Querying Update – WLHYL

After a much-longer-than-intended break due to my non-writing job and life, I’m finally back into the querying process. So yay!

It’s nice to be back in the rhythm again, although a bit strange, too. I queried all of my easily-found-top-picks during the first go-through. This time I’m having to spend a lot more time flipping through profiles and scrolling through Twitter to find agents who I even want to query.

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As it turns out, there are a lot of things to look for while querying. What’s probably most surprising to me has been how crazy much political stuff agents post on social media. For some reason I hadn’t thought that would be a huge thing. I thought they’d be posting about books, reading, writing, etc…. Apparently I was wrong. And, while it’s been interesting and enlightening to find out dozens and dozens of random stranger’s (who I’m trying to get a professional feel for) takes on the state of the leadership in the country, it sometimes makes me sigh, too. Cause yeah, that’s really not what I’m looking for.

 

Late last night I received another rejection email for a query I sent out a month ago. It’s the first rejection I’ve received for several weeks, and much more the pace that I had imagined I’d hear back from the agents. I’m hoping that as the weeks continue, that I’ll hear back from more agents; in reality though, life has been so crazy that I don’t think about it nearly as much as I thought I would.

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Scribbles and Whimsy, my bunnies, have figured out a system for while I’m blogging. Their cage is under the table that I sit at while writing, and they have discovered how to reach out and snag my skirt to snack on whenever I sit down. That means that I let them out to explore the room, which is probably exactly what they were hoping for.

As I was typing this post, Scribbles climbed up onto the desk (who knew bunnies could climb so well?), and hopped around exploring. I had to unplug my computer keyboard so she didn’t nibble the cord (again!), but then I just amused myself with watching her explore for a few minutes. Her name fits her well, because she’s especially fond of papers and books.

That’s all for today, folks!

The Swiss Alps, Spies, and Brainstorming Thoughts

Brainstorming is one of those writerly activities that I generally use as a treat for myself. It’s fun, rewarding, and full of possibilities, but it’s also work that seriously needs done in my writerly life.

Often times I’ll brainstorm for a few minutes here or there when I need a break from another writing activity – such as researching agents, editing, writing, proof-reading, or looking stuff up.

There are multiple different ways to brainstorm, but some of my favorites include:

  • Finding a brainstorming buddy and throwing out random ideas
  • Looking up writing prompts on Pinterest
  • Thinking through aspects of a story and trying to come up with a completely different twist than expected
  • Writing down all the crazy story-ish thoughts that pop into my head

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I’m currently not planning on actually beginning to write another story until I have at least several dozen more queries sent out, but all the advice I read/heard on the querying process said you should work on writing another book while awaiting feedback. That’s because it will help the waiting seem to go faster, which does make sense.

The thought of beginning a new book is exciting and spurs me on to hurry up with querying. It’s so exhilarating to think of creating a whole new world. I haven’t started a new book since November 2015, so it feels like it’s been quite a while.

As things stand, I have four ideas I’ve been tossing around to work on next, and I’m not even sure if I’ll end up going with one of them this time. For now, I’m not pressuring myself to decide. Instead, I’m enjoying the freedom of knowing that I have endless possibilities stretching in front of me, and the brainstorming I do now will probably be used sometime.

What kind of story would you choose to work on next? Spies, Princesses? Musicians?  A mystery with the setting of Hawaii-meets-the Swiss Alps? A contemporary where a very non-Native American girl lives in a tipi? A camping adventure gone wrong? See, the possibilities are really endless….

The Querying Dream

I know it’s trite and cliché to start a book out with a dream, but I’m guessing the same logic doesn’t apply toward blog posts. Even so, I’m gonna give y’all an introduction to my dream, just in case.

One of the query rejections I received recently amused me in a “Really?” sort of way. I’m sure the agent who wrote it was trying to be encouraging, and it probably has encouraged some reject-ees, but it came across as a vague form letter trying to masquerade as a good friend.

I read the rejection letter last night, just a little while before I went to bed. It must have still been in my subconscious thoughts as I drifted off to sleep, because I had my first ever dream about the querying process.

