Are you embarking on the submission/ query phase of your writing journey? Or perhaps like me, you’ve forged head-long into the process, only to feel lost, disorientated and at times disheartened. Fear not, I’m here to guide you through it.
The querying phase may trigger the ‘Magic Eight Ball’ zone. The inside of your mind gets shaken to its core. Until your only able to answer – Yes, No or Maybe, to your pointless, endless, rhetorical questions. Will you find an agent? Have you revised enough? Is your story unique and sell-able? Blah, Blah, Blah.
When I first started querying, I understood the process. I’d read all about it. So I knew waiting and rejection would be inevitable. But, oh boy, was I unprepared.
Yes, I’d done my research on finding an agent, polished my query, edited my synopsis and gathered my submission package. And so, back in 2017, I started submitting my YA fantasy novels, Secrets and Shadow Knights. I tugged on my big-girl pants and repeated my mantra: show no fear, you’ve got this.
Those initial months were fought with anxiety, anticipation. I desperately want to be published, to be chosen, to be good enough. The biggest hurdle I faced during the next few years, was my self esteem. Realizing, I already was good enough—despite not being published.
I’m sure you’ve face some of the following situations. And guess what, it’s all completely normal. You’re not alone, thousands of writers are walking a similar path to you.
- When well-meaning friends and family ask, “so, when are you going to be published?” – Urm?! It’s about as helpful as asking a heavily pregnant woman, “when is the baby going to arrive?”
- Having amazing dreams about being signed with a talented agent… Only to wake up, disappointed. Well, at least you know you’re passionate about your writing career. Right?
- Stalking agents via Twitter. Only to humiliate yourself with a miss-understood tweet. Mortified, you hid from all forms of social media. Yikes!
- Doubting your skills and creativity. Questioning every plot decision that has led you to this point.
Over the years, I’ve learnt from this process. Things like: strengthening my pitch, learning how to craft a query letter, and finding fantastic beta-readers. There are some amazing bloggers out there who have helped me develop these skills. Check these out:
- Ari Meghlen
- K.M. Allan
- M.L. Davis – Uninspired Writers
- Rebecca Alasdair
- Madeline Bartson – Happy when writing
An important part of the process is self acknowledgement, self belief. Otherwise, the rejection can easily corrode your self-esteem. You’re not alone, every writer faces these challenges. Every writer battles with doubt. The whole experience is tinged with What if’s. Embrace those fears. Use that motivation to evaluate where you’re going, set small goals, and continue to grow.
I’ve come to realize that this process, as painful as it can be, is also liberating. Even if I don’t find the agent of my dreams, I’m not quitting. I can’t. Writing is in my soul, a passion that will stay with me for the rest of my life. There’s a sense of satisfaction, in knowing my craft, in the continuous growth of mastering a skill. To date, I written four novels. After sound advice from an editor, I’ve rewritten my second novel – Mischief and Mayhem, and I’m almost ready to start querying again.
Perhaps it will take a 100 submissions. Maybe, like Stephanie Garber – author of the Caraval trilogy, lucky book number 5 will be published. Either way, I have faith that one day my work will be published. Until then, I’ll keep writing, reading and improving my craft.
To my fellow writers embarking on, or wading through, the query trenches – I hope this post brings a little bit of hope. I wish you the best of luck with your submissions.
Do you have any advice about querying? How long have you been in the query trenches? And do you have a success story to share? Come on, share your journey with me, you know I love hearing from you.
Thanks for stopping by, until next time, Much Love.