Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Querying: Or How to Become Crazy in Just One Easy Step

We all know we've got to query if we want to get our books published (or I guess we could have a close personal friendship with someone really important who believes in us-- like maybe Stephen King or Stephenie Meyer).

Unfortunately querying also makes us crazy... or at least it made me crazy. Before I started querying I could sit down at my computer and write without checking my email first. I could continue to write for an hour or two (as long as the baby was still asleep) without opening my Internet browser once.

After I sent that first query I became an email checking junkie. First thing in the morning I'd rush to the computer to see if someone had replied. I'd check again an hour later and every hour I was home, until I checked for the last time just before I went to bed. If I was out running errands I'd think about my inbox and wonder if I might be missing some important correspondence from an agent. When we were on vacation I'd have to track down a computer every few days just so I could make sure I hadn't missed something.

I could rattle off stats like nobody's business. "As of this minute I have sent 13 queries, I've received six rejections and two requests for full manuscripts. Of the 5 agents left 2 should respond in the next week, 1 could take as long as 3 months and 2 say no response means no."

I'm still slightly obsessed with statistics. Like I could tell you that my first query yielded a 1 in 5 request rate while my second query was closer to 1 in 10 and that my overall request rate was about 1 in 7. And that only 4% of my queries ended in an offer of representation.

I'm hoping that now that my agent search is finally done I can stop being quite so crazy and get back to what I enjoy--writing. But I'm thinking that my anxiety will just switch from agent to editor submissions. Nice.

Does the query process make you crazy too? Or are you one of those people who can send a query and forget about it? (HOW?)

7 comments:

MeganRebekah said...

LOL I love that your obsessed with stats. Me too! I get it from my dad, who wants to quantify everything.

Patti said...

If there's anyone out ther who can send a query then forget about it I'd like to meet them. I'm so nervous about the query process I think I've been purposely putting it off.

Lazy Writer said...

I queried back in the Spring, and yes it made my bonkers! I took a break from querying but will be starting back up soon. I'll be crazy again, I'm sure.

Laura Martone said...

I'd only queried six agencies before I realized that my book was way too long for the current publishing industry... so I can't say that I have many stats to share. Does 100% rejection count? LOL!

Tabitha Bird said...

Gosh, no, I couldn't just send it and forget about it either. I think i am going to be just like you. Send the query and then check, check and wait a minute... I just need to check...

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

I plead the 5th. Love your stats though! ;)

jkinkade said...

The thing I hate about queries is never knowing when you have the perfect one. I loved mine until one person said it was boring. It gave everyone else chills. We all thought it was great. And then, the naysayer. Now I wonder if it's good or just plain awful. But since I've had three rejections so far, it makes me wonder. Sheesh. I need a drink.