Editing / Querying / Writing

To Query or Not to Query

Before I start Tuesday’s Topic, I have some business to take care of.  I’ve made a few changes to the website that I wanted everyone to know about.  First, I changed the “About Me” page to a “Contact Me” page.  If you go to that page, you’ll see a contact form.  So if you have a comment that you don’t want other viewers to see, use the contact form to email me privately.  Also, for anyone who doesn’t already know, I’ve added a subscription link in the right-hand margin of the site.  So if you want to receive my posts in email form (or RSS form), click on the link and sign up!  It’s an easy way of getting updates if you don’t feel like visiting the site all the time.  

Moving on.  My post today is more of a personal plea for help than an objective discussion (although now that I think of it, maybe none of my discussions are objective).  Well, maybe someone besides myself will gain insight from my ordeals, who knows.  

Ever since May, my plan was to have my novel critiqued in June and July.  Then I would edit/revise based on the suggestions and feedback of my test-readers.  I would finish editing in August, and by September I’d be querying agents.  

Now it’s September 9th, and I’m still editing.  Theoretically, I could finish edits in the next couple weeks and still be able to query by the end of September.  But of course, I have to go and throw a monkey wrench in my plans.

I want to write Book 2.  I need to write Book 2.  I gave in to the need on Saturday and wrote the opening page.  For the past few weeks, I’ve been struggling to think of the perfect first line.  I knew what the opening scene would be, but I couldn’t find the right wording.  Saturday the first line finally clicked, and I was happy with it.  I jotted down the line so I wouldn’t forget it… but I just kept writing until I had ten or so paragraphs.  Man, that felt good.  I love writing a first draft–I think it’s my favorite part of the novel-writing process.  But that’s a topic for another day.  

I’ve really missed the raw-creation part of writing.  Editing is bringing me down.  And even though I’d been looking forward to again doing NaNoWriMo (November is National Novel Writing Month–see the resources page for more info), I really think I need to start writing in October this year.  I want to start October 1st and keep writing until it’s done.  If I shoot for 2000 words a day, I could finish by Thanksgiving (or even sooner, depending on the length of the manuscript) and then have a break for the holidays.  That would be sweet indeed.  

The problem is, I need to finish Book 1 edits and outline for Book 2 if I’m going to start writing October 1st. So if I’m doing all that, there’s no way I can query in September.  I can’t even query in October, because writing will take up every spare moment.  Now, I know there are authors who query/propose/submit/edit while writing a new project at the same time.  However, I have not yet reached that level of multitasking.  I have maybe three hours of free time a day, tops.  I can either write, edit, query, or read.  If I have a word goal, I can’t do anything else in that free time or I won’t reach my goal for the day.  I’m a slow writer (or anal, however you want to think of it).  

When I do decide to query, it’s going to be time-consuming for me, because I’ll be trying to make each letter perfect.  Each agent has specific guidelines/rules, and I want to add a personal touch to each letter.  Plus I want to make a spreadsheet that shows each agent, when I queried, when I expect a response, etc etc.  I don’t want to be worrying about responses while I’m trying to write Book 2. 

You might be thinking, “Hello, dork, why don’t you just query now and write Book 2 later?  What’s the point of writing Book 2 if no one wants to buy Book 1??”  Fair question.  I have several answers, most of them involving my naivety and stubbornness:  1)  I’ve only written one book.  I need to prove to myself that I can write another one before I try to sell the first one.  2)  Book 2 is closely related to Book 1; it starts a couple days after #1 ends.  Originally, I thought I would fit all the material into one book… until I reached 100K words and was only halfway through the story.  I want to write Book 2 to see if I need to change anything in #1.  I don’t have any experience in writing a series… or books at all, for that matter.  Who knows where Book 2 will lead me, and how that will affect Book 1.  3)  If I don’t write Book 2 in October, I won’t have time to write it until January.  That’s how crazy December is for me.  To be honest, I don’t think I can wait until January.  I want to write it now.  4)  Querying will be very stressful for me, and I don’t want to try writing and querying at the same time.  On the slim chance that I quickly found an agent who wanted to read the entire manuscript, I want that manuscript to be based on the knowledge I gained from writing Book 2.  

I know finding an agent can take a long time.  And even with an agent, the publishing industry can also take a long time.  But there are rare instances where it can all happen very fast.  I’m not ready for very fast.  I’m not even ready for slow.  I just don’t feel right sending out Book 1 without first finishing Book 2.  

But of course, now I feel like a hypocrite for telling all my friends and family that I would query in September.  So here’s your chance to talk me out of my craziness.  Should I query now or wait until Book 2 is finished?  Is there such a thing as a “good time to query?”  Like a certain month that agents get fewer queries and are more likely to consider mine?  🙂  I’d greatly appreciate any advice/opinions/suggestions.  I’ll even accept statements like, “You are a dork.”  LOL.  Thanks in advance for those.  🙂  Hopefully I’ll have good news to report on Friday!

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3 thoughts on “To Query or Not to Query

    • Some time has passed since I wrote this blog post, and now I know how it feels to send out queries. My advice: finish book 1, send out queries, and start on a new book UNRELATED TO YOUR SERIES. If you’re invested in a different project, it won’t hurt so much if you get rejections. Plus, you don’t want to spend any more time in that series unless you find out you can sell it. If you get an agent for Book 1, then by all means, go back to your series and write Book 2. But if you have another book under your belt, agents and editors will be even more interested in you. They’ll know you can write and sell more than the one series.

      Just my opinion of course, but I hope it helps. Good luck!

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