The Learning Process of Querying

In the beginning of the submission process we all feel the charge of sending our babies out into the world for the love and adoration they so deserve. But then the clock starts to tick and the second guessing begins. Days pass, then weeks, sometimes even months. That's when you really start to wonder about how well you edited your work. Hopefully this doesn't happen to you but chances are high that it will with your first book.

The good news is, you're not alone. Most of us don't edit our first book well enough because we haven't figured out quite how. It gets easier with each book as long as you keep learning about the craft of writing and push yourself to get better. Use critique groups, buy books on the craft of writing, or attend classes or retreats. The waiting is terrible and it's best to use your time to learn and improve.

Rejections will most likely start coming in after you've been waiting for a while, or even right away sometimes. Don't let that get you down either. Learn what you can from each rejection. Some will be form rejections. Don't look into them too much. A form rejection usually means your book wasn't what they were looking for, plain and simple.

I love detailed rejections because they really tell me where I need to improve my novel. Be careful with those though. Remember that everyone's opinion is different and just because one agent or editor didn't like something about your novel doesn't mean the next one won't love it. Get second and third opinions before making changes. Share the letter with those whose opinion you're seeking, see if they agree or disagree. Weigh all the opinions and reasons for them then make your decision.

Want more advice on querying? Check out this guest post on Chuck Sambuchino's (Writer's Digest) blog.


  1. Heather,

    It is always good to know what to expect when querying. Thanks for this post.

  2. Wise words, Heather. Querying is tough. Resilience and a willingness to keep learning and improving -- excellent mantra. That can never really be reinforced enough -- thank you!

  3. Good advice! Always stay positive and look on the bright side. Every bit of feedback you get is like gold and even if you don't end up using it, you know that the time the agent or editor took to write it means they saw something worthwhile in your writing.

  4. You're welcome Jessica. I'm glad it helped!

  5. You're welcome Linda. Thank you! I'm glad it was encouraging. We must always seek to improve and keep are hands from being idle. ;-)

  6. Absolutely Lisa! I love how you put that, 'feedback is like gold'. It truly is. The hard part can be determining which pieces of it to use, but then that's part of the fun of the craft!


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