As I mentioned in my last post, I was inspired to write a novel partly because it is something I’ve always wanted to do and partly because I read one that was so awful, I couldn’t believe anyone would publish it and knew I could do better.
I sat down and started writing in mid-February 2010. The novel was completed by mid-April. I then spent the next few months fine tuning it. When I thought it read well and was fairly certain all typos had been removed, I started writing a query letter.
How hard could it be, after all, to write a letter saying, “Here is your next bestseller?”
Turns out, it was much harder than I anticipated.
After spending nearly another month writing what I thought at the time was a good query letter, I researched agents and sent off a query letter in July.
Knowing it can take weeks to receive a response, I kept tinkering with both the novel and the query letter. I waited every day for some fabulous email to pop into my inbox saying “we’d love to represent you.” Unfortunately, I waited in vain. So I reworked my query letter and sent it off again. And waited. And waited.
How could they not love my book? I loved it. The handful of people I asked to read it loved it. What was wrong with these agents, anyway?
When no email arrived letting me know I’d soon be a well-known author, I came back down to reality and decided to rethink my game plan.
Rewriting the query letter at least a dozen more times and tweaking my novel again, I decided to get serious about searching for an agent and became a frequent visitor of websites like Guide to Literary Agents and Query Tracker.
I started the process again by sending letters to several agents at a time.My goal was to query at least 10 agents a week, which I did right up to the holiday season.
And you know what happened?
I started getting responses back to my queries. Oh, none of them said “I love your book, let me represent you,” but many of them offered positive comments and great feedback.
After having received dozens of rejections, I have come to appreciate each one. I figure if the agents, who receive hundreds of query letters every week, thought enough of my query to send a personal reply, then I must be doing something right.
In my limited experience, I have already learned that rejections are a good thing if you pull out the positive pieces and apply the advice given. So bring on the rejections. I’m ready.