Why I Love to Query (even when I sometimes hate it)

Let’s start off by saying that I have a love-hate relationship with querying.  And that when I first started, I really, really hated doing it.  I was slow, I was trying to super-personalize everything, it would take me all day to send two queries (or, let’s be honest, a week to send one), and they’d either never come back or be a form rejection.

These days I personalize based on the agent’s guidelines and add in something special if there’s an extra little connection between us, but I don’t go to all the trouble that I did for those first AFTRLYF queries.  I’m still a slow querier, and when you have two novels with fulls out there when you start querying a third, it becomes really difficult to manage which agents and agencies you can query.  Plus I do all the research: check them out on Absolute Write, make sure their guidelines are the same on their website as on Agent Query, see if they actually have sold books in my genre (I’ve learned my lesson), etc.  So now it takes me all evening to do, say, five queries, which is what I usually aim for in any given batch of queries, but that’s a lot better than a week to do one.

The other day, I posted “Inbox (1),” my ode to the heart-attack I get for each e-mail.  It’s fun getting requests, and those definitely outweigh the disappointment of query rejections.  Response has been a little slow for Fireflies, but that’s okay because it’s been really positive (if anyone’s wondering, I have 3 requests and 5 rejections–that’s an excellent request rate), and I know that January is a big querying month.  But I realized last night that the thrill of requests isn’t why I really love querying.

It’s because the agents are almost celebrities to some writers, and I’ve become a part of their world.

If I get a request, and the agent is on twitter, well, now I have a reason to follow them, wondering if they’re talking about me when they’re reading a submission.  Some agents do a #YAlitchat where authors can ask questions.  The other day I joined the speakeasy in a chat room afterwards, and chatting so casually with an agent was pretty awesome.  I have a reason to follow a certain agent’s lists of agents on twitter, looking for news or new agents to query.  As an author, I always cared what agents have to say, but now I really care

They might be reading Fireflies/Trouble/Love Sucks right now.

Publishing World, Sage is a part of you.

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