I started querying agents a week ago, and I would rather edit a thousand pages of a manuscript than a query letter. I’ve done my research, so I have a healthy amount of anxiety when it comes to how important the query letter is to the whole process. So I spent a long time going over drafts of query letters and the other submission materials, trying to get everything as close to perfect as I could make it. And then I sent them out.
That’s a pretty huge deal to me, because I’ve never felt that anything was ready to be seen by potential agents before. This manuscript is the book of my heart, which I know usually isn’t the one that authors have success with. But I believe in this story so much, that I’m hoping I can find someone else who feels the same way. It’s only been a week but I honestly feel like querying time is twice as long as normal time. Since these queries have been out in the world, I thought that seriously a month had passed, but it’s only been seven days.
And the querying process is long. There are agents that say eight weeks is standard, and if you haven’t heard after that, it’s a pass. So I was expecting to just have things out in the world, and bide my time, and focus on a new project. But I got a response the same day I sent out a query, my first rejection. It was super polite, the agent said she wasn’t a good fit, and I didn’t feel offended at all. I did get all those moments of doubt and panic: What if no one thinks they’re a good fit for my story? What if this is just incredibly terrible and I don’t have any sense for what good writing is? What if I spend my whole life trying to do the only thing I’ve ever felt good about, and it just never happens?
I know that rejection is part of the gig, and that’s why it’s highly recommended to work on another project while you’re undergoing the querying process. So I jumped back into a story that I had put on the back burner while I whipped up my first manuscript into querying shape. And I love this new story. It’s one that came to me in a very weird, vivid dream, and the more I dive into it, the more I want to explore this world. I’ve done a lot of research previously on it, and it’s the first adult novel that I’ve attempted. (Which is also huge because I’ve felt like I was so terrible at adulting for so long, that writing about actual adults was incredibly intimidating. Until I figured out lots of adults are horrible at adulting.)
I’ve been rereading the pages that I had written and trying so hard to take off my editing hat, and put on my writing hat. It feels so strange to have complete freedom with the storyline, to figure out what happens next instead of worrying about existing plot points. I’m still getting back into the groove, I only did a little over 700 words today, but I’m feeling so excited about telling this story, and hopefully getting to share it with another human someday. Until then, I’m pretty sure my cat thinks it’s brilliant.