Querying is a long, hard road. I’m amazed at how much I’ve learned since I began the process.
If you are going to query be prepared for rejections…lots of them. Since I started my career in radio, I was familiar with the process. Before I got my first job in radio, I mailed out dozens of demo tapes to radio stations all over the province–and I was rejected by them all…repeatedly.
Though there are hundreds of agents out there and many publishers. You are looking for the one that really connects with your writing and story. For some people, it could appeal to several agents or publishers, for others there may be only a few that connect with it. You still need to go through the process of sending out queries and being rejected to find your true agent or publisher match.
Querying is time consuming and, at times, soul sucking. Staying positive can be a challenge. Here’s how I do it:
1) I rely on my writer friends. I share good news and not-so-good news with them. They understand my ups and downs because they have either gone through it, or are also going through it. Find at least one writer friend you can share with.
2) Be ready to revise. If you aren’t getting any bites on your query, it may need fixed. There are many websites that give advice on writing a query. This is also where writer friends come into play to read your query. If you’re on Twitter, you can always ask on the #amwriting feed if anyone wants to trade queries.
3) Know that there will be lows. There will be times when you want to quit or feel like you’re not getting anywhere. When the lows come, step away and do something else for a while—catch up on TV shows, read, do something unrelated to querying.
4) Work on something new. This is true no matter what stage you are at. If you have a new idea, start writing. It helps when you can lose yourself in a new story. Maybe this new story will be the one that gets you an agent or publisher if the current one doesn’t.
5) Celebrate the little victories. It’s easy to get caught up in the bigger picture. You wrote a book, celebrate. You finished edits, celebrate. You got a partial request, celebrate. You started writing a new story, celebrate.
Many writers send out over a hundred queries before they find an agent or publisher. Some have sent more than two-hundred. Some queried multiple manuscripts before finding their agent or publisher match.
Hang in there and keep querying. Don’t stop writing, revising, learning. Your time will come.
Elesha Teskey has loved to write all her life, whether it be fiction or nonfiction. She had over 20 penpals all over the world in the days before email. She’s currently querying a dark urban fantasy while writing another. As a publicist for a small press, she loves promoting books.