Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Hiho the Derrio a Querying I Will Go!

           Well, my friends, it is done.  My book, that is.  After ten months, I’ve finally arrived at the point where I can say that, where I feel I have nothing left to say, that is until someone in authority—an agent or editor perhaps—informs me otherwise.  Honestly, I could probably keep writing, editing, revising and adding until the day I die, but there has to be some point at which I tell myself, “That’s enough, honey,” and I think I’ve finally found that point.  I am satisfied, but I’m not happy about it.
I feel a great loss in my life right now.  I’ve spent nearly every minute of every day, twelve to eighteen hours a day, for the last ten months working on this story.  I have carved out lives for my characters and become intimately involved with them, and I mean intimately.  I have taken every step of their terrifying journey and experienced every emotional and physical blow they have.  I have wept at their losses and rejoiced at their victories.  And now I have stepped away from them and that hurts more than I can say.  It feels like I’ve lost a dear loved one, like they’ve moved far away and I might never see them again.  I miss them all so much.  But I want others to experience their journey, as well, and that won’t happen unless I find myself an agent and work towards getting published. So, my friends, I’m off to the land of querying.
During the last six months, I’ve educated myself on the entire process of properly formatting my manuscript, writing a kickass query and finessing remarkable synopses, both one and four page—thanks so much Nathan Bransford and Anne Mini.  While polishing my manuscript to a high-gloss, I’ve written, rewritten, edited and had my query and synopses critiqued by my wonderful friend, Lisa Regan, until they, too, sparkle and gleam like Edward Cullen on a sunny day (yes, I did read the Twilight series.)  So I am ready to march onward into that dark, terrifying abyss that is querying for an agent.  (Cue ominous music.)
 I’ve been reading all the blogs and forums where hard-working writers describe their querying experiences, and frankly, I am terrified!  It is so disheartening to hear how long—often years—and hard they have all been submitting their queries and receiving nothing but hundreds of form rejections, or even worse, no feedback at all.  Worse still is Natalie Whipple’s nerve-wracking story of being on submission for fifteen months!  FIFTEEN MONTHS!  And all that after landing the beloved Nathan Bransford as an agent only to lose him when he left the business this fall.  Alas, she did find another and seems quite content. 
But still, we writers really have no hope of publishing—traditionally, that is—unless we land ourselves an agent.  And even then, things are not guaranteed.  I read a recent blog by Betsy Lerner where she asked for her writer follower’s worst agent stories, and boy did I get an eyeful of disheartening and downright scary stories.  It’s enough to make an aspiring writer hide under the covers until the coming of the Apocalypse.  But I’ve worked way too long and way too hard to give up without even trying, no matter the bad news out there about how e-books and e-readers are ruining the traditional publishing industry.  I will prevail!
So it is with great enthusiasm and even greater hope that I now declare the opening of the Nancy Thompson Starts Querying Games!  Of course, I just had to pick the worst time of year to start the process, the dreaded holidays.  I hear most agents more or less close up shop between Thanksgiving and New Years then return to their offices positively swimming in a sea of queries received during that time.  Their advice?  Wait until after the Martin Luther King holiday to submit your query.  By then, the agent assistants will have worked their weary selves through most of the slush pile and be ever ready for more.  So that is my plan, readers.  In the meantime, I am compiling a list of appropriate agents to query, hoping somewhere in that list lies the agent of my dreams, someone who truly loves and believes in my book. 
           On a side note, and quite exciting at that, my friend, Lisa, has graciously referred me to her agent who read and accepted my query and then proceeded to request a full manuscript and synopsis!  A request for A FULL!  Can you believe that?  My very first serious query and she asked for a full!  I am humbled and happy and terrified all at once.  I couldn’t eat all day yesterday after I sent the package off to her (and some of you know how amazing that statement is.)  Now I realize this is a long shot.  I mean, come on, no one lands an agent on their first query, right?  Well, one can only hope, I guess.  She has my query and manuscript exclusively until January 17th, after which I start querying in earnest, although I would love nothing else than to land this particular agent at any point in The Games.  So keep your fingers crossed—plus your toes and even your eyes—that I am successful at my querying endeavors.  And I could always use a few well-placed prayers if you’re into that.  I know I am!  God help me! 

And as always, I am looking for followers for my blog, so click that follow button, people and join me on my journey.  I am willing to do the same for your blog, as well.

1 comment:

Lisa L. Regan said...

Woo hoo! Let the games begin! I am hoping you'll be that one exception--the success story--the person who gets an agent on her first try. I believe in you!