How Being Brave Has Made Me a Coward Again

Once upon a time, I was so timid about querying.  It would take me several days to send one query.  Just one.  And the sad thing was that despite my best intentions to personalize them, I really suck at it, so they weren’t all that personalized.  Then I would agonize over every word (even though I had already perfected (or, you know, not) the query letter).  Then I had to get through my nerves enough… to… send. 

By the time I got to querying Love Sucks, I was a little braver, sending in batches of two or three a day.  Five would be a very productive querying day (and I spent the whole day on it).  I had to check every one several times.  Did I spell the name right?  Did I follow their directions to the letter?  Did the directions on AgentQuery match their website and everything anyone ever said on Absolute Write about them?  Finally I would hit send.

Something happened when I was querying Love Sucks, pre-revision.  I started to like it.  I had already been querying it for six months and had three fulls that had been sitting.  But I had very few queries out there.  I was on a writing vacation and made myself send one query every 1000 words.  And then I got a new full request.  And then I wanted to send another query before I had finished 1000 words.  And suddenly I wanted to query.

By the time I was querying LS’s revision, I was querying like a madwoman (after the initial check that my revised query worked with a few test agents).  I sent queries in batches of 5-10 and waited a much shorter time between batches.  I’d throw the query in an e-mail, address it to the agent, add the pages they wanted, if any (I had learned to take the first 10 pages and give them their own document with spaces between the paragraphs, just for querying purposes, and that made including pages much easier), the synopsis if they wanted (because I had already “perfected” that too), and it was off.  I still made sure to follow the query directions, but I didn’t agonize over it.

Same routine for Trouble and Fireflies.  I sent in batches, waiting a short time to see the responses, when I got positive responses (especially for Fireflies), I started doing bigger batches.  I got obsessed with sending queries.

But, see, here I am waiting on fulls and partials, and the agents who seem right for Fireflies (and take e-queries) have mostly been queried.  Every so often an agent at a “no from one of us doesn’t equal a no from all” agency will give me a rejection, and I’ll get to query a new one.  Or an agent that never got back to me on Trouble has taken so long that I feel brave enough to query them with Fireflies.

Perhaps because these are kinda trickling now, I’ve suddenly become a coward again.  I put them together the same way as when I’m speed-querying, but I get scared to hit “send.”  I double-, triple-check the query directions.  Check to make sure that this is THE agent I want to query next from that agency. Go read about them on AW again and make sure I’m not missing anything.  Send.

Freak out.  Did I misspell their name?  Did I copy and paste a weird version of my query?  Did I forget the pages?

Seriously, where did this fear come from this time?  I don’t know.  Maybe because I’ve started to think it’s “easy” (the actual putting together of the query, at least), it’s come back and created this fear that I’ve gotten cocky about it and haven’t done what I needed to.  Or maybe one query sent to an agent at the wrong e-mail and without pages when she wanted them has made me second guess myself.  Whatever the reason, it’s not stopping me from querying.  It’s just… more stress, lol.

Luckily, I’ve been waiting on requests, so query rejections in the end don’t seem toooooo disappointing.


Currently on my iPod: All of This by Shaimus

Lots of love,


5 thoughts on “How Being Brave Has Made Me a Coward Again

  1. I haven’t even started to think about queries, they really freak me out… I am okay with writing a 90.000 words long novel but that one piece of letter seems like the hardest thing to get it right! I’m right there with you, I’m the biggest coward when it comes to queriying! 🙂

  2. I sort of know what you mean, Sage. There’s something really terrifying about sending those things. Even when you think you’re brave, the littlest thing can send you cowering again.

  3. I go through this cycle too. My heart pounds so hard when I push ‘send’ on the first five queries, but after that it’s easier. Then, near the end it gets hard again. Good luck with your queries!

  4. aww haha i can imagine how you must feel. embrace it though — it’s like getting butterflies with a new crush all over again 😉

    new opportunities! new possibilities!

    wishing you all the best, sage!

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