The idea was easy. The writing was easy. The research was tricker. Almost every location is real, and I even researched the best wine to go with a meal that was only mentioned in passing. Finding beta readers hasn’t been that easy. It takes a lot of time! Editing and hoping it’s up to par has had me literally up at night. The query letter has taken a few months and was started before I’d finished five chapter. As of a few days ago, I have one that satisfies me.
The worst part is has been deciding which agents to query. I wish this was due to an overwhelming number of to-notch agents who would be blow away by my query. Alas, it’s the opposite. I’m afraid few will be, though I know I have a solid story in a popular genre. I would like someone with either a solid track record or who is new but has solid connections. Someone do me a solid and send some of these agents my way. Oh, my attempts at being punny crack me up sometimes. This is now one of those times.
I’ve found plenty of agents who have been around for many years, yet have few authors or novels listed on their websites. I’ve found plenty with websites that go to parked pages. That doesn’t fill me with confidence. No website is better than one full of GoDaddy ads. I’ve found about two dozen who I think may be a good fit for me.
There’s the rub. I do not want to query just any agent who accepts my genre. If I do not have a feeling we will be a good fit for each other, then I don’t want to waste their time or mine. But what if I’m passing up the ideal agent because that gut feeling isn’t there?
Several times to far I have come by agents who I believe would be ideal, not only them for me, but me for them. Then my eyes land on the “does not accept unsolicited queries,” and my excitement deflates. It’s slow and painful. Just rip that excitement off and let me move on to the next.
Twice I have found agents who I think would again be a decent two-way match, only to discover that querying multiple agents at the same agency isn’t allowed. So how do I decide which to attempt, and what if I pick the one who will say no and pass up the one who would have said yes?
I fully expect to query a many agents. This doesn’t mean that my book is terrible. Every writer can expect rejections. The seventh or eighth agent to respond doesn’t know they’re that magical number that should say yes. This will not discourage me. You fall, figure out what you’re doing wrong, and get back in the saddle.
This fear about even starting the process is unusual. But I do understand it.
Starting the query process is the beginning to a hopeful end. The end goal is representation and a best-selling hit. Who goes down this road hoping to end up on the clearance rack? But obtaining that goal means giving up a measure of privacy and anonymity. I value these things. Representation and publication would mean saying sayonara to something important to me. Rejection means I’m unknown a little longer. Acceptance means my message has a change to be heard on a larger scale and hopefully loved with the same passion millions have for Christian Grey.
I have a very important message in my book. It’s the entire reason I wrote it, and it’s one that is vital for young women to hear. While I see my personal life and privacy as something I would have to sacrifice, it’s one I’m willing to make. It’s not easy, but I’m willing. I could be offered millions to put myself out there, and would not do it unless the reason was compelling enough. Money doesn’t drive this. The message in my book, its importance, is what does.
So the first real step to giving up what I so highly value is finding the right agent and not wasting anyone’s time on ones I feel wouldn’t be right from the start. If I’m going to take a big leap, I may as well do it right.