How to prepare for the emotions of querying

[an intro that just delays you from getting the information you want]

  1. Remember what got you here: Most people never write a book. You accomplished something. Have you celebrated? You should.
  2. Make an email account for only queries. This will save you from getting your hopes up when your phone dings, you think an agent has requested pages, and you find your cousin Beth is yet again spamming the family with more pseudoscience about the pandemic, such as that horseshit about iodine curing anything. (Beth, get the shot. Nobody is looking to microchip you. They are, instead, looking to keep you out of the ICU for no good reason.)
  3. Beth didn’t write a book, did she? (No. She wrote a shitty, anti-science email instead.) You did. Really, I ask: Have you celebrated? You should.
  4. Assume you’ll get rejected — because everyone gets rejected. But some people also get accepted. Every time I have queried, I have expected to be rejected, which has made the steady march of rejections a little easier to take. But the only way to get accepted is to risk getting rejected.
  5. Don’t just sit around waiting for agents to get back to you. Take your life back. Write something new. Edit stuff written by members of your writer friend group. (I have one.) You cannot control what agents do, so at least don’t let yourself be controlled by them. Control your life.
  6. Remember that a rejection is not about you — or even your work. A rejection is one agent saying that project is not right for that agent at that time. Your book might be a future best-seller, and querying is a numbers game. I have read hundreds of query interviews, and the vast bulk of writers get an agent after querying several dozen. I have seen more people who queried hundreds of times with multiple manuscripts before getting an agent than people who queried fewer than ten times with one manuscript before getting an agent.
  7. If after ten queries and maybe a month (the pandemic has slowed the publishing world, and agents are part of that world) you have not gotten a request, check your query against my list of common problems. Once you’ve ensured that you have stakes, a genre, an age range, plot clarity, a pitch of sufficient length, etc., holler for help.

Good luck ❤

I write mostly data-driven stuff.