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In the dream I received a rejection letter – which was fine with me. Until I went back and reread the query letter I had sent. Then I was horrified by the typos, grammar, and how the letter made a complete lack of sense. Instead of sounding professional and interesting, I sounded like a kid who was hurrying through a task simply so they could go out and play. In the dream I was actually rather relieved to know I had gotten a rejection because that meant I would never have to face the agent again.

Thankfully it was just a dream and in real life I’ve not only checked, re-checked, and multi-re-checked the query letter, but I’ve also had multiple other people help me with it. But, the dream did bring to mind the fact that I’m probably thinking about the querying process a bit more than I had realized I was.

Maybe next dream I’ll have a manuscript request….

Mental Games – Preparation

It turns out I wasn’t mentally prepared to start getting rejections from my querying for When Life Hands You Lymes.

That’s not because I wasn’t expecting rejections, or that I didn’t want rejections (because, after all, that’s a part of the process). It’s simply because I wasn’t mentally prepared to receive any feedback so soon. From all the research I’d done I thought it would be weeks – possibly months – before I received rejections, and therefore I was prepared to settle in for a long wait.

So when rejections began trickling in, starting the very day I sent out my queries, I had to do some mental reworking and give up my expectations of penciling in “No Response” day after day in the planner.

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After my third rejection in as many days, I came to the conclusion that even though rejections are great (they’re getting me closer to my goal and making me money) they’re not very helpful when they’re simply a form rejection. Therefore, after thinking about it for a bit I asked God for the gift of some feedback along with the rejections. I figured that way I’d at least know if I was on the right track.

It was exciting when the very next rejection I received was written personally for me, and addressed a way the agent thought I could improve the query letter. So yay!

I spent the weekend at my adopted parent’s house and caught up on some reading for review, so I didn’t spend time working on querying. I’m looking forward to jumping back into the game this week, though. Researching agents has turned out to be a very time consuming task, but rewarding and fun at the same time. It’s so interesting to get to learn what the different agents are looking for, what they’re like on a more personal level (mostly from reading their Twitter), and also learning tid-bits about the publishing industry from them.

Happy Monday, y’all! I hope you have a fantastic week!

Querying, Rejections, and Reasons to Celebrate

There was a time when I thought seriously of not posting anything on Noveltea about querying for agents and all that fun stuff until I was on the other side of the process. But then I realized y’all have been with me for the rest of the journey, so why stop now?

Yesterday after months of preparation and research I sent out my first query letter at 10:32 in the morning. Throughout the day some other things came up – like cooking and dishes and babysitting my best friend’s little girl – but for the most part I stayed up in my office, drank lost of water and coffee, kinda decided to set aside the rest of my goals for the day, and focused on researching, researching, researching, and sending queries.

I sent out my last query for the day at 10:00 (although I did continue researching for another hour and a half). I was amused to no end when I received my first rejection at 10:04, literally four minutes after I had sent the query. At first I thought the email was simply a receipt, letting me know the query had been received or that the offices were closed (I received several of those yesterday). But no, it was a real, live rejection. (And yes, I had followed the guidelines on the website.)

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I took a few minutes to celebrate and sent a screenshot to several writerly friends because I figured the moment should be documented. See, I’ve decided that hopefully rejections are going to be an amazingly fun part of this journey.

Last year when I was researching the querying process nearly everyone talked about how hard it is to wait, wait, wait, and then receive rejection after rejection, after rejection. But it’s life! It’s part of what has to happen. (At least if you’re going the traditional route.)

So, I decided to make it into a game, and to celebrate a lot. For instance, I’m going to reward myself for every rejection I get. I’m also going to reward myself for every day that goes by and I don’t hear back from any agents. From the research I’ve done, that means I have a ton of rewards to look forward to.

I’ve not decided 100% on the type of rewards I’m going to give myself, but I’m fairly certain that each rejection and each day that goes by without hearing back from agents I’ll pay myself a certain amount of money or give myself a certain amount of time to work on Madalyn Emerson’s scrapbook. And yes, I realize that it sounds weird to pay myself, but there are some writerly things on Etsy and some books I would like to have, but generally wouldn’t buy. As for the scrapbook, that will have to wait for another post…. For now I’m just gonna reward myself by drinking way more coffee than normal and listening to Christmas music in January.

Have any of y’all queried? What did you do to make the process more fun?