Querying

I’ve decided I’ve done all I can with Hope. I’m driving myself crazy trying to make it perfect and at this point I’m afraid I may be making things worse instead of better, so after a couple of weeks of self-cajoling I have started querying agents. Tally three weeks in: 10 queries sent, 5 responses received—all rejections. Not uncommon. Small potatoes. Many authors have dozens—hundreds!—of rejections before they stumble on the right agent. I’m in good company: https://www.buzzfeed.com/stmartinspress/20-brilliant-authors-whose-work-was-initially-reje-7rut

But, oh those rejections are so soul-wrenching! Some are terse (“not for me”). Others, though probably a form letter, are more encouraging (“keep your chin up and keep swinging!”), but every one of them chips away at my confidence. Authors have to have thick skins for sure, but I think all of us have confidence crises on a regular basis—rejections only serve to reinforce our belief that we are hopeless hacks. Who am I to think I can compete? What is so wrong with my novel that no one wants it?

In moments of clarity, I understand it’s a highly subjective business. Agents have to love the story AND feel like it’s marketable before they’re willing to take a chance. I get that. But it doesn’t hurt any less.

And then I think, What will I do if I don’t write?

Back on your feet, girl, and grow a spine. You’re just getting started!

3 thoughts on “Querying

  1. Hang in there! I’m in editor hell right now. Change this! Change That! I can’t query until it’s perfectly polished, I’m told. Have you thought about independent publishing?

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    1. It can be maddening, can’t it! I have, briefly, but I’d rather go traditional if I can.

      I’ve just received some very belated beta feedback that tells me–despite months of edits and rewrites–that Hope is still annoying and unsympathetic. I don’t know what to else to do that won’t change the character she is, based on her era, culture, and deeply ingrained beliefs. Thinking maybe my best bet is to shelve this novel as a “worthy first effort” and move on.

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