6.15.2012

An Open Love Letter to My Querying Friends

Robert Indiana Love SculptureThe last couple of weeks have been so exciting for so many of my sweet friends. Lots of folks out there are getting agented, and to you I say HUZZAH! But this post is not for you, this post is written for my friends in the trenches. This isn't advice. This isn't the Top Ten Things You Must Do To Get The Agent Of Your Dreams. This is me telling you how much I love you.

Allow me to preface this with one more thing: I am the critique partner of your nightmares. I'm not cuddly and undeservingly gushy. I am a hardass. Seriously, ask my critique partners. I am a realist. So I write this letter because my heart is soft for those of you who have done the research, done the work, and put yourself out there and still hear the word no. This letter is not for the querying writer who addresses their letter with "Dear Agent" or calls themselves the next J.K. Rowling.

To My Querying Friends:

I fucking love you. I love you so hard. I love you so hard because you're still going. And going is not easy. Going is really freaking heartbreaking. Going is an emotional roller coaster. Going is even harder when things are happening for everyone around you. It's hard because you want so badly to be happy for all you're uber talented friends, but that little voice inside still asks, "When will it be my turn?" Every agent success story is a happy dance on the outside, but a little more salt on the open wound that lives on the inside.

I'm talking to those of you who live for the betterment of your story, ask all the right questions during #askagent, don't write for trends, workshop the shit out of your query before even letting it get within ten feet of an agents inbox, and all those other good things that will someday make you an exemplary client. Because you are doing this right. And because you are doing this right, IT (the big elusive IT) will happen for you. It may not be this book, and it may not be the next, but someday THE agent will find THE book and that book will be YOUR book.

I once wrote a blog about how rejection is personal, so I felt like "don't take it personal" was total bullshit.  And I still do. But when an agent tells you this is a subjective business and that their rejection may be another persons offer, they are telling you the truth. It really is all subjective, and you. my querying friends, may not be getting rejected for personal reasons, but you still take it personal. Because all of this IS personal. Your writing is personal. It's not a phase and it's not a fair weather days thing. It's personal. It's something that lives inside of you that you're brave enough to not only put on paper, but also show people who have the power to say no to you. You write because you have to. If this was just for fun, then you wouldn't be where you are right now. Because where you are right now, in the slushpile, isn't really all that fun. And because of all that you are my hero. If I could add up all your rejections and shower them across the writing world so that we all carried one another's rejections, I would. 

So that's my big cheesy love letter to you. That's my silly bit of sentiment that in no way changes anything, but I hope it makes you smile.

Love,
Julie

12 comments:

  1. The critique partner of your nightmares? Try CP of my sweetest dreams! (The kind where I win the lottery and get to make out with Clive Owen.) THANK YOU :)

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    1. ummmm Andrea, your manuscripts are cleaner than Mr. Cleans head so you don't count. And you are totally for sure the CP of my sweeter sweetest dreams!

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  2. I love you something hard back for this. Needed it now. It's not the good happening to everyone else at the moment. It's the fulls that went out and the radio silence on them for weeks now. I know that I should be thankful for the requests, and I am. But I'm scared. That silence allows my head to talk. LOUD. So I needed to read this and to be reminded and to shut that voice the hell up. Thank you. For being you. For sharing in your journey and your wisdom and your fucking swear words. ;-) I love it when you curse.

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    1. Jennie, I love you harder. Don't be scared. It's easy to live on the edge of your seat, waiting for *the* email, I know. But fill your silence with more stories. :)

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  3. Ditto on everything Jennie said. I've had fulls out there for awhile and the silence is killing me! (I know all about the loud head-talking.) Thanks for this letter to remind me, and everyone in the query trenches, to keep going no matter what because eventually it will be all worth it!

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    1. I know the silence is yucky! I know this letter doesn't change much, but I hope it made your silence not so quiet.

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  4. *tackle hugs* This, Julie... This is what makes it awesome: a community of talented writers and so much love for each other.

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    1. Thank YOU for stopping by and saying a big hello!

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  6. You know what, that did kind of help. I'm in the waiting stage where one moment I think this will be it and I'll get an agent and the next moment I think I'll be stuck working at a restaurant forever. Probably neither of those is true.

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  7. I needed this So. Bad. I got my first heartbreaking rejection today. It was only my second query out, but it was my top pick. There was a request, then a rejection. Yikes, it stings. But I picked myself up, dusted myself off and sent off 12 queries. Love you back, and congratulations to you!! :)

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