Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Second Verse Same as the First?

Soon I will be once again entering the world of querying.  And I'm terrified.  We're talking feel-like-I'm-going-to-hurl-every-time-I-think-about-it scared.  Even though I feel like I'm better prepared this time around, I'm still worried it won't be enough.  The thought of reliving the same experience I had the first time makes me want to crawl into bed and pull the covers up over my head.  I can't stand the thought of going through all that rejection.  Again.

With my first book, I did everything wrong.  After I finished writing it, I did one round of edits and felt it ready to send off to agents *insert laughter*.  Incase you haven't noticed, I suffered from newbie delusions of grandeur.  I didn't know anything about critiques or beta readers.  My mom and best friend read through it, pointed out a few typos, and that was it.  As I queried, I started to learn about the importance of having your work read and critiqued by other writers; but by that point, my confidence was so low, I was too embarrassed to share my writing with anyone else.  After eight months of querying and lots of revising, I had nothing to show for it except for the ten requests for partials/fulls (out of 120 queries) that never panned out. 

This time, I'm doing all the stuff I should've done the first time around.
  • I found a subject that hasn't been done before in the young adult genre (or if it has, it's not common) and came up with a strong hook (I hope).
  • After I finished writing, I took almost two months off, so I could edit with fresh eyes.
  • I've been taking my time with the editing and revising--as in three months (and counting) worth of time. 
  • I put my work out there and had chapters critiqued and a couple beta readers read the entire manuscript.   
My fear?  That even though I did everything "right," it won't be enough.  I still won't be good enough.  If this manuscript crashes and burns, I'm not sure if I can go through all of this a THIRD time.  Don't get me wrong, I love and enjoy writing, but this whole trying-to-get-published thing is draining.  It takes a toll on me in every way.

My question to those of you who've been there before, how did you do it?  Was it easier or harder the second time around?  What kept you going?  Any words of wisdom?  Liquor recommendations? ;-)  Because as the band Whitesnake once said, "Here I go again on my own . . ." 


  1. If they don't like it I say screw them and self publish. I really like what I read of your book and I would be the first one in line with cash in my hand. seriously. You are amazing don't get down on yourself becasue of some agents SUBJECTIVE view on your book. DON'T GIVE UP!

  2. Aww . . . thanks, Jen :o) Your kind words put a smile on my face :o) Knowing what to expect is supposed to help ease one's mind, but I think it does the opposite for me, lol. :o)

  3. For starters, that song is awesome. BIG HAIR ROX, BABY!!

    Now, let's take a look at the details you've provided:

    FIRST: You may have sent 120 queries without landing an agent, but you had a handful of requests for more, which means you know how to write. THAT'S SORT OF IMPORTANT! So, you can check that off your list.

    SECOND: Now let's look at the steps you've taken this time around based on the important things you learned.
    Beta readers: CHECK
    Edits: CHECK
    More Edits: CHECK
    Compelling Hook: CHECK
    Still More Edits: CHECK

    Hmmm...looks to me like you're READY TO QUERY THE SH*T OUT OF THIS BOOK!

    As a writer, there's only so much you can do to make it happen--and I have ALL THE CONFIDENCE IN YOU AND YOUR ABILITIES to know that it will.

    How's your query letter?

  4. Oh, Bethany. I love you to pieces . . . just sayin' ;o)

    I'm not sure what I think about my query; it's a constant WIP, lol. I wrote the first draft of it months ago, and every now and then I open it up and tweak it. It sounds good to me, but then again, it's hard for me to judge it since I'm so close to it. Would you be interested in taking a gander at it?

  5. Of course! I'd love to take a look.

    I got great query feedback from friends who didn't have a clue what my book was about. They were just like agents--except that they emailed me back after I sent it :)

  6. Angela, you couldn't get anyone better than Bethany to look at the query letter. She ROCKED hers.

    And yes, you will do it a third time, and a fourth if you must. Did you know it's pretty common for it to take up to book #4 before an author gets picked up? That's not meant to discourage you, because a lot of people get picked up on their second or third (Rookstar for one). It's just to let you know that you should NEVER give up.

    Write because you love to write. Query becuase you want to get paid for your passion.

    Sounds like you have all the perfect indgredients this time, so I have great faith that something amazing will come of it. Sending up vibes for you!

    P.S. Don't beat yourself up for prior mistakes in querying. One of these days I'm going to do a post on the five stupidest things I did my first time out. I make you look like Einstein. HEH

  7. Hi Anita :o)

    Thank you for the encouragement :-) I'm starting to think I have the greatest group of writing friends a gal could ask for ;-)

    Yes, Bethany is a query genius! Seriously, I've given her a new nickname--"The Query Whisperer" lol. She gave my query a round of liposuction and turned it into a lean, mean, attention-grabbing machine. ;o) Ha! I didn't think it could be done, but she showed me it could. I'm looking forward to toying around with it and utilizing some of her suggestions :o)

    Again, thanks for your support :o)

  8. You go out there with your brave self, Angela!!! I am SO impressed you've already finished your second book. I'm starting on mine ( just decided to set the first aside)and I agree, I dread a second round of query hell. But it's got to be better this time, because of all the knowledge you'll take with you. Query in small batches to gauge the response- you can always tweak your query letter. And don't forget about small presses too! Best of luck and don't give up!

  9. @Cherie- Thank you!

    @Meridith- Thank you! Yes, logic tells me that it should go better than last time, but then there's that little voice in my head . . . UGH! I'm pretty sure I'm my own worst enemy ;o)
    Oh, and yes, I plan on sending out about 10 queries at a time, and I'm going to start with agents who want just the query. That way, if I don't get any requests, I'll know there's a problem with the query (as opposed to my opening pages). Thanks again for the encouragement :o)

  10. You are doing a fabulous job! We all have a lot of dreadful self-doubt; I am an expert at it. Can I read and critique your query letter before you send it? I would be happy to! My email is available on my blog. Can't wait to see your ideas...should you choose to share them with me!

  11. There's always fear, Angela. Self-doubt is a good thing, it forces you to grow instead of allowing you to lay back and think about how awesome you are and what you want your book cover to look like.

    Carry on!