Obviously, it’s me that’s querying, and not doves. But there’s no songs about humans querying, so I had to reach a bit. (Also, weird random fact: I was convinced that this song was by Duran Duran and not Prince. I literally got into a yelling match with my BFF about it. Like, in our 30’s. I don’t know why a) I thought that in the first place, when it is so clearly a Prince song, and b) why I felt the need to defend my terrible position to my friend, whom I immediately knew was correct.) Anyway.
You guys, I started querying! I decided that my baby is ready to be looked at by profeshionnals. I had a manuscript meltdown a couple months ago. When I moved, my manuscript was split into several pieces on a hard drive, and I had no idea which pieces were the most recent. When I put together what I thought were the correct puzzle pieces, my manuscript was like 25,000 words shorter than I thought it was! ZOMG. I had a freaking heart attack, and I had to talk myself down from the ledge. I think what happened was that I was a victim of my own poor document-labelling technique. Not to mention moving-into-an-apartment-and-marriage-ending-during-a-pandemic brain.
I picked up the pieces, and with the aid of a lot of Ctrl-X/Ctrl-V, and with some screaming into the void, I slapped my manuscript back together. A couple of readthroughs later, and now it’s in workable shape. As I was reading, I actually skipped lunch because I got so interested in how the story ended, even though I know how the story ends because I wrote it. The cool thing about this readthrough was that the scenes I thought would be really rough were actually pretty decent. And one scene flowed into the next with relative ease.
A couple weeks ago, while screaming at home, I compiled a list of 10 agents to submit to. I decided today to take the plunge and sent my queries to all 10. My whole body was shaking, and I had completely forgotten bodily functions like eating and peeing. I looked at the clock: 5:00, and I was starving and desperate to use the bathroom. I ran down the hallway screaming to go the bathroom, then I ordered some sushi for delivery. (If you haven’t noticed, screaming is kind of a motif in my life. Which is probably why I’m single.)
So now that my belly’s full and my bladder’s empty, here are my goals moving forward:
- wait to hear back from at least a couple, and hope for some feedback
- make changes to my query materials based on said feedback
- get another list of 10 agents, and shoot off more queries!
- keep going until I get an agent
See? Four steps. Easy-peasy. (J/K, y’all.) Although this process does remind me of this amazing tweet:
Kid is not wrong, you know. Each of those things is incredibly difficult on its own, and requires a tremendous amount of grit and hard work. But, really, at the end of the day, it is just four things.
Here’s my real list of four things I want to do:
- Get an agent.
- Publish my novel.
- Publish another novel.
- Keep publishing novels until I die.
The secret bonus one is that, once Covid is over, I reallyreallyreally wanna go on a book tour. Even if it’s, like, to three places. Still a tour. And I will save my hotel receipts and put them in a shadow box with a copy of my novel. And I will label the shadow box, “AMY’S AMAZING BOOK TOUR” and I will display it like singers do with gold albums. It’s gonna be awesome. I will invite you over and show it to you. I’ll even make you some snickerdoodles. It’ll be great.
Each new day is a new opportunity to knock one of the four things off the list– or at least take a step toward it. It can seem scary to put yourself out there like that; making it clear to yourself and others where you want to go.
Remember that fear is the universe telling you where you need to focus extra energy. Kind of like a tight muscle; the longer you go without stretching a muscle, the tighter it gets. The tightness you feel is telling you to focus on that area, to give it extra attention, and to stretch it out more than the other muscles. When you think of a task to try, that fear reaction of, “I could never do that in a million billion years,” is the tight muscle. Hold space with your feelings of discomfort, sure, but don’t run away from the task. Even a “no” gets you closer to your “yes.” It at least gives you information about your query materials, and that gets you closer to a “yes.”
I’ll keep you up-to-date on my querying journey. It’s gonna be great.
Featured image was created by the author using elements from canva.com.