Things that scare the heck out of me: spiders, giant squid, octopi, the thought of querying, Weeping Angels, Cybermen, the White Witch, the...

Querying And Other Things That Make My Liver Quiver

Things that scare the heck out of me: spiders, giant squid, octopi, the thought of querying, Weeping Angels, Cybermen, the White Witch, the writing of a query letter, the creatures in my closet, the beasties under my bed, the actual act of querying, and those creepy, balloon-men thingies you sometimes see on the side of the road. I think I actually had a nightmare about those once...

But back to the whole querying thing. For those of you who don’t know, querying is essentially the act of ripping out your heart (complete with all your hopes and dreams) and sending it out to book publishers and literary agents, practically asking them to toss your very soul on the floor and dance on all your ambitions and aspirations - all the while praying that they won’t.

OK, so maybe that’s a bit dramatic. I mean, publishers and agents do want to accept your work; after all, it’s how they make money and, like writers, they have all dedicated their lives to the bettering of storytelling because they love stories.

Still, knowing that doesn't make the process any easier. I mean, as I said before, the very thought of querying is scary, and the writing of a query letter is not only downright terrifying, it's also extremely difficult. If you haven’t done it, imagine trying to sum up your favorite book or movie in under three hundred words with no “ums” or “uhs” or “ers” and as few as possible “And thens” or “What happened next was”. Plus, you have to write it in such an enticing way that the reader feels like they just have to read more. Because if they don’t, the agent or publisher sends your heart back to you, shredded into little itty bits and pieces, with your dying hopes and dreams gasping out their last, and a letter saying something along the lines of, “I’m sorry, but this project is not right for us at this time.”

So... yeah, no pressure.

And I haven’t even gotten to the part where you send the letter. I mean, you’re thinking, “Let me get this straight: I am sending my very heart and soul to someone I do not know, probably have never met, and am just hoping that they’ll love it? That they won’t immediately burst out laughing at the stupidity of the concept? Or glare at the misplaced comma? Or scoff at the naivete of my main character?  That’s what you want me to do???!!!” It’s freaking hard enough to convince myself to let my mother read it, much less some big-time stranger in New York who’s represented or published like half of the greats.

And that’s the other thing. I dare to have the audacity to think that my book could be read alongside one of the greats? That somebody would even want to read it? That they’d so much as take a first look at it, much less read the entire thing? I’m a teenager, for Pete’s sake, an amateur, practically a newborn in a dirty diaper compared to most of these guys. And I’m trying to get published? Pfft! It’ll never happen! I’m just wasting the publishers’ and the agents’ time. I’m wasting my time. I should just do something attainable like become a neurological surgeon or the queen of Sheba. Why should I even bother?

Why should I bother, you ask? Because I want to be published. Because I believe in myself, I believe in my dream, and most of all, I believe that this is what I’ve been called by God to do. Querying happens to be a necessary evil in the process, but that doesn’t mean I’m gonna try to skip over it. I’m going to keep thinking about query letters, keep writing query letters, keep sending query letters, and keep getting rejected - until I stop getting rejected. Until someone looks at my book, poor, ragged, little thing that it is, and sees the potential. The diamond in the rough, if you will. And then, I’ll get a call or an email, and someone will scream or write: “I LOVE IT! Can I please see the rest?”

And then I will scream and do a little happy dance. And then I’ll freak out. And then I’ll tell all my family and my friends. And then I’ll remember the agent or publisher that’s still waiting on me and hurriedly send off my little baby manuscript. And it’ll all be the start of something great. Difficult, but great.

And hey, sometimes even rejections can make you feel good (though not half as good as an acceptance would). Back in August, I got a rejection from an agent, but she said that it had less to do with my strengths as a writer and more to do with her goals as an agent. She also said that I should keep writing. I'm taking that reply and looking at the bright side: clearly, I’m not too crappy a writer. Lol. Honestly though, even though it was a rejection (and might even be a form one at that), I’ve read that thing over and over, telling myself that each query I send out is one step closer. One step closer...

Because it only takes one yes. Even if I get a billion no’s, it only takes one yes. So, I’m going to keep writing, keep querying, and keep pushing for that yes. Because I know that, eventually, it’s coming my way. Someday, someone’s going to send my heart back to me with all of my hopes and dreams not only intact, but primed and proofed and ready. Ready to be shown to the world and to shine.

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  1. With ya all the way, sister!

  2. Hey! Visiting from the GTW's link-up.
    You won Alex Martin's writing contest last year, didn't you? I think I remember your blog from way back then. :) I just tried to follow you, but it wouldn't let me. :-/

    1. Hey! Thanks for stopping by! And yes, I did, that one about the snow. That was a fun contest. :D
      Hmm, that's weird. Which follow did you try?


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