Monday, November 9, 2015

Swallowing the bitter pill of querying

Whoa. Yep. I'm still alive. I have to say things are coming into view. I'm not sure how much that makes sense. Maybe I'm maturing (who would've thought). I see things differently now. Some things are less significant while others take priority. Still not understanding?

When I started my path to publication, I was wide eyed and believe it or not, optimistic. Well, as optimistic as a pessimist could get. I wanted to belong and be respected. I blogged and felt like part of a community. It supported me and I felt as if I belonged. I gather with locals and engaged in writerly conversations. Deep down, I wasn't sure if I was this writer everyone kept saying I was. I went through the motions, writing and revising, critiquing and being critiqued. All because I wanted to be published. I wanted my book in print. I knew it would take long. "At least ten years," many would say. I guess my na├»ve nature was like a mask. It only pulled over a false sense of belonging. I heard stories both good and bad about the whole industry. I researched the business and followed the trends to know what was out there. I scrolled on Twitter more than I like to say, which bombarded me with more information than I wanted to know. I never said I was an expert at anything and maybe that was my problem. I always felt below. I wrote four books in four years (not that any of them are good). I pushed myself and broke down a lot. I fought depression regularly, which held me back. And I posted it about it on my blog more times than I like to admit. Yes, embarrassing. I took things to heart and felt deep guilt that I wasn't cleaning a room or that I was taking time away from my kids to write. But I wanted to query.

So I did. To date I've queried three times (3 books). Over 150 rejections. I did have a few partials and fulls, but so far nothing. Now, I know my story is not one of woe. Many have had worse. I know, because I hear the tales. I hear how horrible it can get. What I want to stress is to not let it get to you. Easy for me to say, right? Not so much. Querying has crumbled me. I'm a person who needs validation. I thought I could get it through querying. That I could actually get something that would say that I was a good writer. I relied on the professionals to determine if I was worthy or not.

Since I wasn't getting anything other than--"it's not right for me" or "it's not sellable," I began to wonder what was wrong with me. Do I suck that badly that they can't even tell me? It's a blow that for those with weak confidence, can throw you so far into a hole, climbing out of it doesn't seem worth it. Let's face it, in my mind, I'm only going to continue to get rejected. The thing is my story isn't that sad. I do have a couple of poems published and my crit group can't be more supportive. They are awesome! It's me. It's something that I have to over come to get through it. Querying can leave a bitter taste in you mouth. One that you don't want to taste again because it has made you sick over and over. But it's one you have to overcome to continue.

It made me not want to write for a while. I'd open up documents and shut them. Like I was mad at them for not being good enough. The problem is I love those stories. I needed to believe in them. I needed to get better. I've distanced myself from many things that I used to enjoy in the writer community. I think I needed to reconnect with why I love writing in the first place. It's the story, the character, the idea of traveling somewhere that may or may not exist. I must swallow that bitter pill and get over what querying can do. Fill it with sweet candy (preferably chocolate) and immerse myself back into the worlds I love. Look at querying as just a stage. If they don't like it, they don't know what they're missing.

Have a great day!!


  1. I feel your pain! Querying is brutal. And it's SO hard to remember why you started writing in the midst of all those rejections. Sending happy thoughts, and best wishes that you find what you love about writing again. :)

  2. Don't let it destroy you! What genre are you querying? I might be able to help with my publisher. Send me an email.

  3. "If they don't like it, they don't know what they're missing." Exactly! Believe in yourself and believe in your stories. You can do this! Listen, writing four books in four years is a HUGE accomplishment, so don't be so hard on yourself. And they ARE good! But I agree querying can be demoralizing. I queried my second novel and my third novel, but I only tried 30 agents with each (because by then I recognized the flaws in those novels), and now I'm going to hold off as long as possible on querying my fourth. Just keep writing, Christine.

  4. Querying is so tough, but you should be so proud you've got that far *and* had requests. That's an achievement all on its own. I'm querying my third book right now, and I've built in quite a few coping mechanisms over the years. I just can't give up. Someday I will make it, and so will you!

    My only advice would be to not force it. Don't write what you think an agent wants. Write whatever makes you happy. Enjoy that freedom!

  5. Every word you write is making you mature more as an artist. And just because those earlier books aren't your break-in book doesn't mean they will never publish. It's actually a huge advantage to have a "backlist." Because once you do break in, publishers will want more work, and FAST. Plus, if an agent likes your voice/style but not say the premise, s/he might ask if you have anything else. And you can say YES. You're in a very good place, friend. Keep at it. Your break-in work is likely closer than you can imagine today.