Novel Update: The Agent Query Process

July 11, 2010

Other than the rejection I mentioned previously, I haven’t heard any responses from the agents I queried. I did some more research on agents that might be a good fit for me and sent out a few more queries.

I find the agent querying process to be incredibly emotionally draining. First, researching agents involves lots of meticulous, detail-oriented work which is the kind of thing I absolutely hate. I tend to be a “big picture” guy, so tracking down details like agents who represent authors with books similar to mine,┬átheir genre preferences preferences, their submission guidelines, etc., is very tiring. This is exactly the kind of task that an assistant would be great for, but aspiring writers don’t have assistants.

Second, sending query letters to agents triggers a lot of my social anxieties. Meeting new people always puts me on edge, talking about myself always makes me feel self-conscious, and I always feel awkward when I initiate a conversation. Query letters roll all of that that into one horrible package. Hooray! I’ve been employing the irrational anxiety coping mechanisms of delay and avoidance very generously, which means the sources of the anxiety end up hanging over my head for extended periods, drawing out the discomfort for maximum effect. Intellectually I know that just getting them over with will be easier, but the rational brain isn’t the part that controls motivation.

Third, while rejections hurt, lack of response is soul crushing. I haven’t had much response to the queries I’ve sent, and I imagine that’s going to be par for the course. Having outstanding queries makes every day an opportunity to build up my hopes and not get them fulfilled. Not getting closure on these queries is difficult. (It probably doesn’t help that the other creative project I’m working on, my tabletop RPG, is similarly stuck while I try to drum up interest from playtesters).

I also need to start digging into the editing on my second novel, but I’m having a hard time getting motivated for that. The first hot weather of the summer hit Eugene this week, and getting motivated in the heat is even harder than usual. To be honest, I mostly need to stop making excuses and get to work.