The Next Step: Querying
I’m not completely new to querying. I’ve sent out my two short stories to multiple magazines as they search for a home. (Duotrope is my friend.) Neither have found one yet. Translation? I’ve been rejected dozens of times already in my short career.
But that’s okay as I explain in my previous post about rejection. (It’s fun to read that old post because I talk about the short story “Gabriella and Wink” that morphed into the full length middle grade novel I’m querying now. Progress does happen!)
My views on rejection haven’t changed. I’ve heard dozens of talks by successful authors about the constant rejection in a writing career. Kevin J. Anderson carries around a trophy without a head he won for the most rejection letters by weight. If he can survive that to become the superstar writer he is, so can I, right?
My first query attempt with THE INNKEEPER’S DAUGHTER: AN ELLA AND WINK STORY didn’t go so well. If you want to see my original post, you can find it here. I sent this one alone because it was requested from an agent I spoke with at the Houston Writers Guild April Conference last year. She NEVER responded, even when I sent a follow-up three months later. She’s now listed as a “former” literary agent. Hmmm.
It’s probably for the best as the story needed a re-write, which I’ve completed along with a final edit. So, what did I do all day yesterday? Researched agents actively acquiring middle grade fantasy. I used Query Tracker as my introductory tool. I searched for agents, then studied their agencies. I read what books they’ve recently bought and detailed wishlists of the staff.
Now, agencies aren’t like magazines. They almost always allow simultaneous submissions, which means I can send my query to more than one at once. These organizations are inundated with emails daily. They’re usually pretty understanding if you want to try multiple places in an attempt to get noticed. Unfortunately, I don’t have a personal connection to any agent who represents my genre. Hence, I decided five at a time was a good number.
I found two that I think are PERFECT. One’s twitter says she learned everything she needed to know from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. We could be best friends. The second represents exclusively science fiction, fantasy, and horror at all levels. Excellent! She’ll totally get Ella and Wink. I picked three more whose bio said they were looking for middle grade fantasy.
You’re NOT supposed to query more than one agent from the same agency. All five I chose were from different agencies:
Yes, there is an alphabetical logic to my initial queries. It did occur to me that maybe I should start in reverse order just in case this is what most people do, but…I’d already started and I’m not one to change directions in the middle. Hopefully, it doesn’t matter. I have to reach the right agent at the right agency at the right time with the right book.
Maybe I should buy more lottery tickets instead…
How has your querying gone? Who is ecstatic right now that they’re NOT a writer?
(The awesome featured image is from this website: http://thelucky13s.blogspot.com/2012/07/my-querying-journey.html. I tried to tag it, but I’m not sure it’s showing up.)