Tales from the Trenches

Okay, so, I’m querying. And I’m going crazy. Every time I see a new email in my inbox I get a sick feeling in my stomach, something between excitement, nervousness, dread and hopefulness. I’m constantly hopping between optimism and preparing myself for the worst. My husband and other family members are continuously telling me, “Chill out. It will happen!” Yeah, that’s easier said than done when you’re so deep into this process of putting your work out there for others to judge and, in many cases, turn down. Crazy-inducing as it is, rejection is a big part of the querying and eventual publication process.  

I share the following story because hopefully I’m not the only person whose subconscious tortures them while they’re trying to sleep. The other night I had a querying nightmare. In this nightmare, I got an email from an agent who’d read my manuscript. Her note wasn’t exactly a rejection, but it definitely wasn’t an offer of representation either. It was merely a list of typos she’d found in the manuscript. Tons of them. My misspelling on the left, and her corrections on the right. How humiliating! I woke up with my stomach turning somersaults. The first thing I did was check my email to make sure the dream wasn’t some weird glimpse of the future, then I spent the rest of the day second-guessing all of the requested material I’ve sent in. Let me say, my manuscript is NOT riddled with typos. And I’ve never gotten an email from an agent that wasn’t gracious and complimentary. But still.

When I told one of my CPs about my dream, she laughed and said, “Oh, you are so in the trenches.”

Yes. Yes, I am.

Anyone else in the trenches? Crazy behavior? How do you deal?

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11 responses to “Tales from the Trenches

  1. I’m in a different branch of those trenches. RESONANCE is on submission, and I feel the same hope/dread mix when I open my email. (hasn’t stopped me from stalking my own inbox, though >_< ) Do they like it? do they hate it? Will someone else want to read it? Have they read it yet? Oh yeah. I'm in the trenches with you!

    • Don’t worry, I’m an inbox stalker too. I have to charge my phone by 4:00pm every day because I’ve refreshed so many times! Hard to believe we put ourselves through this constantly. Hopefully the payout will be worth all the worry!

  2. Also in a different branch of the trenches, but I had a moment of panic when a teen beta-reader who’d read my book well after it went on submission came back to me with a comment about typos and being unsatisfied with the ending. Talk about nauseating.

    • But you made that teen beta cry–repeatedly. Typos happen, even pubbed books have them. And, now you know exactly what one of your target audience members thinks, right? Always a bonus, I’d say.

    • You know how I feel about your ending, Heather. You don’t need sunshine and rainbows for a satisfying ending. I’m so glad I’ve got friends who are going through this craziness with me!

  3. I know exactly how you feel! My stomach is in constant knots every time I check my email which is every five minutes so basically it’s always in knots lol. I also never hated spam so much until I started querying 🙂 And I’m with you on the dream thing. I once dreamt that I had to come in to see the agent to query like an interview and not only did she turn me down, but her cat gave me major allergies. Even my dreams won’t give us our Happily Ever After!

    I have to say though, I’ve read your excerpts and though they were great! 🙂 It makes me keep going back to my own WIP in doubt lol

    • Thanks so much, Jenn! And I have to say, I think your querying dream might be even worse than mine! Here’s to hoping for good news for both of us soon. 🙂

  4. Oh boy. I hear ya! Hang in there. I’ve not had a dream like that, but I know the email-thing you mentioned. . . stomach up and down up and down. . .

  5. This is going to sound really dumb, but for the non writers, can you share exactly what querying is? I mean obviously you are trying to get published, but is this just getting an agent, and then the agent pitches your book? Is that how it works?

    • Not dumb at all, Carla! I didn’t know anything about anything until I started devoting huge amounts of time to researching the querying process, literary agents and editors. You’re right. Querying is essentially contacting an agent with a quick introduction of your story and yourself. If they like what they see, they’ll contact you asking for part of or all of the manuscript. If they fall in love and think they can sell it, they’ll offer representation. Then, after more edits and revisions usually, the whole thing starts all over as your agent contacts editors at pubilishing houses asking if they might be interested in reading the manuscript. It’s often a long and drawn out process with lots of ups and downs. Hopefully eventually an editor (or several editors!) will love your work enough to buy it, then you’ll revise and edit again, wait a year or two, and then have a book on the market. Then you live happily ever after (or something like that :)).