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Querying agents: A surefire way to the looney bin

Updated on February 17, 2015

And it begins...

So you've done it. You've written that masterpiece. That story that's been burning inside you for...well, a long, long time. And you're ready for the next step. The one that requires another stage of writing and a whole ton more patience that what you've probably exerted in getting your manuscript together and in incredible shape: querying.

If ever there were an intent by some evil, finger twiddling scientist to unveil a process by which an author's ego and passion could be questioned, crushed, even demolished within a turtle-slow span of time, let me say, it's unanimous, it has been achieved.

Querying can be, no let me rephrase, is such a tedious, nerve-wracking, finger bitingly painful process, that it's sprouted doubt in even the most talented of writers. If you, my friend, are ready to query, will one day query, or are already in the querying stage, please take a good shot of some heavy liquor, settle into something comfy and read on to learn a harsh truth.

Harsh Truth: Someone out there will reject you. And it ain't gonna be fun. Now that's not said to discourage you in any way, just to brace you for the worst. There have been plenty of great authors who have suffered through 10, 15, 20 and sometimes more rejections before they see the light of a yes. And that's just the beginning. Once a manuscript is accepted for representation, it can sometimes take months if not longer before it finds a home in a publishing house.

Okay, so now that the worst is out of the way, let's focus on the positive: you've completed a manuscript! You're one step closer to being published than all the other people out there who've dreamed of becoming authors but haven't yet lifted a darned pinky. So be proud and start querying.

And now that we're talking serious querying, let's get to the fun stuff: maintaining your sanity throughout it all. Here's what I've been told, and what I try to practice myself during this agonizingly slow process:

1) Shut down that computer! Seriously. It's so tempting to stay glued to your inbox and wait for every "no," "no," "no" and "maybe" to come floating through the imaginary pipes of wifi--but don't. You'll only drive yourself nuts.

2) If you can, take a vacation. Something as simple as a weekend getaway out of town might be just the thing you need to relax and take your mind off the emails suspended in the land of inbox limbo. And who knows, when you get back, you might just have some good news waiting for you!

3) Keep editing. An editor's work is never done--and neither is an author's. You can literally tweak, retweak, strengthen and cut off so much extraneous fluff, helping your manuscript be in absolute fantastic shape when you do get that request for a partial or full!

4) Think positive and believe in yourself. You've come this far, and the best advocate you've got for that phenomenal document you've spent your sleepless nights on is you--so be good to yourself, appreciate your efforts and hard work and believe that you can and will find a home for your manuscript.

5) Start your next project. As with anything, you only improve with practice. And since you're seeking representation, that obviously means that you're in this for the long haul, right? So why not get started on that next project and put all those creative juices and great energy to use on the next great thing instead of dwelling on what will be?

Good luck on your writing endeavors and please feel free to post and share any positive experiences or advice you garner from the process!


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