Tuesday, June 30, 2009

When to Query, that is the question...

Tip of the Day: want a nice summer drink while you are writing? Try this Orange Julius recipe.

All over the Internet, anytime anyone asks a question about querying agents or editors, it's almost always followed by: when do you query?

Simple answer: once your book is complete.

Better answer: once you've revised your book till you want to pull your hair out, wait a few months, continue with the hair-pulling revisions and then it might be ready.

Now some people are lucky and write better first drafts, and don't have to revise as much. Unfortunately, I'm not blessed with that gene. A fact, I like to remind myself of daily, because if I don't then I start getting querying fever.

What is Querying Fever you ask? if medical dictionaries (or even Urban Dictionary) were cool enough to recognize this disease, it would be described as the constant itch and desire to send query letters too early. Often accompanied with cramped hands resulting from too much typing, thoughts of "but what will trying this one agent out hurt, even if my manuscript is only partially finished?," more thoughts of "I could totally finish it in the time needed if they requested it," and doom-filled thoughts of "they can't possibly expect me to revise this five-hundred times BEFORE I get any money off of it, can they?"

Usually I smarten up and see the symptoms before they prove disastrous (and trust me Query Fever always proves disastrous), but occasionally I get too feverish for my own good and query too-soon. In fact, my entire first novel was probably queried too soon.

Live and learn.

Now, I've figured out the longer you can wait, the better. The better your chances. The better prepared you are. And most importantly the better your manuscript will be.

So the next time you get a case of Query Fever just relax, take a bath, go for a run, and then do something else to give you instant satisfaction: like the wonderful Orange Julius recipe I gave you or chocolate covered strawberries (yum yum). And your manuscript will thank you for giving it the much better shot it deserves!

--Emily, Miss Querylicious


Kate Fall said...

That is the definitive definition of Query Fever! Must ... Resist.

Lisa Schroeder said...

Oooh, I want to make that recipe. And chocolate covered strawberries? Delish!!

Kristina Springer said...

This Orange Julius recipe is puzzling. All my life, I thought if you mixed OJ with milk it made you throw up. So now you're saying that you don't in fact throw up but it makes a delicious drink? What other lies have they told me?! (shaking fist at adults who misled me in my drink concoctions).

Emily Marshall said...

Okay, Tina that's funny. Maybe the tons of sugar helps balance it out. Sugar has to be good for something right?

Unknown said...

You say, "my entire first novel was probably queried too soon." Does this imply that you sometimes query partial novels? How does that work?

Emily Marshall said...

Thanks for stopping by Martin. I actually don't query partial novels. I just meant I query before doing enough revisions (I usually need alot of revisions on my drafts--since I'm a bad first drafter).