Querying – The Waiting Game

I’m an impatient person.  I admit it.  I’ve always been like this.  I want results and I want them now.  So the querying for an agent process has been rather frustrating for me.  It’s a waiting game; the game nobody really likes to play.

Here’s the conundrum:  You send out a bunch of queries to carefully selected literary agents and, if you’re lucky, you get a few requests for partial and full manuscripts.  Now the waiting starts, and here’s the problem:  You want a quick response (a positive response, of course), but a quick response isn’t always a good sign.  In fact, unless you’re truly the next J.K. Rowling, a quick response usually bodes ominous.  After all, even a speedy reader needs a couple of days to read and process a novel, especially one he likes — and that’s if the reader doesn’t have a large queue of books to get through and other important deadlines to meet.

As we all know, the literary agent has piles of slush to sift through; and, frankly, that full or partial manuscript is part of that slush.  Therefore, it seems counterproductive to be impatient during this process.

Slower Turnaround = Higher Probability of Positive Response

Faster Turnaround = Higher Probability of Negative Response

So I guess what I’m saying is this:  I’m going to take a deep breath and take a yoga class.  Or maybe a valium.  Yeah, I think valium might be the answer.

And so far as those rejections go?  Author Extraordinaire, Lorna Landvik, told me that she received dozens upon dozens upon dozens of rejection letters before finally getting an agent for her first novel.  About the query process, she said:

“I decided I wasn’t going to take ‘no’ as a final answer until it was my ‘no.’  This is the truth:  you’re the one who decides when you’re done.”
I have to wonder where readers like me would be today without the struggle and perseverance of authors like Landvik.

P.S. If you don’t know who Lorna Landvik is, you should check out her website: Lorna Landvik’s Website.  I’m particularly partial to her novels Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons and Oh My Stars.  Both novels are drastically different, and you might even wonder if it’s the same author.  She’s talented, funny, and insanely versatile.  Check her out!

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