I’ve sent out roughly 50 queries for my latest novel, and I’m at that point of waiting for the responses. It’s a dreadful and wonderful experience – spasticly checking my email 18 times a day, tapping my finger on the side as it loads, and that feeling of lightheadedness when I see that title, “re: Query” in the subject.
Then there is the super-mega-fun part where the “I don’t believe this project is right for me, but better luck with the next agent” follows. I’ve tweaked the letter and I’m hoping for more enthusiasm – I understand that the agent needs to love the work as much as I do in order to work with it and devote their precious time to it. It is a very subjective business, indeed.
My kindle receives emails instantly – I can hear the “bing.” I have learned not to get my hopes up that it’s even an agent, let alone a ‘send me your manuscript’ message. It’s usually Writer’s Digest wanting me to pay for some webinar or Payless trying to get me to indulge in their sales. (I love the resource that is WD, but I’m broke, yo. And I have too many shoes as it is, most of which I don’t wear. Until I clean out my shoe rack and my closet, I’ve tied my hands at shoe-buying.)
I remember sending out queries for Devil’s Blood and being incredibly depressed with each rejection. That depression mounted with each following rejection. In that case, the market was saturated and my query letter tanked. (This happened before I studied up on the query letter writing process, and how to revise a novel. I’d skipped the beta reader step and went right from first draft to agent submission.)
The waiting feels like I’ve dipped into stagnant, murky waters. This time I have another project that I’m working one – two, actually. Having another story to occupy my mind has been a major improvement. It gives hope for a another book, which leads into a career should I find representation. I can tell the agent that I’ve already finished another book, and have several ideas on rough outlines on more. That gives me a career, not a one-shot title.
To other writers in the waiting zone, have patience. Balance that with persistence. I realize it’s a tight rope and it’s easy to go wibbly-wobbly. I, too, have fallen face-first into the floor.
To writers eager to dive into the waiting zone, have patience. Take your time and put your novel together so that it is as polished as possible before the agent sees it. If you rush, you are only hurting yourself.