Writing Posts

Second Chances: Querying Edition

So I’m nearing the end of the current book I’m working on. I have two major scenes left to write, plus three new chapters I want to go back and incorporate before I let the novel breathe, hopefully returning to edit it around August/September. I went on a writing binge today and was super excited about where this book is going, plus how much progress I’ve been making on it. I’m almost at 60,000 words and think I could end it between 75-80k, which is such a sweet spot for a debut writer. Which got me thinking about returning to the querying trenches, sooner rather than later.

And I’m excited about it.

I know, fellow writers. I’m officially going off the deep end by claiming that I’m excited to query. But here’s why: I’ve learned a lot from my previous experience in the query trenches. And, unfortunately, I made a lot of mistakes. Looking at the first draft I ever wrote of a query–and actually sent out, which makes it ten times worse–makes me cringe. What a disservice that query did to my story and I apologize profusely to any agent who found that in your inbox a couple years ago. There was probably 12 of you.

My query improved as I improved as a writer and the responses to the queries, though still rejections, became more positive in turn. It still isn’t perfect. I also learned, after three separate rounds of querying spread out between three years, some “harsh” lessons that I wish I would have known before I queried, so I might have actually had a chance with some of the amazing agents I queried. One of those things would be realizing my book was actually NA instead of YA. Or perhaps that trying to pitch a 125k novel as a debut writer is more difficult than pitching in general, which is pretty damn hard already. I had more errors than just those, but those two alone set me up where only a miracle alone would have gotten me a partial request, let alone a full.

Realizing all of these mistakes after the fact was a nice wake-up call, reminding me that the work doesn’t end once you’ve written a book and edited it numerous times. Researching agents, knowing how your novel fits into the market and working your ass off crafting a query are all required, amongst other things, before you being querying. And they were all things I didn’t do well enough before. After realizing all this, I was bummed, because I felt like I wasted my chance to work some amazing agents because I was foolish and uninformed, and didn’t do the proper research.

I was wrong on that front. I only wasted my opportunity for that book.

This science fiction novel is a new gig. The boards are erased. And if some of those agents that I already queried for fantasy also represent adult science fiction, I can query again. And this time, I know more. I know I need to do more work to prep this round, not only with my novel and my query, but also with the agents themselves, including reading works by their published authors and making sure we’d make a good team before querying them.

So yes, I’m excited to query again because I get a second chance at it. And if someone picks this book up, hopefully they’ll be interested in my previous trilogy, too, despite my mistakes. But before I get all worked up  about querying, I still have a book to finish, edits to suffer through, agents to research and queries to craft. But through it all, this is an exciting time, friends. 🙂

Cheers.

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