The Quest for a Compelling Query

April of last year, I finally faked enough confidence to send out a dozen or so queries for my first book. It was a terrifying process, I remember. But it was a good process. Even as the rejections continued to pour in (three responses and roughly eight or nine silent ones, I believe), it felt good, because each rejection reminded me of the same thing: you’ve written a novel. A novel. Your just one step closer to your goal of writing for a living. Every rejection is a sign of your dedication and success, even if it isn’t success in the way you want it right now. Keep trying. 

Now, a little over a year later, I’ve finally have the confidence — real confidence, this time — to try again.

I’ve spent the last few hours researching agents and personalizing queries. As of right now, five agents have a message waiting in their inbox, with a small thread of hope connecting it back to my heart. I know many of those agents will probably cut that thread, though I’d prefer they do it with a response rather than silence. But, I get the agenting world a bit more, now that I’ve interned with an amazing company and learned about it from the inside. Agents are busy. Their time is precious. They are bombarded with little threads of hope like mine, hundreds pouring into their inboxes each month. Responding to each one takes time they could be spending finding the next great author, or working with authors they already have relationships with. I get that. But still, I hold out on hope, that maybe a third of the agents that I query will actually respond.

And then there is an even bigger hope that one of them will respond in my favor.

Like I said, the confidence is real, this time. The first time, I didn’t lack confidence in my story. Never once have I doubted Darryn, his life, his world, what’s he’s gone through and what is still left for him to face. His story is one worth telling and one worth believing in. Instead, I’ve always doubted if I’m able to do that story justice by writing it. A dozen times over, I have thanked God for the rejections I received last year. Looking at all the work I’ve done since then, it was obvious that Darryn wasn’t ready; wasn’t ready. And I’m not claiming to be 100% ready, now. My manuscripts could always use editing. After they get published, there will always be things I will wished I have changed. But at this stage in my life, with all the work I have put into these last five years into Darryn’s story, and all the work I’ve done to myself — making myself grow as a writer and expanding my knowledge of the world writers desperately try and survive in — I know that I’m ready to try and enter into that world again. My query is stronger (and thank the Lord in Heaven for that). My story has been edited countless times, workshopped. It has been condensed and heightened. I would label myself a thief if I ignored the work and dedication of this piece, this amazing story so close to my heart, by stealing the opportunity to send it out and let others figure out what they think.

So yes, I’m querying again. Five down and countless more to go. And, like the first time I queried, as soon as I hit “SEND” this afternoon, I began to question everything: The writing is terrible. Is there even a plotline? Is that too cheesy? Too cliché? How in the hell do you even write a query? How would read this? Why do they care? This time, however, I ignored those petty questions and fears that constantly try and drown my hard-earned faith within myself — or not even within myself, truly. That is still too unstable. But my faith in this story…now that is undeniable. So I swallowed the self-doubt, I ignored the sweat and I worked. I worked like I had learned and trained myself how. And I will continue to work and continue to learn. I will continue to edit, continue to research, continue to query and continue to dream, and dare to believe.

I can’t wait until the day where I write the post telling you that the work paid off and the dream came true. Until then, I have some agents to pester. 🙂

Cheers,

Nicole

UPDATE: Not five minutes after I posted this, did an agent respond. Ah, rejection, my old friend, how I missed you so!

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About Nicole Evans

Nicole Evans is a writer of fantasy and science fiction. She is currently unpublished and is working fervently to get the “un” removed from that statement. She has five completed manuscripts: a trilogy about destined heroes that fail anyway, a science fiction standalone that pits the natural desire to love against the natural instinct to kill during the extinction of the human race and a new series about a writer who can't get published and gets the chance to live a life that all writers dream. She also has two scripts done. Currently, she is about to start writing the second of a nine book series while planning two more. (If you can tell, she really likes this whole writing thing.) Considering she has run out of space for putting rejections letters up on her wall, Nicole now uses her spare time doing the typical things that nerds do: blogging, dying repeatedly during video games (which she believes is retribution for the characters’ she’s killed), wishing she was the character she is currently reading about and trying to fight off the real world by living in her own head, with varying degrees of success. Nicole has a degree in Creative Writing and a minor in Film and Media Studies, and works part-time as a supervisor in a library at the University of Kansas. View all posts by Nicole Evans

2 responses to “The Quest for a Compelling Query

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