Wednesday, June 1, 2011

When a Query Quits

I’ve never consciously stopped querying one of my projects.  It’s something that just kind of happened with each one over time.  I queried my first book pretty widely.  I must've hit up about a hundred agents.  I got seven or eight requests that never led anywhere before I moved on and wrote my second book, consequently placing my first ms on the shelf.

Then I wrote the contemporary romance and only queried that for a month or two because I felt it wasn't 'the one'.  It had been a lot of fun to write and was a great exercise in everything I'd learned but it still wasn't ready so I only sent out about twenty queries for that and had about three requests that didn't go anywhere.

I finished FOSSEGRIM and started querying it in October.  I've sent out around 80 queries and have had seven requests which resulted in rejections.  I didn’t think I’d give up with this one because I really felt like it was ready and just needed to find the right person.  

However, now that my new YA romance is underway I’ve pretty much stopped querying FOSSEGRIM without realizing it.  I sent out the last query over a month ago and since then I haven’t been actively seeking representation for it.  I do plan on querying agents with my new project when it’s ready, though. 

So, I guess I’ve decided to move on.  But that doesn’t mean I’m giving up on FOSSEGRIM all together.

I’ve done a lot of thinking about what I can do with FOSSEGRIM.  It was originally meant to be a trilogy- each book told through the eyes of one of the main characters.  And after doing research on the new trends in Ebooks, self publishing and Epublishing- I’m thinking FOSSEGRIM would be a good fit for that route and will begin looking into it soon.

When do you finally stop querying agents with a project and why?

33 comments:

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Something I did was continuously revise my work -- especially the opening chapter -- every time I got a query rejection with a grain of feedback in it. A lot of the feedback spoke to voice and connection to the main character (something you pointed out to me about that first chapter, too). It took a lot of time and fiddling to get it to a point where I finally got it right (for an agent).

Whether it is right for an editor remains to be seen. There may be more fiddling to come.

So, to answer your question, I haven't given up on a project yet. I just keep adapting the project.

I still like Gretchen Gray, btw ...

Old Kitty said...

As I've not got to the querying stage as yet, all I can offer are a great big hug and the really positive hope that your Fossegrim and your new project will see the publishing light of day!!! Yes they will! Take care
x

Read my books; lose ten pounds! said...

Uggg, just self publish it! LOL.

Sarah said...

I stopped querying my first project when I got really excited about my next project, and that ended up being the one that got me rep. If you go the self-pub route, I'll be so interested to hear about how it goes! But also--if you get rep for your new project, your agent is going to want to know what else you have, and FOSSEGRIM might have to come off the shelf (unless you self-pub, that is).

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I usually get so excited with my new project (which I believe is better than the old one) that I forget to querying to other one. With STILL, I had planned to keep querying it until I had gone through the list of agents, but after some feedback, decided to stop querying it and revisit it in the fall. I was getting a really good request rate, but I knew I had it in my to make it better.

But with Sit D, I will be querying it to the end (unless I forget to send out queries).

Slamdunk said...

Though not a writer, my wife has to go through a similar process in submitting manuscripts and suffering rejections. She told me yesterday that she had an idea for a revise and resubmit (a document that had been rejected multiple times), but then remember she got frustrated with that project and in a moment of anger trashed part of the study. She vows never to completely give up on a project a again.

Laura Pauling said...

I always stop querying if I know my story needs some rewrites which will happen after 7 or 8 form rejections. Even if it's just the first chapter. Or sometimes I knew my project wasn't ready, my writing wasn't ready and I stopped after 1 query. But I wouldn't be against self publishing in the future with the right manuscript. I'd probably write the sequel first so I could release them somewhat close together.

Anne Gallagher said...

I have around 30 agents that take both contemporary and historical romance along with women's fiction. That's what I write so that's who I send it to.

Funny thing, when I gave up on my women's fiction (89 days into last batch of queries I sent out) I got a request for a partial. And that 90 days is coming up June 4.

When I got that request, I had already sent out a batch of queries on my second historical and 19 came back rejected on the query, and one partial.

So now I have two partials out on two different books. And I'm just waiting. If nothing happens with either one, the historicals are definately going the e-pub route. Absolutely without a doubt the first one will be ready to go by the end of the summer (if not sooner). I'm not waiting for New York anymore.

Matthew MacNish said...

I still haven't given up on my first novel, but it's different because I made it take so much more work than it needed to. I don't think there's anything wrong with shelving something temporarily. Once you're published it should get much easier.

Emily White said...

I think it's so exciting that you're planning on self-publishing FOSSEGRIM!

I've only ever queried two projects before and I quit the process for two different reasons. The first one I quit because I was so absolutely new to the process, with no support from friends or knowledge of the industry, that I just couldn't stand the rejections anymore. I didn't know what I was doing wrong and I didn't have the strength to continue.

The second project I quit querying because I decided I wanted to try publishing it myself. I knew so much more about the industry and I really felt I knew enough to go it alone.

