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Surviving the agent query process...

Cheryl's Musings: Surviving the agent query process...

Cheryl's Musings

How to Thrive on the Writer's Road


Surviving the agent query process...

I have a midgrade fantasy manuscript that I'm (theoretically) sending out to agents and editors. I say theoretically, because I suffer from a common writer's problem: fear of rejection. Not as badly as, say, when I first began to write and submit, but the submission process is often tough.

For a variety of reasons, this manuscript is particularly tough to submit. After I queried a few agents the end of last year, I stopped. I had excuses--maybe the book wasn't ready, or maybe the concept wasn't marketable for a first-time author. The truth? Sending it out was (is) incredibly emotionally draining.

For the New Year, I resolved to get back on the horse. I'm researching agents and sending out queries to a few who seem like good fits, even though it's scary :). Here's how:

  1. I told my critique group to keep me accountable. (They will!)
  2. I send out a query or two in the morning. Then I meditate. THEN I write.
  3. I tell myself that probably, nothing will come of the submissions. I bargain with myself, promise myself that I won’t have to worry about it for a while….
  4. Blatant bribery. I mean, incentives. ("If you send out that query, Cheryl, you can buy a raspberry-lemon gelato at Glacier....")
  5. And I keep working on several other deliciously distracting projects.

How’s it going? Well, I’ve sent out those first few queries. And I’ve gotten a few nibbles, from a few agents I’d be very excited to work with. Of course, my coping strategy #3 is failing me: obviously, I will hear from some of them! But I guess that was the point of submitting in the first place.

Just one question: does anyone else burst into tears when they get a request-for-partial email?! Goofy emotions.

Ooh, wonder if I can use that in a story?

:P Cheryl

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At February 26, 2008 at 8:04 PM , Blogger Dot said...

Cheryl, would you like some advice from a total stranger? Heh.

I discovered your blog about a month ago and bookmarked it and have been enjoying it. I was just about to add a link to it to my new blog when I read this post. And I have to say, DISCONNECT. You need to put total emotional distance between you and your subs. Yes, I know it's unrealistic, but you must do it! Otherwise hope and excitement will kill you. The querying and being asked for partials and fulls process is exhausting. And the more emotional distance you can put between yourself and it, the better. Query like a madwoman, but don't think about them. Send out those pages, and then put them out of your mind. There is so much luck involved in this process, in addition to other elements you have absolutely no control over.

Ack, this is getting too long. I hope it's helpful and not depressing.

At February 26, 2008 at 8:13 PM , Blogger Cheryl Reif said...

Hi Dot--Of course your thoughts are helpful! It's always encouraging to hear from others. I know, I need to's something I'm working on! It's nice to hear it from someone else, though. I'll keep on keeping on :). Now I have to go check out your blog....


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