Saturday, August 21, 2010

One Year Anniversary of AgentQuest

Ah, it seems like yesterday... A year ago today, full of optimism, Trav embarked on AgentQuest(TM), sending out a batch of 25 queries.  The very first reply was a request for a partial.

And it's all been downhill from there.

A hundred-plus queries, however many fulls and partials and Nice Agent Ladies later, Trav is no farther along than when he started.  The only difference is that he now refers to himself in the third person.

What has Trav learned in this year of woe?

That when folks in publishing say it's a subjective business, they ain't kidding.

That however long you think it's going to take to get published, it's going to take longer.

That however much research you put into targeting agents, it's still a lot like monkeys throwing darts in the dark.

That rejection and frustration are your constant companions.

That alcohol is your best friend.

Trav supposes there are other lessons to be learned, but doesn't feel like investigating the subject further.  The pursuit of a literary agent is what it is: a grind, a slog, a trek, a Quest.

So, in the next couple of weeks, Trav will haul out the list of literary agents he's compiled, check QueryTracker and Agent Query once more for new agents, dust off the query letter and, come September, fire some more darts off into the inky gloom.

WTF else can he do?


  1. It is a long hard road. The biggest thing you can do for yourself is keep writing, move on to the next book. No matter how good the book you're submitting is move on to the next.

  2. You're doing the right thing. And I agree with Ariel. I haven't had close to as many rejections as you, but I went on to the next one, too. This month's writer's digest had an interesting article about the top ten writers' rules. Different "writerly" people put their take on whether to break or follow them. One of them was "Kill your Darlings". I liked what N.M. Kelby said (the "break it" point of view):

    "Rather than killing your darlings, hide them in well-marked files. You may use them later."

    That's kind of the approach I've taken, too. I'm not giving up, by any means. I'm just moving on for now, knowing that some day, I might go back, work on my "baby" some more, and that time it very well might get picked up. Who knows.

    Keep on truckin', Travener!

  3. You've also learned that other writers are a supportive lot, yes? *bats eyelashes*

  4. Well, you deserve a lot of credit for sticking through with it for a whole year and still not showing signs of giving up. I also think Ariel is right on the money. Start working on something else if you can, even as you keep querying for your first project. It's a long, hard road, but I think Tina's right in that having others around who share your pain makes it easier. Your blog's done that for a lot of people (including me).

  5. I agree with Ariel and Coffeelvnmom and Lt. Cccyxx- set it aside and move on for now - then come back to it later. I had a writing professor say you need to write one novel and throw it away (or stick it in a drawer, or use it as kindling) in order to learn how to write a novel. So get on that next novel!

  6. Look on the bright side... it's kind of like our one year anniversary, too. Just about a year ago, you and JM started leaving me lovely comments, I reciprocated, and the rest is bloggy history.

  7. When I say start writing the next novel I don't mean abandoning the one that's finished. Keep querying. But don't focus only on that part but work on a new book as well.
    You have to work on the next novel because you're a writer and writers have to write.

  8. I hear you, Trav. It's a tough thing, this rejection. Definitely move on. But also know that your blogging HAS helped others. Remember when you posted that list of agents you liked? That was super helpful for me to see (and use).

    Keep on keeping on. And we sympathize.

  9. Many times in the last year I have done the gut check and asked myself, "well, are you done? Had enough pain? Ready to bag it?" And the answer was always no.

    Our choice, every day, is always the same: pick ourselves up and keep trying or dig a hole and get in. The temptations of hole-digging are admittedly great at times, but I do hope you hang tough, my cyber friend.

  10. You have too look at what you can control. You can control writing the best books you can. You can control writing a query that will hopefully get the interest of the elusive agents so they ask to read what you've written.
    After that it's out of your hands. But you can lay down some ground rules. If someone wants an exclusive you give them a time limit, say two weeks and not let them keep your work out of circulation while they dither.
    Rejection is lousy and painful, but in the end the ultimate rejection is to quit. But I don't sense you're thinking of doing that.
    Write on!

  11. Ditto to everything. This blog is proof you're too good a writer to languish. Set it aside, start something new. Someday you'll come back to it. Don't stop writing.

  12. I'm getting ready to query more in Sept. too. Once the dog days of summer have slunk away it'll be time to get serious about this business! You are not fucked. You are just in an August funk, like many of us.

    Did I tell you I like the new look your blog has assumed?

  13. Trav? Travener? Are you still here? It's been ten days. We're getting worried.

    Maybe a blog award will make you feel better. Come on over to my place and get one.