Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Two Frakking Years of Querying

Well, kids, it's been two years now since I sent that first batch of 20-25 queries off into cyberspace.

And what a couple of years it's been.  Adding our family's personal financial crisis into the mix made the preceding 24 months just all that much more special...

Well, what have I learned from all this?

Mostly, that if you like being frustrated, try getting your book published.

I offer no real advice -- and why would you take advice from me, anyway? -- other than that the two most useful websites I found for queryers are Querytracker, where you can find agents for your genre, etc., and keep track of all your querying, and the AbsoluteWrite water cooler, where writers discuss their experiences with agents, good and bad.

Those of you who've followed my semi-irregular postings lately know that I've queryed to the max now, hitting up just about every decent mystery-genre agent there is. I have, I think, two fulls and a partial out there but let's not kid ourselves: they'll say the same thing as everyone else, either (a) sorry this isn't for me or (b) hey, this is pretty good, but in today's lousy market...

Unless they follow the lead of Agent X, who first led me to the mountaintop and then kicked me over the cliff. Or they might do me in with protestations of how much they love my book, a la the Nice Agent Lady, before they stick the shiv in.

In one way or another, 2011 is going to be decisive.  Absent a miracle, I'll give up on agents for good at the end of next month and query-bomb the ten or so publishers I've identified who take mysteries over the transom. And then when I'm done with them, it's off to e-book land.

I'd be happier about that if it weren't for the fact that every clod with a laptop is "publishing" his/her "book" these days via Kindle and Nook.  I don't like being associated so closely with crap.

More important, I think I finally have the kernel of an idea for another novel, at long last, and can begin roughing it out.  I'm going to find the time somehow, financial pressures or no.

So things are looking up, sort of.

Good luck with your querying to all my fellow lunatics who've chosen to write.


  1. At two years, you're only a novice, the new kid in school who gets bloodied at recess. We are all of us lunatics..."Lunatic friends, I know you're out there..."

    I'm right with you, Trav, hating the idea of being associated with crap, but there are a lot of decent books being self-published. I think the key is careful editing and professional assistance with cover, etc.I would never want to be associate with crap. Glad to hear you have a new novel in the works, the only true cure for the newbie blues.

  2. You just reminded me how long it's been since I sent a query. February 24. No reply. What's with these fraks who don't reply?

    Come to think of it, I started querying two years ago as well. I suppose we're in the same boat to nowhere, although I feel the need to dip my oar in the water still.

    Good luck with your new idea. I wish I had time for all my old ones.

  3. The writing side, the art, should never be confused with the business end. You choose to write. If you then choose to sell your writing there's lot of downside and heartbreak that can go with that.
    There's a reason querying one book to death and not writing is a mistake. You always have to keep writing.
    Honestly? If you had kept writing you would have one or two more books you could have queried by now. You'd have another piece of finished work in your hands to sell.
    Writing is a long journey and you better enjoy the ride or you're in for a hell of a bad trip.

  4. Aw, Trav. I'm sorry. I'm not even going to try to blow sunshine up yer backside. That's soul-crushing, it is.

    I quit writing once. Back when I couldn't get any traction on my second novel, so I know the feeling of total desolation well. At least you're moving on to the next project. It took me 6 years to get back on the horse.

    I wish you peace. Especially in the non-writing world. 'Cuz there ain't none in the writing world, this much is for sure.

  5. Hey, I'm excited for you! Two years, really, is nothing when it comes to trying to place a novel. A lot of us have been there and know the pain. But the good news is that you're onto another writing project. Just about every writer out there has had one (or more!) first novels they couldn't sell-- I guess it's part of the learning curve. Push push push on this new novel, and please let us know how it goes!

  6. There are things you can control. There are things you can't.
    You can control the writing. You can control the creation of art. You have very little control over the selling of it which is why many writers are moving into digital publishing, taking the bull by the horns and wrestling it to the ground on their own.
    The only reason to stop writing is if you don't like writing.
    The selling part, the business end of any art is always the thorn in the side. That will never change.
    You have to learn to live with it and soldier on.

    Ariel : )

  7. Glad to hear you have a new kernel in the works and that you're ready to embrace (or at least try) e-book land. Don't under-estimate the wisdom of the masses.

  8. I AM going to blow sunshine up your backside and say you just never know - you still have two fulls and a partial out there, you still have the possibility of going directly through a small publisher, you still have e-book publishing, and BEST OF ALL - an idea for your next novel! Now you can take all that you learned from this first round and apply it to round two. If I were you, I'd get cracking on that book. And definitely keep us updated on the status of your current project.

  9. Btw, glad to know you are a BSG fan :)

  10. I hear you. Two YEARS #%***! oops, I mean, that's not bad ;).

  11. If you give up then you won't win. That said, I know it's been painful in so many ways.

    Your ebook comment really got me thinking. I may have to vomit out my thoughts in a blog post.