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A Day in the Life of a Querier

Categories: Chuck Sambuchino's Guide to Literary Agents Blog, Guest Columns.
A Day in the Life of a Querier:

8:00 a.m. You’re raring to go. You check and re-check your query letter.

8:30 a.m. You look over your list of agents to query and choose one. You double-check their guidelines and press send. You feel pretty darn good about yourself. You are confident she’ll love it.

10:00 a.m. By now you’ve sent off queries to your top dream agents. You feel proud of yourself.

Guest column by Christina Lee, who is
currently querying for her YA novel. She writes
 her own column for The Sun News and creates
hand-stamped jewelry for her on-line jewelry
business, Tags-n-Stones.
She blogs all about

it on www.write-brained.com.

10:30 a.m. You complete a blog post that says something like “Querying agents isn’t so scary after all!”

10:45 a.m. You receive your first form rejection. Basically, it says something along the lines of “While your work shows merit, I was not as drawn to it as I needed to be. I’m sure another agent will feel differently.” You feel humbled. A shroud of doubt slowly descends upon you. You reconsider your list of dream agents and wonder if  what you thought was a match made in publishing heaven, may have all been one-sided. It’s not you, it’s me …

11:00 a.m. – noon. You mope around some more, and then change your blog post to include the title, “Querying Messes with Your Head.” You re-read your first ten pages, and question whether you novel is good enough. You decide not to query anymore until you see other responses from agents.

12:30 p.m. You eat gobs of chocolate for lunch and get hopped up on caffeine.

12:45 p.m. You spy another query response in your inbox, and spend an entire minute staring at it before finally taking the plunge. You cringe while reading it and brace yourself for the worst. You receive your first request for a partial and fist pump the air.

1:30 p.m. You read and re-read your partial before hitting send, afraid to make any kind of mistake. You get a second wind to work on other things, like your newest novel.

2:00 p.m. You take a break and stalk the agent who asked for the partial on Twitter. You read what they had for lunch and note that you like Chipotle, too. You participate in Twitter conversations with other authors and marvel at the support of the community. Hearing their publishing successes doesn’t make you nearly as green with envy today.

3:00 p.m. You receive another rejection. You focus in on the personalized line that reads “…your writing in the pages below was good, but…”  You feel better about this one because the agent made the point to tell you your writing was decent. Which means you must not totally suck.

4:30 p.m. You receive a request for a full in your inbox. Feeling light as air, you dance around the room, considering the endless possibilities of your publishing career.

5:30 p.m. You spend time combing through your entire manuscript making sure you didn’t miss any glaring typos.

6:00 p.m. You re-read the e-mail requesting the full and freak out some more.

6:10 p.m.
You finally hit send and then cross your fingers and toes.

6:15 p.m. Before closing out your manuscript, you notice that a typo (that was not there five minutes ago) magically appeared on a page. You curse yourself for not noticing.

6:30 p.m. You spend family time preoccupied by that one typo and wonder what else you missed. You pray the agent is human, too.

7 p.m. – 10 p.m. You hit refresh in your e-mail in-box about one zillion times.

11:00 p.m.
You fall into bed, exhausted from all of the effort your brain has exerted.

8:00 a.m. the following day. You look in the mirror and notice something brand new. You’re developing a thicker skin!

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20 Responses to A Day in the Life of a Querier

  1. Perfect timing because I’m querying today. Yep, this sounds like a day in my life. Love the ending of the post because we need to develop thick skin in this business.

  2. Martha Roden says:

    So, how in God’s name does this querier manage to make a living and pay the bills if he or she spends spend every day online, twittering, blogging, checking email, and revamping queries and manuscripts?

  3. christina says:

    Thanks for all of the great responses everyone!

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  5. Bwaa ha ha ha ha! This was hilarious. Except I haven’t gotten any requests for anything yet!

    I did get a rejection by email within ONE HOUR of sending out the query. Someone was cleaning out their mailbox, I bet. I wasn’t expecting anyone to even see it for at least a week!

  6. Tom Bentley says:

    Gosh, these days (and I’m speaking about querying for articles as well as books), I’m surprised to get responses at all, much less in the same day. Right now, if you rap on my skin with a small hammer, you hear a sound back like that of a hollow door.

  7. How did you get inside my head to write this? All so true–the euphoria and thrill after building up the courage to press "send"–then the depths when the answer comes back as a no. The good news is we are not alone. Thick skin is a requirement to function in "query-land".

  8. alexandra says:

    I enjoyed this… all the ups and downs of it.

    Thank you for a peek into your world.

  9. Hi, Christina. I found the link on your blog. Woo hoo for thicker skin. And good luck with the querying.

  10. M. M. Justus says:

    If you believe it’s that easy, I’ve got some oceanfront property in Iowa for sale…

  11. I’m glad I’m not to only one. But I would never stalk. I just read everything that’s ever been written by or about that person. So definitely not stalking. :)

  12. Bossy Betty says:

    Christina’s the bomb! She’s hit the nail right on the head with this one!

  13. Anne says:

    Ahaha It’s so true! I’m completely stalking the agent with my partial on twitter. Now I just need some more requests to pass the time.

  14. This was an amazing post. It really captures the emotional ups and downs of the querying process. Though I have to say that I don’t get that many quick responses…unless it’s a rejection. But I did get a partial request and it was the greatest feeling ever! Now, I’m waiting and hoping for more requests.

  15. MaryWitzl says:

    Well, that’s been my life for the past, oh, seven years, if you throw in a full teaching schedule, spats with my husband and kids. And you’d have to stretch out the skin-thickening quite a bit as well… So odd to think we’re all living these parallel existences, going through so many of the same experiences.

    The first time I got a request for a full, I honestly thought they’d sent it to the wrong person.

  16. SharleneT says:

    Okay, great column – BUT, you told a story! You fibbed! You said you had gobs of chocolate for lunch… ain’t now way, hunh-uh, no way… you’re way too pretty and in shape for a chocolate gobber… please don’t lead me on, anymore… it hurts… but, those days sure beat having to make your own paper, too, don’t they!…

    Twitter: SolarChief

  17. Jen says:

    Way to go on the thicker skin Christina!!! Way to take the querying world by storm! I wish you the best of luck!!! Thanks for giving me the rundown on what that day would look like!

  18. ariel swan says:

    Wow – that was my day yesterday – almost exactly – except I didn’t get three – only 1 for a full and I was running around the house like a crazy woman. But then I fell into the naysaying despair – knowing it will most likely get rejected ultimately. But your account is eerily matched to my reality at least – down to the look at the first ten pages again and think your novel isn’t good enough – and it is so nice to know it is not only me.

  19. Matthew Rush says:

    What an excellent microcosm of what it’s really like. Great post Christina!

  20. Adam Heine says:

    Yeah, that’s about right. Except for the part about getting three responses the same day as sending out the query. That’s how I know this is fiction ;-)

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