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Tips for the Querying Writer

It’s a weird feeling, starting a new book while querying the previous one. Part of this is because I’m new to querying in general, and that is weird in and of itself--but the biggest strangeness is having my brain split between two projects. I’ve never been someone who can read multiple books at once, and certainly not someone who can write multiple books at once. I have to work on One Thing, and then if I need to stop and do something else, it’s very clear in my mind that I am officially pausing work on this One Thing and starting up on something else.

It remains to be seen how long I will stay sane. So far, so good. Although my housemates may argue otherwise, they don’t realize just how much worse it could get. (Cue dramatic music. Dun dun DUUUUHHHHN.)

Anyway, I thought I’d share some helpful information and pro tips garnered from my very first week of submitting queries, for anyone who might find themselves in a similar position in the future.



* You will never receive so many wrong number telephone calls as after you’ve sent out full manuscripts to agents. The numbers will come up on your phone as “unknown,” and later you’ll swear up and down that you recognized a NYC area code.

* Always have chocolate/television/alcohol on hand--depending on your age and inclination--for after you hang up on that wrong number, and your heart is trying to come out of cardiac arrest. This will also help you fight the urge to hunt down and kill people for the simple reason that they happened to hit a 4 instead of a 7.

* Chocolate/television/alcohol is not a replacement for actual human interaction or for the experience of leaving your writercave at least once a day.

* Your friends will be REALLY excited the first time you get a request, or indeed for any information possibly pertaining to your quest for an agent. They’ll even stay excited for the next few, too. Be careful how you spend this currency, though--by the nineteenth time you mention that an agent you’ve queried mentioned a manuscript on Twitter, and could this be yours they’re talking about, and maybe it IS, even if they’re talking about a paranormal romance, because hey, there’s romance in your book, and it’s fantasy, and fantasy is kind of like paranormal -- by the nineteenth time you’ve done this, they will Stop Being Excited.

* If you are so unfortunate as to live in a time zone opposite from the agents you’re querying, be prepared to wake up at 3 AM sharp every day, because that’s the time that agents in New York will have responded to queries if they happen to check them first thing in the morning. There is nothing you can do to avoid this side effect--just embrace it. Have a glass of water on your nightstand and some music to play while trying to fall back asleep after checking your email half a dozen times.

* No, that was not the sound you’ve rigged up to alert you when you’ve got mail. You’re hearing phantom binks.

* Nope. Not that one either. That was the dog stretching.

* Your writerfriends on Twitter will have a slightly higher threshold of tolerance for your incessant babbling about agents than your friends in real life, but their patience is not without its limits either. When you finally tweet, “I have an agent!” you want them to be thrilled for you, not thrilled that you’re finally going to shut up.

* Never before have two words caused you so much terror in your inbox: “Re: QUERY.” It’s okay. Yes, you will have nightmares in which these words chase you down corridors, limping and off-balance… reQUERY… reQUERY… reQUERY… but while this will not pass (at least not in a week), you will get better at pretending you’re not a total loon after you’ve woken up.

* And finally? My last tip: you’re not alone. <3

Comments

(Anonymous)

Jemi Fraser

I love your list. I've only sent out a few queries. I was lucky enough to get some wonderful feedback that sent me back to the revising table for a bit. thanks for the tips! :)
Actually, I enjoy hearing about your querying process. It`s something that I will have to go through someday, so I might as well know as much as I can about it >.<

There`s nothing wrong with starting a new book. You need something to occupy your time and prevent yourself from checking your inbox 26473627485722 times an hour.
Aww, I'm glad! I joke about talking about it WAY too much, but the sad truth is I'm censoring myself quite a bit already. As my housemates can attest, I have a one-track mind. Luckily one of them is a writer as well, and the other is very good at tuning me out while making appropriately impressed noises as I babble.

And omg, yes. I mean, the deal with myself was always that I'd get to start writing HUNTED once TIW was out on queries, but I'm still so glad about it. I swear, it's my life boat. :P
I love seeing what you're going through. Keep us posted!
Haha, you're too sweet. ;) Thanks!
I'm glad the querying-coping is going well :D
Hee. It'll settle down once I get used to it. It's a marathon not a sprint, etc. etc. I think the worst part about being a writer is having to be patient! :P