Querying literary agents

As many of you know, I’m an aspiring author. Heaving on the word “aspiring.” I’ve self-published one novel via Amazon out of sheer curiosity for that form of publication and was not a fan. So, I turned to what I had always thought was a must for the publishing world: literary agents.

At first, I was excited. I submitted my first batch of queries roughly four weeks ago. I was excited like a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed squirrel avidly awaiting the acorn. Now, after two rejections and no answers from the other eight individuals, the effect has definitely worn off. As I’m sure most writers experience, the doubt has started to settle in.

I expected rejection, I was fine with the two “no’s,” happy that they had at least responded to me. At this point, I think I’ve done so much research that I might be hindering my chances. Months on QueryShark, AgentQuery and Reader’s Digest has left me reeling with a fistful of hair (which is not good, I already have thin, fine hair that falls out faster than Nair removes leg hair).

And this, my friends, is where the difficulties of querying literary agents begins. You see, I fear that my query is missing something entirely, that the select few who have had the chance to read my MS are actually lying to me about its ingenuity. They’re bias after all, I know they aren’t looking at it from an agent’s perspective. I guess I just fear that there is something imperative that I’m glossing over about my MS, the very thing that will make an agent say, “Wow, I need to represent this!” So as I get ready to send out my next batch (and consequently review/deconstruct/edit/modify/anyadjectivepossible my query for the umpteenth time), I can’t help but let in the doubt.

Now, I know this is natural. Carissa Taylor, a fellow writer and ASU graduate of mine who also blogs about her writing experience, writes about her distress and doubt while going through this brutal process. Of course, she eventually landed an agent, so I can only hope that I will too have the fortune of acquiring an elusive enthusiast of my own.

In the meantime, I continue to stare at the 300 some-odd words that are supposed to represent my 100,000 word novel and captivate an agent. I’ve read all the blogs, About Us sections, even opted to follow some agents on Twitter so that I could get a better understanding of their interests. I’ve submitted my query to AgentQuery Connect for peer reviews, taken some advice and left others. All in all, I think I have about 11 different versions of my query, each one tailored after learning something new about the process.

At this point, I just need to let go of the doubt and submit again. When I read success stories from other authors who have submitted in the 100s before getting an offer of representation, I feel somewhat better about the lack of response from the first 10 of my own attempts. But the brain is a funny organ, and I’m beginning to think self-sabotage is one of the easiest tasks it can accomplish.

-M3

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