This week I resumed querying my first novel, The Destiny Matrix, after almost 7 months of revisions. While I’m excited about getting back into slush pile and optimistic about finding an agent, I’m still a little apprehensive about the query process – but not for the reason you might think.
I’m not scared of rejection. I got over that with my first round of queries last fall. I have to admit, the first couple were heart-breaking. I went into it thinking that I was the exception – I was going to bypass rejection and land an agent right away. Wrong. As more rejections came in, I learned not to take them personally.
I think there were several reasons for those earlier rejections. First, my manuscript wasn’t ready yet. To remedy that, I found some awesome critique partners who helped point out where I could make the book better. Second, my query was sub-par. I have been taking advantages of every opportunity I can find to get it critiqued, and feel that it’s now a much stronger query. Lastly, I don’t think I did a very good job of selecting agents to query – they handled YA, but not necessarily my branch of YA. I’m hoping to do a better job of that this time around.
What is it, then, that I fear about querying? It’s that rejection might push me back into a period of self-doubt. It’s not unusual for writers to have frequent battles with self-doubt. I usually lapse into it after poor results in on-line contests, or after a particularly disappointing agent rejection. It’s tempting to tell myself that I’m one of those terrible writers who doesn’t realize they’re a terrible writer, doomed like Sisyphus to roll a rock uphill for all eternity only to have it roll back downhill at the last minute.
Am I really just a hapless schmoe of a writer? On a normal day, I don’t think so. On the days when I’m more pessimistic, I tell myself that if I don’t take the chance and put my work in front of agents, my dream will never come true – the same result as if I query every agent in the industry and get rejected by all of them.
If you are in the same boat as I am, please remember that great risks accompany great rewards. Prepare yourself as much as you can and take the leap. I am.