October 4, 2010

I queried nine agents last night to represent my first novel, and I think my eyes might bleed. Querying agents is probably the most stressful thing an author ever does. You can cry reading passages of your novel, then as soon as you sit down to query, it seems everything you have ever written is utter, boring dreck. You think, "Who in their right mind would accept this?" You want to suddenly hurl your manuscript into the nearest bonfire, forever away from the eyes of the literary world, except that manuscript represents five years of work and a potential advance large enough to pay off your student loans. And your husband would kill you for throwing it out.

So you write a query. And rewrite it. And rewrite it again. You send it out while agonizing over every single word. Literary agents are notoriously picky. I read their blogs, so I know. Does my query have too many adverbs? Is my bio a turn-off? Should I have spent less space describing the plot and more space on how the book fits into the literary genre?

If I spent the next two months perfecting my query, I still wouldn't have answers to these questions. The only test of its quality is to subject it to the rigid scrutiny of people who hold all my pitiful hopes in their dry, meaty hands. If it fails, I'll tweak it further and start the whole miserable process over again--just to find someone who will love my novel enough to bring it into existence.

1 comment:

paige said...

wow - i like these posts about your novel. It's like a whole 'nother language to me.

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