Hello fellow creatives!
Are you embarking on the submission/ query phase of your writing journey? Or perhaps like me, you forged ahead only to feel lost, disorientated, and at times disheartened. Well fear not, I have years of experience and I’m here to guide you through it.
The querying phase has the tendency to make us obsessive, asking ourselves rhetorical questions with no answers in sight. Will you find an agent? Have you revised enough? Is your story unique and sell-able? Should you hire an editor? 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 for the emotional turmoil it would evoke. Let me reassure you, this phase will pass, you will grow a thicker skin and come to accept rejection, You will be successful, provided you persevere.
Yes, I’d done my research into finding suitable agents, polished my query, edited my synopsis and prepared 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 and anticipation. I desperately want to be published, to be chosen, to be good enough. My biggest hurdle became battling my self esteem. I needed to learn that I was already good enough—despite not being published. And part of that was about developing my craft and building my skills. The truth was, back then, I wasn’t ready.
I’m sure you’ve faced something similar on your journey. And guess what, those fears are 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?!
- 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 Writing a perfect 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 – Check out her podcast!
- K.M. Allan – Driven indie Author of the Blackbirch series.
- M.L. Davis – Uninspired Writers – Talented thriller writer, also in the query trenches.
- Rebecca Alasdair – Queen of epic fantasy and contemporary LGBT novels, trudging the trenches, too.
An important part of the process is self acknowledgement and 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. I’m currently querying my third novel Crown of Lies, whilst editing my fourth.
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.