advice!

Peaches-thank you!