Jumping into the query trenches is an act of bravery. It takes fortitude, stamina, and an unlimited amount of patience. It also requires an incredible amount of faith.
The Query Trenches Reality
Anyone who’s “been there, done that” knows the query trenches can be a total slog. Sending a query, whether by email or via online form, can feel like shouting into the void. We have come a long way from the days where a response was guaranteed. These days, agents and editors are so inundated, they may not respond at all. Many have a policy on their submission guidelines that says if you don’t hear from them in a certain amount of time you can assume they aren’t interested.
And not hearing back after you have labored long and hard to craft a solid query letter, researched the agent or editor to make sure they are a good fit, and carefully completed the submission process can be frustrating.
That silence can make an author feel as if no one is remotely interested in our book. or that no one is interested in even letting us know that they’re not interested in our book. Which, in turn, can make us feel like our book must be awful. (Hint: It’s not.)
As a book coach, I often find myself assuring clients that this is a long game. That patience is a critical element at the querying stage. That getting published tends to be a marathon, not a sprint.
The Cinderella Story Version
We all tend to want a Cinderella story. We dream of that happily ever after publishing contract. That agent who will guide us through the woods and keep us on the path to publication. We want the opportunity to go to the ball (querying trenches) and meet the prince (agent/editor) and have the slipper (manuscript) fit. But—because that part of the story is always summarized—what we sometimes forget is just how many feet the prince tried that slipper on before he found the right one, the perfect fit. He persisted, trying that slipper on an entire kingdom’s worth of feet!
Remember, when you’re out there in the query trenches, hoping you’ll find the one person who will to champion your work and love it as much as you do (or even more) and pump it up in order to sell it to an editor or convince the marketing department that this is the next big thing and they really need to get behind it, what you’re really looking for is the perfect fit. And that can take time.
There’s an entire kingdom of agents and editors out there. And it takes time to find the right one. You may have to search the entire publishing realm to find that one perfect fit. But, as with most things, persistence pays. Stay the course, breathe, have faith in your work, and remember why you jumped into the query trenches in the first place. You have a story to tell and there are readers out there waiting for it. Readers for whom it will be the perfect fit.
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