Let’s Talk About Querying

Let’s Talk About Querying

The following blog post was originally written by K.C. Sherwood on June 6, 2013

Ah yes, the dreaded query letter. Pure, unadulterated torture. In my opinion, the whole querying process should be considered one of Dante’s circles of hell. But, if we want to go the traditional route, we all must go through it.

I’m currently on my second go around. My first was unsuccessful, so I ended up self-publishing, which was a great decision because the book ended up winning a few awards. But, with this second book, I’d still like to try the traditional route first, so I’ve been querying for a few months now.

All the memories of the first time around came rushing back immediately. It is a loooong, torturous process. You either get no response at all, or you get a “Dear Author,” letter. Let me just say that I completely understand both of these responses, or non-responses as I should say. I know agents are bombarded with hundreds of queries per day and they just can’t personally respond to everyone. It’s just the way it is and I accept that.

So, when I do get a personal response, I truly do appreciate it. Even when it’s a rejection.

I wanted to share this response I got the other day. Even though it’s a rejection, the agent took the time to read the sample pages and give me feedback. I was pretty bummed that she really seemed to like it, but didn’t think she could sell it. But, her comments really made me feel good and gave me hope that maybe someone else will pick it up. Here’s what she wrote:

Dear Ms. Sherwood,

Thank you for the opportunity to review MIDNIGHT AT MOONGLOW’S and for
your patience in awaiting a reply.

I enjoyed reading your sample pages and can sense that you have a fun
concept on your hands: wonderful world-building, a memorable cast of
characters, and an introduction that truly drew me into your story and
Casey’s unique abilities. I find your concept to be positively entrancing
and I enjoy how you can explore a variety of rich settings. Most
importantly, Casey really leaps off the page as a fully-fleshed character
and is a protagonist I think readers will latch on to.

Unfortunately, though there is much to admire, I just don’t live (sic) it enough to represent it in today’s competitive marketplace. This is just my
opinion, of course, and hopefully another agent will have another
perspective. I wish you the best of luck with MIDNIGHT AT MOONGLOW’S and
all your future literary adventures.

So, there you have it folks. For all you fellow new authors out there, here is a little bit of what you can expect. It’s a long, torturous process. There are highs and lows. You wait forever just to get nothing back. But, don’t ever give up! Your writing is the most important thing to you, right? So, keep going. Keep chugging along. And if it still doesn’t work? Self-publish and keep writing!

P.S. (with a wink and a smile) Don’t write a query letter as pictured above. Make sure it’s typed, clear, and concise.