The Query Bandwagon

Saturday night as I lay in bed trying to fall asleep, I fell off the bandwagon. I don't know where it came from, but out of the blue, with no warning whatsoever, I began to panic. My heart was racing. I tried to be inconspicuous as possible, and squeezed my eyes shut trying to calm myself down, even though it felt as though I could barely breathe.

Inhale.

Exhale.

Queries. Queries! QUERIES!!!

It was time to query! (Panic!) I was at the next stage of the game, the part where writing my query was in order. (Or polishing it to perfection, rather.) I guess for some reason my brain just hadn't put two and two together yet. Writing query + querying agent = possible rejection. (REJECTION!) Duh. Yep... that's how the process works.

It was as though I'd already been defeated - because I was lying there, assuming to be the stereotypical writer who sent query after query and received rejection after rejection. I very well may be that person, in fact. But my point is, how in the world was I to know that yet, at 1:00 in the morning, lying there in my bed on a Saturday night (or yes, technically Sunday morning)?

I spent a few hours researching agents yesterday. First I went over the ones I'd found a few months ago. At the time I'd searched for days - going through books, perusing the internet, ect. to make sure I'd found just the right people to query. But at that point I wasn't where I truly needed to be with the WiP, so I'd stuffed everything away into a folder and went back to editing.

When I sat down to my folder, a few of the agents I'd found months ago were still fresh in my mind. They went in the "First Query" pile. (Ten agents is all I'm going to attempt for my first time. I don't want to sit around knowing there are tons of them floating around in cyberspace waiting to be read, possibly read and rejected already, or I'll be freaking out for months.) After a few hours, counting a few I'd found already and the new ones I'd jotted down to look up, I finally had nine agents in my "First Query" pile. I just needed one more - the one, incidentally, that I'd been trying to find the most.

A few specific authors have reminded me of myself in ways. One in particular reminded me of myself a bit too much. I kept pointing out similarities between that book and mine to Lovemuffin as I read it. The first time I pointed something out, he laughed. "Ohhh no." That was his reaction. Like "Oh great, that sucks for your sanity." The second time - "You aren't changing it!" - his voice a few decibels louder. (Basically what he always says when that frantic look spreads across my face which, loosely translated means, "Heck no you are not changing it. I've dealt with this crazy woman in my house for over 6 months now. I've been as supportive as I know how, and I'm about to tell her to find a new place to live - and will for sure if she thinks she is going to change that book one more time"!) Then a few hours after I had taken a break at agent number 9, coming across the closest thing to my WiP yet he says - "You're always going to find some similarities!" (I imagine him looking like Charlie Brown yelling that as I type this, but in reality, he didn't really yell with his arms shoved down to his sides and his hands bunched into fists. And he was right, what he said was true. But I didn't want to hear that. I'm not sure what I wanted to hear, actually.)

"But... listen to this!" I yelled as he shook his head and walked out of our bedroom. I read two separate sentences, within a few paragraphs of each other. He didn't respond. (Which, I'm thinking, was probably the best thing he could have done, for his own sake.)

A few hours later I went back to looking for agents again. The author of that one book, the one I'd been searching all over the stinkin' internet to figure out the agent for, the one that I'd waved in Lovemuffin's face a few hours earlier in fact - that information was still eluding me. It was driving me crazy. I cursed Google. I cursed Wikipedia. I cursed authors for not listing their agents' names on their websites. How dare they. Didn't they know they were making it harder on me? I mean really.

I logged into the site I'd begun using to track queries and decided, what the hey. I'll just type in Women's Fiction, and see what happens. Well... three hundred agents happened. Some accepting queries, some not. Men, women, agencies I'd never even heard of. Eight pages of agents who, at one point, were either currently or recently receiving queries of women's fiction.

I stared at the pages. Where do you start? Click on the first one and go down the line, researching? (That sounds obvious, doesn't it? But I was trying to find a method for my madness, I guess.) I read about thirty agents' names, their agencies. Then I just clicked on one. A random link, random name. Neither meant a thing to me. And get this. Not only was it the agency representing the book I'd been going crazy looking for, but an agency that represented THREE authors I was familiar with (that particular one included).

Was it an omen? Did the sky open up and a lightning bolt came through my ceiling along with a deep voice saying "You shall now query this agent!"? No. But I can't tell you the relief I felt. That urgent, pressing, you're-running-out-of-time-fast feeling I'd had since Saturday night, was gone. Boom. Just like that.

I'm not clueless or naive enough to think that finding that specific literary agency/agency meant they'll eventually represent me. But after finding my number ten, I feel ready to take the next step. Who knows what will happen next - but for now, at this moment at least, I feel peace.  I'm back - nice and comfy, legs crossed, with my hands locked and resting behind my head - relaxing on the Query Bandwagon.

4 comments:

Davin Malasarn said...

I'm glad you're feeling at peace at the end of all this! I think you're doing the best you can do--just starting. We all have to start somewhere, and if it takes good omens to get you there, that's great!

Jen Chandler said...

I understand your panic. I, too, am about to jump on that query train. I've had my query ready for two months but the manuscript needed a bit more tweaking first. I should be ready to panic...er...send it out in a month or so!

Happy Monday,
Jen

N.L. Belardes said...

I'm on the query train too! toot toot!

Johanna said...

I agree...sending the first 10 queries WAS intimidating and I did sit at my computer anxiously awaiting each response. But as the rejections came in and I realized they were mostly form letters, I began to get disheartened. But after 40 queries (Yes 40!) I finally got a request for a partial and though it didn't go my way in the end, it has given me hope that there will be an agent out there for me...and you! Good luck!