I promised Misha ages ago that I’d do a post on… querying.
No, don’t run for the hills, it’s not all bad.
I’ve been out on queries twice in my life – the first time was a couple of years ago, with a YA/MG that even I realised, after a while, wasn’t quite ready to be submitted yet.
The second time is ongoing: I started querying my historical romance, Out of the Water, a few months ago. I’ve gone about it a lot more slowly and a lot more methodically than the last time.
I browsed agent blogs, looked up the agents of my favourite writers, haunted Agent Query and the other agent-listing sites, and came up with an Excel sheet.
As I send out a query to each agent in order, this time around, I’ve made a lot more effort to personalise each letter.
The magic connection between agent and author hasn’t happened yet. So I’m not sure if I’m the right person to give out advice. I’ve had to learn and relearn to stop comparing my progress with others; no medal or award has ever been given for fastestwritertolandanagentever.
I’ve had oodles of help along the way, though, and I can share with you those who’ve helped me:
First and foremost there’s the Compuserve Books and Writers Community, a treasure trove of newbies, seasons authors, and all around great folks who are all too willing to critique and praise.
Then, Barbara Rogan, whose Next-level Workshop did wonders for the final draft of Out of the Water.
And then there was Mindy McGinnis, who held a Saturday Slash featuring my query letter!
Finally, just to show that you never know what’s around the bend, there’s always Adam Heine’s query story, about how he sent out over 100 query letters, but the third agency he’d queried ultimately asked to represent him.
All you can do is keep querying – and keep writing! Especially short stories, if you can – so much easier to submit to magazines, on all kinds of topics!
In the words of Neil Gaiman: “Just keep authoring things or you will be eaten by flowers.”
Deniz Bevan recently returned to Romance after a foray into Young Adult and Middle Grade novels. She’s currently querying my latest romance, Out of the Water, set in Spain and Turkey in 1492 and editing a second romance set in the same time frame, Rome, Rhymes and Risk. She also writes travel articles and book reviews for the trilingual newspaper Bizim Anadolu and the 100 Romances Blog. Visit her at her blog.