When you get ready to publish FOSSEGRIM, let me know! I'd love to help out in any way I can!

Kelly said...

When I first started writing, I submitted picture books directly to publishers. Some had interest, but no sales came about . I did shelve those but I am hoping temporarily!
And yes, the trend of epublishing makes me think that my work will hopefully be out there one day with or without an agent.
Good luck to you!

Gina said...

Hmmm... when I manage to write a query that doesn't sound like it was written by a ten year old, and then start sending it out... I'll let you know when I stop!

Carolyn Abiad said...

I take query vacations. Step away from the send button and look at my ms again, check the query, etc. Self-publishing is always in the back of my mind, but I'm not ready to try it yet.

Let us know how everything goes - we're all ears!

mshatch said...

I'm not sure if I ever really 'quit' but I've definitely put queries aside. I'm currently working on revising something I wrote a while back after which I plan on querying it again. I, too, will be interested to hear about any foray you make into the world of self-publishing.

Liz Fichera said...

If you believe and love your project, don't stop querying--or figuring out a way to get it published. Trends/likes change; agents change. Editors change. Every day.

Sean Thomas Fisher said...

I stopped querying agents when they started laughing at my query. Then I e-pubbed and, after selling upwards of 6 copies, now I'm the one doing all the laughing.

Carolyn V said...

I stop querying my first book when I realized it wasn't the one. I wrote three in-between and now I feel like the ms I'm working on is agentable. I hope.

I still don't know what to think of the e-publishing. It seems to be the rage now.

April said...

That's exactly what happens to me. I'll be really good about querying, query a bunch. Then, I get started on a new project and get excited and almost forget to keep querying the old one.

I don't mind though. I can always go back and query again.

*sigh*

Something I need to do, actually.

Jennifer said...

I think self publishing is a good idea! Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Oh, this is a question I am struggling with right now. To stop or to continue...that is the question. When I figure it out, I'll be better able to answer the question. :-)

Cynthia Lee said...

I've been thinking of self-publishing my first book as well. I'm still querying (because I'm stubborn like that) but I don't hold out a lot of hope for it. It doesn't fit into the current trends AT ALL.

I hope you do self-publish Fossegrim because than I can read it real soon and not have to wait for God Knows How Long.

Talli Roland said...

It's a strange one, isn't it? I think I stopped because I just felt something wasn't right. That probably means I shouldn't have started querying in the first place!

Aubrie said...

I'm like you: I sent a hundred or so before I turned to ebook publishing. I stopped querying after a number of them looked at it then rejected it. I felt like it had it's chance and I had to move on.

It took four books before I found Dawn Dowdle, and I'm very happy with her as my agent.

Hope this is helpful! And hope you can go see POTC 4!! Tell your husband there's lots of guy action in it.

Candyland said...

I'm with Dianne. I keep revising the same story because the OCD in me can't let go of it, despite the MANY rejections.

Lindsay said...

I'm a bit like Dianne and Candace, I'd probably go back and revise the same story. That said, I didn't send many queries out on my first project, but I started on my new one and decided to 'rest' it. LOL.

Tamara Narayan said...

Querying takes so much energy and fortitude that I've scaled way back. I want to focus on the next project for a while, but will still send out the occasional query.

Nahno McLein said...

Writing the book is hard enough, why do they have to let us go through all these queries. I guess it's natural, but still ...
Nahno ∗ McLein

Meredith said...

I've only queried one book, and I stopped querying after about 25 because I wanted to revise it. I think it's just one of those gut things.

B.E. Sanderson said...

Sometimes I query until the rejections get me so down I can't bear to send another one. Sometimes I quit querying because I finished a different book and it's so new and shiny I can 't help myself. And then I see an agent listing that makes me think I should start querying the original book again. The last time that happened, I got a request for partial (that I'm waiting for a reply on.) =o)

Eric W. Trant said...

I thought the rule-of-thumb was to query one large pub house and get a rejection, and then flame them online for all eternity and stop writing and blame it on the rejection.

Never stop, is my answer. Your fifth book may land big, and then the first four might not look so suckerish.


I will say this: KEEP WRITING!

Too many writers get hooked on one book and keep querying it. Try a few, and go on to the next and next and next. Keep at it. You'll hit eventually.

- Eric

Jo Schaffer said...

I'm the same way and I too have been following epub and authors who have done it. Looking better all of the time. (=

Catherine A. Winn said...

I'm still querying the second one I finished, rewrote, finished again for the third year. I'm about to give up after the last response from this batch. It's tough out there but I'm busy working on my newest WIP so hope does spring eternal that one of them makes it. I wish you the very best:)

Bekah Snow said...

That's a hard decision to make, when to quit querying. I did tht with a previous novel when I received little feedback and no request. One agent finally replied that they loved the query and pages, but it wasn't going to be sellable in the market. OUCH! I haven't sent another query on it and moved on.

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