Ok, You’re Querying. Now What?

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When I first started querying agents for my first manuscript, I was driving myself crazy checking my email and checking Query Tracker. I read from many sources, agents and authors alike, that I should be working on my next manuscript while I’m waiting. Not only does it help pass the time while you’re waiting to hear back from agents, it also keeps you productive and forward-thinking about your writing career.

So, I did just that. I wrote my next novel while I queried my first one. Started in mid-Feb.

At the end of March, I finished my first draft. Now, you’re probably thinking, “Holy shit, that was fast. She can’t write a book that fast and have it be any good.” But remember that every author’s journey is different. I happened to have a lot of time on my hands, and I put it all toward writing. I would spend all day and all night writing sometimes, because it’s what I wanted to do. I also revise and edit the same way. It doesn’t mean the quality of the work suffers just because you can get it done fast. It *can* if you rush through it but working fast is not the same as rushing through it. I have a very high attention to detail—and yes, sometimes I still miss things. Our brains know what we meant to type, even if it doesn’t come out that way, so our brains scan things differently than other readers. (Hence why betas and a trusted few critique partners are essential to a writer!) But overall, I was very thorough with my writing, editing, and revisions.

Every writer’s journey is different.

Ok. Back to querying. In April, I participated in #RevPit. This is an annual contest for writers to submit their query package to a group of experienced editors with the end goal to win a round of edits on the manuscript with your chosen editor. I didn’t win, and that could be for a multitude of reasons. The editors select one that is promising and that seems to need just the right amount of editing that can be done in eight weeks. They turn down pieces that are already good enough for querying, and they turn down pieces that are going to need a whole lot more editing than they have time for in the given eight weeks. I don’t know where mine fit in, but I felt I was close to being ready.

“Determination and perseverance are everything in this writing journey.”

At that point, I decided that, even with critique partners (essential!) and my own editing and revisions, I wanted the opinion on the overall storyline, character arc, plot points, etc. from an editor. I hired one to do an overarching edit. This is a lot less expensive and offered me what I needed. I didn’t feel I needed line editing because my stronger points are grammar, spelling, etc. What I needed was a general opinion on how well the story worked, areas that I was great at, and areas that needed some work. Not only did she provide me with a seven-page, professional, detailed edit letter, but she was approachable and friendly, and extremely knowledgeable. (For those who are looking for editing services, her name is Laura Samotin). Laura was fantastic, and I would highly recommend her. With her suggestions, I did a major revision and when I was done, I felt like “this is it.” I worked tirelessly for days and days on end and prepared it for #PitDark and #PitMad and was excited to get it out there. I also never wanted to look at it again. 😂

I also had a few folks (critique partners and paid agent critiques through The Manuscript Academy) look at my queries, and I ended up re-writing both of them. Once I had a solid letter (for each manuscript) that was between 250-300 words, I was happy. I felt great about my queries, and the query letter is the first thing an agent sees—so it has to be on point.

Remember when I said I’d finished my first manuscript and was querying it? Well, I decided to throw it into the pitch madness as well because I hadn’t gotten any requests for fulls on it yet. And, why not? There is no harm or shame in querying two manuscripts at once. If they’re both ready, go for it! I did, however, also do a major revision of the first manuscript. I learned SO MUCH after writing that first novel through workshops, courses, conferences, and articles, so I wanted to apply that knowledge to my first book, too. I then had two manuscripts written, revised, polished, and ready to go. Both are books of my heart.

“Getting that first full request feels so validating!”

As it turns out, I got a request for a full on my first book during #PitDark—by the same agent who had already requested a partial from March’s #PitMad, but I hadn’t heard back from her by May’s #PitDark. This was my first ever full request, and I was STOKED. Getting that first full request feels so validating!

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

At the same time, I decided to start cold querying agents for my second novel as well. I got a request for a partial on the second book, and between #PitDark and #PitMad, I started getting agent likes and requests for fulls—on both manuscripts.

When I started receiving requests for fulls, I let other agents know about it. I asked about this in the writing community, and the advice was mixed, but there were a lot of people who said it’s good to let agents know when another agent has requested a full. Published authors I know ended up getting full requests and offers of rep after doing so. After all, you are working for YOU and YOUR best interest. It’s in your best interest to let an agent know that someone else is interested in your manuscript, your book baby, the book of your heart. You want to give yourself every opportunity to get that book noticed, wanted, and sold. And at the end of the day, just ask yourself—what’s the worst that can happen if you proactively let an agent know that another agent is considering your full manuscript? Worst is they don’t answer or reject anyway, in which case, the agent was not the one for you. Best is that they come back and say, “thanks so much for letting me know—I’ve decided I’d love to read the full manuscript.”

“You want to give yourself every opportunity to get that book noticed, wanted, and sold.”

