Memories · Writing

What I didn’t know about Querying

We surveyed the kitchen and looked at each other with our dismal future reflecting in each other’s eyes.

“What should we do?” my brother asked.

My sister and I shook our head. Anything had to be better than this. Plates, cups, silverware, pots, pans, and food everywhere. Sometimes, Easter dinner just wasn’t worth it. Especially when it was our job to clean up. At ages 6ish to 8ish (you know, somewhere under ten), it seemed like an impossible, never-ending task.

So, we put our minds together and came up with the only viable solution. We had to run away. There was nothing else for it.

“But where will we live?”

“I know.” My older sister, ever the role model, turned and smiled with genius in her look. “Behind the Elementary School sign.” This was brilliant. The huge sign in town, a few miles away, curved with the road, and we would be well-hidden behind it. Then my brother pointed out that we would be within walking distance from the grocery store, which meant we could live off of scraps they threw in the dumpster.

Our plans clearly bullet-proof, we set off down our half-mile driveway.

And then? Well, we realized it was getting pretty late and it would be dark by the time we reached town, so we had better put off running away until the next day.

Which meant, of course, that we had to face the hard task and clean up the kitchen anyway.

In an unrelated subject, I officially started querying last week. I got my final edits back Tuesday and sent my first query Wednesday. In less than a week of querying, here’s what I’ve learned:

  1. They say all you need is a query letter and a synopsis. LIES! ALL LIES! I have yet to find an agent’s guidelines that only want a synopsis.
  2. How your book starts really does matter, because half the agents just want the first five pages of your book.
  3. The other half of the agents want a FULL-BLOWN BOOK PROPOSAL. As in, cover letter, synopsis, first chapters, and, depending on the agent, maybe marketing strategies or future plans. I feel like I should have been told that sometimes agents want book proposals for fiction in addition to non-fiction.
  4. Your first ever query makes you utterly nauseous with nerves.
  5. Querying agents is not as fast as you think it is going to be. Each agent wants something different, so you’d better be prepared to take your time preparing them properly instead of thinking you are just going to churn them out like butter (you know, now that I think about it, butter takes a really long time to churn, so maybe you do churn them out).
  6. These days, you most likely won’t get to post a picture of a rejection note because apparently they get too many queries to actually respond unless they like it. . . so you have to watch the calendar to determine whether or not you have been rejected. Delightful.

If I learned all this in less than a week, I’ll be interested to see how the next few months go. Some days, I have a feeling I’ll take off down that driveway before turning around and facing that mess of agent names.

3 thoughts on “What I didn’t know about Querying

  1. So true! You never really learn what you need to know until you are walking through it. I used to think my childhood and workfield had well prepared me for motherhood…. oh how wrong I was! Keep going Jacinta! One Query at a time. ❤️

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