Wednesday, July 27, 2011

On time, early, or just plain late

There are people who query too soon and there are people that query too late. Let’s face it: both are bad. It’s all about querying at exactly the right time.

For some people, the excitement of the project gets them querying too soon. And how fun is it to rein in that excitement? Psht. Not nearly as fun as letting it roam free!

Others (*cough*ME*cough*) want to be completely prepared before querying. When you make a goal to constantly learn and improve your craft, it kind of also means that you can constantly do another round of revisions and apply what you’ve learned. If YOU are always getting better, you can always make YOUR BOOK better. Same goes with the query and the synopsis. Plus there’s platform. Agents like platform. Maybe you should spend more time on that...

So there’s this little dude on one shoulder. He says, “You don’t want to waste that ONE CHANCE you get to query an agent! What if the agent most perfect for you— the one who would totally get your book and be able to get it into the hands of the perfect editor— passes because even though it was SO CLOSE, it wasn’t all the way there?”

And you say, “I know, right?”

Then the dude on the other shoulder says, “Come on already! What are you waiting for? The stars to align? All the fear of not being 100% ready to just disappear? Someone to kick you in the hind end? YOU have to kick you in the hind end!”

You sigh and say, “I know, right?”

Have you ever felt that way? Where do you stand— haven’t queried yet, queried early, queried late, or queried right on time?

Got any fears? Gems of wisdom? Please share!


Jayne said...

Love your pictures on this post! I have definitely queried way too early in the past. I think everyone does, at some point. Enthusiasm and hope just take over. But that is why it is so important to take a step back, put the m/s down for a while, and then return with fresh eyes.

I'm building up to query again but it'll take a while - possibly September, I think. Still got some work to do. :)

Jessie Humphries said...

I queried too soon. I laugh/scoff at myself in retrospect. Starry-eyed lunatic!

Barbara Kloss said...

Gosh, I can SO relate! The problem is, I usually realize I'm not ready until after I've already queried :D Hence, querying in batches.

But it's soooo hard to know when we're ready because we are always improving!

Francesca Zappia said...

ARgggh >< Querying too early...It'll be the death of me. But I always feel like if I don't just get out there and query, I'll never stop revising.

And I just had that super-close-call-but-no-cigar with an agent recently--she said she was really close to asking for a full draft, but my characterization wasn't strong enough. Half an hour later I'd revised it so it was much better, but the moment was gone.

Maeve Frazier said...

It is such a struggle to decide when is the right time. I have been both early and too late. I chalk it up to practice and keep going. I guess the wrong thing would be to not query at all. It is nice to know that we are all traveling the same road. Let's hope their are ribbons waiting at the end for us to wrap ourselves up in.

p.s. I really enjoyed reading your blog, you have a lot of great reading here. Great posts! (Thanks for your kind comments on my blog and for stopping by. If you hadn't I might have missed out on catching up with yours.)

Leigh Ann said...

I officially have QUERY. FEVER.

I seriously think I'm going to need to put my MS on a flash drive in a safe somewhere an hour away to prevent myself from taking it out of the drawer too early. I still can't bring myself on to close the document on my desktop, but the only tweaks I'm making at this point are changing "Shrugged" to "smiled" or "He wove his fingers through her hair" to "He laced her fingers through her hair."

Time to put it down and take a deep breath. But I feel like if I don't query now, I'll keep tweaking FOREVER.

Thanks for the post. Nice to know we're in this together. :)

Hannah Hounshell said...

Haven't queried at all yet. I want to at least be starting the last book in my trilogy before I send out the first one to agents.

Hopefully I'll be a little less nervous by then. Or, you know, maybe not :)

Michelle Fayard said...

Timing truly is everything. I’d like to think that pursuing a career as a published author teaches us a lot about how to have a happier life in all respects, because of the lessons in timing it brings. However, it hasn’t completely taught me how to not feel as if I have to have things all figured out before I jump. :)

P.S. I’m a new follower!

Lani Wendt Young said...

I was spoilt/fortunate that my first book was written on commission so i didnt need to worry abt queries or even whether or not it would ever be published. For me it was a writer's dream come true in the sense that I got paid to write fulltime for a year. Now, I've finished my first YA fiction book and I really had to psyche myself up to enter the querying waters. I keep my rejection letters in a special file and look forward to the day when i will have a ceremonial burning of them all LOL. Now Im in the waiting phase which is worse than the querying i reckon. The publisher has the full manuscript and is taking aaaaaaages to burst my bubble/make my YA fiction dreams come true.
Every phase of the writing and publishing phase has its own unique frustrations i guess.

Peggy Eddleman said...

Jayne-- It's too bad all that enthusiasm and hope can be a downfall, huh? Good luck getting your ms ready to query!

Jessie-- Ahh, Jessie. Your eyes have that starry sparkle all the time! It's part of what makes your picture look like a model's.

Barbara-- I am so with you! I have a really hard time telling when. Query batches are a godsend!

Francesca-- Aaagh! See that's why I have such a hard time knowing when to stop revising!

Maeve-- I love that we are all traveling the same road! It's so nice to travel it with others. And thanks for your kind words!

Leigh Ann-- I think I could tweak forever, too! We should join the Quit Tweaking and Start Querying support group. I'll be treasurer. Wait. That's the person who puts things in a vault and lets them sit there forever, right? Maybe treasurer isn't the best idea....

Hannah-- Wow! That's some major patience waiting to finish an entire trilogy! Good luck on the nervousness. :)

Michelle-- Welcome! I LOVE new followers! I love to have all things figured out before I jump, too. Good thing writing teaches us such patience, right?

Lani-- That is AMAZING! First book on commission? That pretty much NEVER happens. I mean, I already thought you were cool (btw, your blog completely cracks me up), but that threw you into the "beyond cool" category. Good luck on the waiting for ages. I hope the publisher makes all of your YA Fiction Dreams come true!!

Kaylee Baldwin said...

I sat on my query for forever before getting the guts to send it out. Your thoughts were exactly what I had. I psyched myself up a bunch, sent out my queries, and am now just waiting to hear back.

Chantele Sedgwick said...

I thought I queried too soon, but I think I queried at the right time. You never know. You'll always have doubts when you query. Just make sure everything is polished to the best of your ability and things will work out when they should! :)

Peggy Eddleman said...

Kaylee-- Yay! I hope you hear lots and lots of great things back!

Chantele-- I think I'll do that. :)