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#Agents, #Querying and the Flippy-Floppy Writer’s Mind

By on Jan 8, 2015 in The Scrawl |

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It’s been a while since I wrote anything of significance here and I wanted to remedy that. I have decided to continue pursuit of an agent. Yes, obviously I was considering self-pub, previously, and I have not ruled that out, but for the moment I want to exhaust the possibility of going the traditional route. Which I have not, yet. I am still awaiting feedback from my #SFFPit query. But in the meantime I am looking around for agents, learning about them, doing my homework as it where.

So what does my query process look like?

1. Finished, polished manuscript.

That’s the biggest one. I want this book to shine, to quote Ms. Hannigan, like the top of the Chrysler building. So when I’m done with my rough draft, my first draft, and then have floated it around a few beta readers, I read through it again to make sure I have at a solid product to introduce.

2. Make a list of agents.

I make a spreadsheet for each work I complete which allows me to track when I queried, what special notes to include, what order I desire to query in, etc. I fill that up. So for this current work I have twenty agents I am considering. I found one agent I want to query to more than any other and, oddly, that’s a first for me. I am always very… resistant to this part of the process. I hate the rejection letters. I hate hearing that I didn’t write something magical that everyone is clamoring to read. And I tend to try to make myself somewhat aloof with regard to the process.

What do I mean? I tend to try and raise myself up and above the negative feelings every writer gets when they see a response that begins, “Dear Author:”. So I tend to not play favorites. But this year? I have a favorite.

3. Begin building my query.

This is always tricky because I tend to write several variations of my query. Some of my agents are looking for things, in particular, that I want to highlight in the work I’m presenting. So then it becomes, “Which one to whom?” and I puzzle, study, and think on the best possible query for each agent and agency.

4. Begin sending out queries.

This part, to quote Napoleon Dynamite, “…it kills! Turn it off!” I hate that feeling of dry, quiet middle that accompanies having sent a query and not having heard any response. But there’s always a chance. Always.

5. Begin crossing out names.

Obviously the odds are never in my favor. More people wrote books this year than in any prior year of history. My odds are always getting worse. And I recognize that my work is not universal. I haven’t written a book any and everyone will love. But each name I cross out, each time I get a rejection, there’s a subtle sweetness way down deep. Because I know that I am feeling the pain of commission, not the pain of regret. And yes, that pain can be beautiful.

One day I hope to add the following steps:

6. Buy a sixer of the good stuff and a cigar because I got a request for more materials.

7. Order a keg and some steaks because I signed with an agent.

8. Begin construction on a Scrooge McDuck sized money bin when I sell my first manuscript.

I will continue to keep my friends and readers up to date with where I am, what first world injustices I have suffered, and obviously what color paint will go on the money bin.