Thursday, May 31, 2012

The School of Writing

First let me update you on my querying process.

As you know, I've sent 8 queries: 1 in April and 7 in May.

Here are my stats:

1 Full Request
1 Partial Request
4 Rejections
2 Still Waiting

The rejections, with the exception of one, were kind of expected, if not totally understandable. I can't believe how cool I am with someone telling me my baby is Okay, well not really, although one of those requests could end that way.

Whenever an email comes in I either rush to check it or am slow to open it. This is a trip. But I love every second of it.

One thing I've learned is how important research is. Writers need to plan every step. Decide exactly who you will query and why it's a good idea. Not because they rep one of your favorite authors or someone who made millions off their books, but because you know they will love your baby as much as you do. It's kind of like an adoption process. You want to make sure the person you choose has all the right credentials...for you and yours.

When I look at my stats this rings true. Of the 8 agents I queried, there is only one who rejected my query that I thought might be interested. The other rejections were all long shots, and I won't do that next time. I'll have more respect for my work and query only those who truly have the potential to appreciate it. Otherwise I'm wasting my time and theirs. If all writers just send queries to "dream agents" or "top agents" or "long shots" can we be surprised that the slush pile is so big? And that it's so difficult to get noticed?

Of course rejections may still come from those that seem right for the project, but at least from that you'll learn something. Maybe the market isn't right. Maybe your query isn't up to snuff. Perhaps your writing isn't.

The querying process is a learning process. Hell, writing is. After everything we've endured just writing our manuscript, querying the opportunity to test the waters, see if you've got what it takes and what find out what else you can improve on. I used to sit in front of a blank screen and cloud my head with ideas of what might be the next big thing. Now I just write. I use life, experiences, good and bad, to create unique stories. Stories that I can relate to. It's no longer about what's hot. It's about what's me.

When I first started to take creatively writing seriously, decided that I wanted to get published, I said:

"I'll try. I'll write a book. I'll try to get an agent. If it doesn't work out, I'll quit."

I've come a long way since then. This isn't just a dream I'm chasing. It's the thing I love. My escape from a bad day and the thing that is always guaranteed to make me smile. I've learned more than I ever could have imagined. And I doubt I'll ever quit now.

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't agree more. Writing is a journey. Even though we have a destination in mind, the road getting there is more important. It's what we enjoy along the way! Happy Travels to everyone on this path!