Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bring on the Requests!!

Tip of the Day: don't forget to celebrate all your accomplishments during your writing journey. It will make those rejections sting less!

It's been fun talking about queries for the past few weeks, and now I'm going to move onto talking about what to do after you get a request or the dreaded rejection. But let's start with the positive!

So you've slaved over your query, got it perfect, sent it out to agents, and now you have a request. What do you do then?

No. 1: Celebrate. This is a big accomplishment. Agent Jennifer Jackson lists statistics of what she requests. This past week out of 163 queries she requested 0. In the last three weeks out of 439 queries, she's requested 2 partials or full manuscripts. For those not good at math, that's less than 0.4%. As in less than 1%. As in OMG it is REALLY HARD to get a request.

Now this is only one agent, but my point is that if you get a request, you have sparked interest with someone with your book's concept, your writing, and your credentials. Don't forget this. Sometimes the rejections seem to overshadow the fact getting requests means you are doing something right. Because of this, I think it's important to celebrate. Even if it's something small like smiling, treating yourself to chocolate, or something else you do to reward yourself for all your hard work.

No 2: Don't Panic. After seeing stats like that it is hard not to panic. Not only before you send the query, but also after you get the request. You think, "wow, he/she likes the book concept, but what happens if he/she doesn't like my writing?" Well, that can happen, but don't let thoughts of that get in your way.

No. 3: Re-read your work. It never hurts to re-read your work. Now by this stage, you should have already revised it to death, incorporated feedback from critique partners, and done all you can to make the manuscript sparkle. But for some reason, I think sometimes the added "pressure" associated with a request gets you to see that final one or two mistakes you missed.

At the same time, don't keep revising it and revising it to stall sending the manuscript in. Be timely about it. You don't want the excitement the agent had while reading your query to be lost in the time it takes you to respond to his/her request.

No. 4: Send it off and then, here's the kicker, try to relax and not think about it for awhile. If it's meant to be, it's meant to be. There's no sense wasting time worrying about getting feedback or checking your email five-million times to see if they have responded yet. While you will still probably do this, it's also important to move onto writing the next book, sending out more queries, and other things to help your career move forward. Sometimes responses come within hours, but most often it takes days or months to hear back. Be patient and keep working on something else.

Next week, we'll discuss those dreaded rejections.

--Emily, Miss Querylicious


Jessica Burkhart said...

I second the celebrating! :)

Kate Fall said...

I third it! And don't panic too. That's a tough one. :)

Lisa Schroeder said...

Great advice. It's hard to send off and forget, though. The best thing really is to be working on something new!