Query Jitters

Round Three!! Yes, you heard right, this is the third time I've done the whole query thing. So it should be easy-peasy, right? Then why do I get so anxious and nervous and unsure and worried and just plain jittery this time around?



Not that I didn't the first two times. But I'm actually HESITANT to query! I've researched the agent, formatted the query just for that agent, but when it comes to hitting send I have a hard time clicking! Not that I don't ADORE my story (because I do. It's hilarious, it's fun. I lol every time I read it, and I'm the one who wrote it!). Maybe that's why, though.

The first two times I jumped in and submitted my material when I thought it was ready. I'd had people read it, give good advice. I'd made changes based on that advice. I'd printed out the whole enchilada and read every single word aloud to myself. I'd double and triple checked grammar, sentences, plot structure. You get the picture. I even got requests from agents!

But after all of that I also got rejections.

Then I came to find out it wasn't really ready, and I'd already blown my changes with the agents I wanted!

I think I'm so nervous this time around because I don't want to make the same mistakes thrice. I'm so afraid the same things will happen that I don't want to jump right in and send out queries just to get rejections. So I've sent out a few (one rejection so far), and I'm just waiting to see what happens with these three until I send out any more. I'm leery because I think I want it to happen--to get THAT phone call, you know, the one we all dream of. I want it more this time because I feel like this story is the one. This is it.

There isn't much else that my story needs. It's ready. My query is ready. I know it. But there's that little "What if...?" lingering in the back of my mind. What if I think it is, but it really isn't? I've had more people read this ms than any of the others, and I've had more people love it and give great suggestions and then tell me they have no suggestions. So what's my problem?

Do any of you feel that way when you go to query? Do you get jitters and have a hard time hitting the send button? What do you do about it?

18 comments

Chantele Sedgwick said...

Oh, the dreaded..."What if...?" Those pesky little words. :) Good luck querying! It was the most awesome and frustrating experience I ever had. Love/hate relationship I guess you could say. I'm crossing my fingers for you!!

(And while you're querying, write something else to take your mind off it. It works wonders! ;)

Sarah Pearson said...

I haven't queried yet, but this all sounds perfectly normal. You know it's ready, let it fly! Chantele's right, start writing the next one to fall in love with :-)

I wish you all the very best, I'll be hoping for good news :-)

Jennifer Groepl said...

Best of luck to you in your querying. I've jumped the gun twice too (once to self-pub and once to query), but all it takes it that one time, right? I'll keep my fingers crossed for you. :)

Tristyn said...

I'm in the query boat too.... I know how you feel. It's exciting and nerve-racking all at the same time. All I can say is that if it feels right its right! Follow your gut and let everything else fall into place. Good luck :)

Angelina C. Hansen said...

When I was querying, I had the opposite problem, too quick to push the send button. Even when I truly was ready, I sometimes made stupid mistakes. If you truly feel you're ready, check the query once. Wait a day. Check it again. Then send. Best wishes. ^_^

Jeigh said...

I haven't braved querying yet, but I wish you the best of luck. It sounds like you've put in the work, so hopefully third time's a charm!

Jessica Love said...

What a great post!

First of all, good luck! You know what they say about the third time! ;-)

Second, I'm about to start querying and I am SO NERVOUS about it. I am so afraid to screw it up. I feel like my ms is never going to be good enough, never going to be ready enough, I'M never going to be good/ready enough. It's a terrifying process!

Cortney said...

Wowza, you all have given great advice! Thanks for the well wishes! Chantele, I actually started a new project yesterday, so woohoo, it does help to take your mind off of things. Tristyn and Jessica, good luck with your queries too! Thanks again, guys.

Morgan said...

You're story IS ready... it's so stinkin' hilarious, Cortney!!!!! I'm excited to see the success you have on this journey. I can feel it. It's coming!!!! :D

Angela Cothran said...

I'm going through this right now too. I think you know when you are ready, and you just have to go for it. I'll say a prayer for you :)

Michelle Merrill said...

I haven't queried yet. Mostly because I keep working on my book. I think it's close, just not close enough! And I don't know if I'll ever think it's just right. But no doubt I would get the jitters! Good luck with everything!

Oh, and I really want to do an aspiring author interview with you on my blog. And I can't find your email. Could you email me?
michelle m merrill (at) hotmail (dot) com.

Peggy Eddleman said...

YES! I think, though, that if you already got the feeling that THIS is the book, that it's ready, your query is ready, and you've done everything you need to, you just have to keep reminding yourself that you trust yourself. You wouldn't be querying if it weren't true! Just click send. Come on... you know you want to. :)

Rebecca Emin said...

It's terrifying isn't it. Best of luck with your queries. I've found the only way to stop worrying about submissions is to send more and more so the pressure isn't all just about one. It seems to help a little bit.

Michael Offutt said...

I used to but not so much anymore. Very few agents are picking up clients through queries. Most count on getting them through pitch sessions which is where (if you're a serious writer) you should aim at because your chances are much higher you'll get noticed.

Katie Dodge said...

I'm right there with ya! I'm going to start querying next week and I'm excited and nervous! My finger always hovers over "send" for like an hour before I work up the courage. It sounds like you're ready, so just do it. Like ripping off a bandaid. ;) Good luck with everything!

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E.R. King said...

I didn't know you were querying again. Good luck! Having the jitters is normal. Hang in there!

Lauren F. Boyd said...

Hi Cortney!

First of all, I hope you recognize how well and thoroughly you have prepared your manuscript and query for submission - moreso than many writers out there who are in your same position. I think you've done everything that is in your power to make your query and manuscript the best it can be. Once you submit it, it will be left up to forces that you can't control (i.e. what genres the industry is and isn't looking for, how many other like manuscripts have already been accepted).

Secondly, if you don't have much interest from agents (or even if you do), you are welcome to drop me an email at laurenfboyd@gmail because I have found five adult fiction publishers who accept unagented, unsolicited MSS submissions. I am happy to share those names with you or anyone.

Thirdly, Michael's comment puzzled me (with all due respect to him). So I emailed Rachelle Gardner about his statement and here was part of her reply: "Many agents still get new clients through queries. Some don't, but rely on referrals and conferences. At any given time, a particular agent could be in any of these categories...it changes."

Thanks, too, for commenting on my blog! It's great to see you!

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