I also started putting it in my queries. Yes, I’m still querying even though I have fulls out. You don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket. You don’t know what response those agents will give you. For me, I’m not going crazy and querying every single agent I can find (never do that—query in small batches, make sure you vet agents, and research to make sure they’re a good fit for you and your novel). But do keep querying in small batches, or in my case, 1-3 agents every few days or a week. I have a small line at the very bottom before my close that says “Please note the full manuscript is currently under consideration with multiple agents.” And it has worked—I’ve gotten requests for fulls on queries that included this at the bottom. (I did have the number of agents it was out with but upon some great advice from a writer friend, it’s best to just say it’s out with multiple agents.) I now have 7 fulls and one partial under consideration. (And the wait is killing me, haha!)

Now, I’m at the point where I have two full novels, both of which have had extensive revisions done, and I’m getting interest. Even if they come back rejected, it means I’m close. I’m on the right track. I’m doing something right. Obviously, my hope is that I’ll get at least one offer—because all it takes is one yes. And with that yes, you let the other agents know you have an offer and that will prompt them to finish your manuscript and make an offer or pass on it. In a best-case scenario, an author will get multiple agent offers and therefore have the difficult, but very privileged decision of having to choose which offering agent is the best fit.

“All it takes is one yes.”

It’s very much a hurry-up-and-wait game right now. I’m sending nothing but positive vibes out into the universe. I’m manifesting that yes, believing it into fruition. I’m not leaving any room for “what if it doesn’t happen?” because I want that yes, and I’m going to believe in it. I’ve worked so damned hard for it and have wanted make this dream a reality since I was a young teenager. If I do get rejections, I’ll deal with them if and when it happens, learn from them, and do what I need to do to continue this journey and get my yes. Determination and perseverance are everything in this writing journey.

“Manifest that yes. Believe it into fruition.”

I want to start on my next story, but I’m giving myself a break because I’ve worked so very hard to get where I am right now. I continue to do “writerly things” every day. I’ve been taking workshops and classes, I’m very active on social media (mostly Twitter), interacting and engaging with other writers and passing on tips and advice. Updating my blog and website. Crafting flash fiction and micro fiction pieces, which I love the challenge of, and sharing my successes in having a few selected for publication. (My most recent one can be read here—a story of grief, soul connections, and reincarnation.) I continue to do research for an upcoming project (trilogy), and I continue learning Portuguese every single day (this is both a personal interest, since I spent time in Brazil and learned the basics but want to learn more, and for my upcoming trilogy which takes place mostly in Portugal). (No, I do not intend to write it in Portuguese, but I want to include some phrases and sentences here and there to make it more authentic.)

Not writing my next novel is taking some serious patience and discipline! But I have some things coming up that will prevent me from having the time to write for the majority of the summer, and I can’t start now and then get into it, get excited about it, and want to write and be unable to. So, I’m waiting until August to begin my next novel. (I say that now but you never know, lol.)

Besides, I have the next book from Book One (it’s a series) about 2/3 written, so I can always chip away at that if I can’t keep myself away from writing here and there over the summer.

“Collecting experiences that I can use to form an emotional attachment between my characters and the readers is part of writing. When you’re a writer, living life is a part of writing.”

I’m also taking the time to be outside. Enjoying nature. Feeding little chipmunks and squirrels and birds in my yard. Loving the flowers and summer heat and sunshine! And relaxing. Even when I’m not writing, I’m still writing. I’m taking in the sights, sounds, smells, things that I see happening. I’m listening and watching, and ideas are brewing. Collecting experiences that I can use to form an emotional attachment between my characters and the readers is part of writing. When you’re a writer, living life is a part of writing.

Hopefully soon, I’ll have some wonderful, exciting news to share. But until then, I’ll keep doing what I do best—all the writerly things!

And when that good news comes, I’ll know I couldn’t have gotten to that point without the support of the amazing #writingcommunity that I’m surrounded by every day. I have made some wonderful friends, I’ve found my Muriel (you’ll have to listen to this episode of the AMAZING podcast, The Shit No One Tells You About Writing in order to find out what that means!), and I feel so uplifted and supported by so many. My way of repaying the kindness of other writers is by paying it forward and guiding other writers on their journey. 💜

Photo by Lisa on Pexels.com

Follow me on Twitter for daily tips, prompts, and questions that will make you think about and analyze your works-in-progress! I’ve started using the hashtag #kfoxxwrites to keep track of them easily. I’m so happy when people engage with my daily posts, and even more happy when it makes them realize they need to make a change or some sort of improvement they hadn’t thought of before. I’ve always been a “helper” and it brings me great joy to help other writers!

Do you have a question about the writing or publishing process? I would love to try and help! Contact me here!

Thanks for reading! Please like and share if you liked it! 😊

Published by kathleenfoxx

Author of domestic thrillers and gothic horror.

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