Thursday, November 5, 2009

What Now?

If you've been reading this blog awhile you know that I was determined at one time to keep 20-25 queries "out there" at all times. Well, this has dwindled to seven, as you can see. (Technically there are still 25, because I went back on my resolve to count as rejections those agents who haven't responded in a dog's age -- by the way, that's a weird expression, isn't it? -- and moved them into their own category, "Lost at Sea." I did this, I confess, because the number of rejections in the old stats box was depressing the hell out of me. It's psychologically comforting to keep that number down, even if it requires legerdemain and bogus accounting practices.)

Anyway, as I was saying -- what now? I sometimes feel like I'm going to run out of literary agents to query, though I've got this huge effin' list of unqueried agentes de la genre de mysteries y suspense/thrillers, so I don't know WTF I'm worried about. Still, I can't work up the enthusiasm to cut and paste the query letter into an e-mail or print it out and make up another SASE. I don't want that pile of rejections to get bigger -- even though they're not really rejections of my book, just my query letter. So I'm just sitting here like a lump on a log -- another weird expression -- and doing nothing. Nothing at all.

UPDATE: Well, you can see I got off the log and sent out a few queries. WTF. It can't hurt, right?


  1. I'm hoping to join you in this adventure by next year. I'm in the process of polishing my WIP right now. So, I NEED for you to see the glass as half full.

    For instance, look at the "Rejections" stat as a group of people that you can secretly laugh at later on when you sell. It's their loss...their 15%.

  2. Did you see the recent article in the NY Times about "The Help"? It was rejected by almost 50 agents.

    I'm not really in a place to advise you (commiserate is more like it), but here are a couple of thoughts:

    We were talking before about seeking individualized advice on queries - I don't know if you think that would be worth it for you to do that?

    You could sit down and do the numbers on whether you're actually going to run out of agents. (In other words, demonstrate to yourself quantitatively that you're not.) Then go ahead and send out five or ten new queries, reassured.

    The last thing is whether there's anything you could go to start the juices flowing for another novel idea. "Write another book" (by which I mean just that and not "give up on this one" - no way!) is pretty cliched advice on agent blogs, but it's also good advice. I've been dragging and lagging on it myself.

  3. Since September I've sent out close to 25 queries. I've heard NOTHING, save for a rejection or two.

    I think agents don't respond to queries anymore. Or at least ones with my name on them.

  4. What now?

    Two things--no, three actually:
    1. Try to figure out why the queries that were rejected, were rejected. Does the query need sharpening? Is it your plot? Have you offended the agents by starting the query, "hey you,"? Have you gone on a bit too long about your cats in the paragraph about you?

    2. Start work on another novel.

    3. Don't give up. NEVER give up.

  5. I have been in that mood lately too - the what's the point mood, but after you cut and paste those queries, and you hit the send button, you have to admit it lifts your spirits, even if just a little!

  6. Eh, don't worry Travener, I feel the same way you do on the 'running out of agents to query' thing. My list of rejections (yes, I keep a list - not a hit list mind you *cough*) but every couple of months, I'll sit down, pour over my query and make it better or worse and then send it out again.

    The key to publishing is preseverance, don't give up, don't give in and don't let 'em take you alive!

    Sooner or later, someone's gonna listen. Or blacklist you like they've done me :-)

    I know! We can start our own darn publishing house!

  7. I have that panic of no-more-agents, and then I dig deeper and find a handful more. Optimism restored. Don't forget that you still have requests which is a big step as it is. You never know--they may be all you need.

    Good luck!

  8. Abby, I try not to live with the illusion that the first agent who actually frakkin' reads my book is gonna offer me representation.

    Brilliant and compelling as the book is...

    I'd be a whole lot more comfortable if I had five or more full mss. out there sitting on agents' desks (or in their Kindles or whatever).

  9. So tell us about the book? What is it about? Genre?

  10. Mystery/suspense. Possibly mystery/thriller. Not a purely conventional whodunnit.

  11. Reading your post, it struck me the difference between US and UK querying. Here in the UK, the majority (if not all) of the agents expect a query letter to be accompanied by the synopsis and three chapters, straight away. As far as I'm gathering, in America, you have to query to ask whether or not you can send even 3 chapters? Sheesh...