Query letters…it’s like getting my kid to eat his peas

Flashback Blog: From Monday, April 16, 2012 at Once Upon a Novelist

No Man’s Land

I am in that no man’s land between finishing a piece of work and looking for a publisher.

You know how it is…you spend a year (or more) pouring the creative contents of your mind onto paper and then months proofing it for spelling and grammar. And then, at last…finally…it is done. You print it out and hold the finished manuscript in your hands and just can’t believe that you created this work of art. Each and every word is yours. It feels like the end of a great labor.

In reality, every writer knows this is just the beginning of an even more arduous task: query letters and the search for an agent.

Easier the Second Time Around

This time, writing query letters proved a bit easier than last time. Thankfully, it does seem that it becomes less daunting with practice. Even writing the god-awful synopsis wasn’t quite as painful. The stressful part was clicking send on the email to that first agent. But I lived through it and sent out about twenty queries. I figured I’d wait for the twenty rejections and then send out another batch. (Yes, I’m generally a glass half full kind of gal.) If I reached the end of my agent wish list without a bite, then I’d move on to the self-publishing route. This was my plan.

The Agonizing Wait

query letters

What I hadn’t planned on was getting a request for a full read within 24 hours…or two more requests for partials within 36 more. What I hadn’t planned on was the glimmer of hope. The hoping is the hardest part. What happens if you allow yourself to hope and then get that dreaded rejection? It’s one thing to be rejected from a simple query letter. But isn’t it worse, in a way, to hear that an agent didn’t like your work after actually reading it?

It’s like when my son asks “what’s for dinner” and I say “peas”. Sometimes it is better when he just groans and says he doesn’t like it before he even sits down. But when he waits until the peas are in his mouth and then makes a production of gagging and uttering his distaste, it makes the agony of feeding him even worse.

No One Said It Would Be Easy

But I guess no one ever said writing was an easy profession. Publication was never a guarantee. But the love of the art is so strong and the satisfaction I get from finishing each book so powerful, that I know I’ll never stop trying. Just like I’ll never stop trying to get that stubborn child of mine to eat something green!

So for now I’ve given in to hope and I’ve begun to let myself believe that becoming published isn’t just a dream.

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