I write stuff for kids...and muse on writing, children's books, and the publishing industry in general

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The sad tale of a little green-eyed monster named Queryenvy...

It's rather sneaky, and has been creeping up on me over the last month or so, but I'm sorry to say that a little green-eyed monster named Queryenvy has just tapped me on the shoulder and scared the living daylights out of me!

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To make a sad tale short (which is probably a good thing for those of you suffering through it), near the end of last year I looked at my WIP and predicted I would be finished my revisions by mid-January, and I'd therefore be able to start querying at the end of January. Um...*looks at calendar*...that date has come and gone, and I'm still not happy with my WIP, and I actually think the amount of revisions still needed will take months rather than days! *takes a deep breath*

Enter the little critter!


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The Collins English Dictionary defines "envy" as "a feeling of grudging or somewhat admiring discontent aroused by the possessions, achievements, or qualities of another." (My edits, yeah, I think that's about it!).
  
I want to be querying, you see, and I'm a teensy bit envious of my fabulous critique partners and blogging friends who have dived (or are about to dive) into the query pool. Admittedly, I'm bringing it on myself (I want my WIP to be the best it can be, of course), but I did want to be able to write "Started Querying in January" on my list of achievements for 2011.

*sighs*

How about you: Are you querying? Would you rather be querying, but are holding yourself back until you know you're ready (and how do you know that anyway)? Did you ever query too early?

62 comments:

Rachel Morgan said...

Querying? Um, no.
Loooong way to go still, I think!

Megan K. Bickel said...

I queried too early on my first picture book. Then I queried too much with my second. Now I'm taking it SUPER slow with #3. Made myself do an exclusive submission just to force myself to take it slow!

Rachel Morgan said...

Oh, and PS. Congrats for passing 300 followers!

DL Hammons said...

I'm where you are...almost exactly! *sigh*

salarsenッ said...

Congrats on the followers. I've recently queried a few. Had some requests, but no takers just yet. It's really weird. I've come close over the last month of signing two different times, but it didn't work out. Now I'm skittish to query anymore. (I'm toast, right now.) LOL

Kristina Fugate said...

I feel the same way right now. I told myself, "Okay! You'll be ready to query by the first of February!" Annnnd, no. The first rolls around and I'm STILL not happy with my WIP.

Devin Bond said...

Waaaaay too soon for me to even think about querying. But, feeling you with the green-eyed monster! He's vicious!

gideon 86 said...

CONGRATS on the300, Rach!

I queried my first novel WAY too soon and was rejected some thirty time. It's been a year and a half, and I'm still working on edits. I should be finished in the next week or so and ready to jump back in again.

However, my second complete novel is ready to query. I hadn't started yet. It's in a different genre than my first, so I need to research a bit for the right agent.

I'm scared. I never feared with the first, but I have so much hope for this ms, if it get shot down right away, I will freak.

The joys of being a writer.... Right?

Good luck with the edits, Rach.... Don't worry about your envy, you'll be way too busy to think about it now the the CRUSADE has started.

Michael

Zan Marie said...

Rach, I'm with you, but my wip is way, far behind yours. I'm just trying for a First Draft by the end of March or April. Not going to make it. Sigh. You are so much closer. Just keep going.

Jess said...

The fact that you're waiting for your manuscript to actually be query-worthy means that you'll be getting a much better result once you start. Hang in there honey, and good for you for keeping high standards!

Trisha Leaver said...

Ahh query-hell. I remember those days. I am sitting right right there with you, staring at a date I set to have my revisions done. Eight days away and no way am I going to make it! Hang in there; your ms will me better, your request rate higher for taking the time to polish you it.

Claire Gregory said...

Hey Rach- I live in fear that I'll never, never finish fiddling with my story. And when I say fiddling, I mean wholesale scrapping more than half of it and rewriting. I've done that at least three times last year, so this year I told myself I'd stick with what I had and call it finished by March 31st.

Nice theory, except what I had didn't cut it :( So back to the drawing board, and time to scrap a little more, write a little more. The good thing is, I'm accumulating so many scraps, I've almost got myself a patchwork quilt :)

You'll get there sooner than you realise- this I know by watching my own awesome critique partners race on ahead in their own time.

Elena Solodow said...

I'm currently querying - and don't worry, agents will still be here when you're ready. There would be nothing worse for you right now than to get a ton of rejections because your manuscript is not ready.

Tracy said...

As someone who's currently querying. . . I say, enjoy the time where the only thing you're obsessing over is the manuscript. When you start querying then you have to worry about the quality of the freaking query as WELL as the manuscript. And, if/when you receive rejections trying to figure out which part of the equation isn't working.

It's a whole nother level of frustration, so don't be too envious about not being there just yet.

Melissa Gill said...

I'm not querying at the moment, but bravo to you for waiting. There's just no point in querying too early, and as a matter of fact, I think it can hurt your chances.

I can't say that I really feel envy for those people who are querying. I am more likely to envy the people who have queried and immediately gotten multiple requests for fulls, which rapidly turn into numerous offers of representation.

Pk Hrezo said...

Eww... don't envy this hell, sista. LOL! Remember, with the queries come rejections. And it's a challenging time for a writer. I've just begun my queries for my newest ms. And, of course, the rejections are already rolling in.

Just think, the more time you spend on perfecting your ms, the better quality it will be, and hopefully it will mean less rejectins. :)

Bluestocking said...

Ugg. I queried too early - just three agents - but it was enough to make me retrench and rethink my strategy. Add in two critique partners, some agent/editor feedback, and lots of revisions, I'm more optimistic for the next query-go-round whenever that may be. But I've learned you just can't rush the process. Best of luck as you push through your revisions!

Angela Scott said...

You'll know when you're ready. Don't query until you feel you've edited your face off and you feel good with the results.

It's much better to query a MS that's near golden than one that it closer to brown (if you catch my drift)*wink. wink*

J.L. Campbell said...

There's a blessing in here somewhere. At least you have the wisdom to know that you're not quite ready to query. I wish I had been that wise when I wrote my first couple of queries. Hang in there, you'll get it done at the right time and not a moment before.

Happily Cheesy said...

Ha ha! I don't feel a book is seasoned enough to sit in front of other faces until it's at least a few years old. Really, the more time you give yourself, the better because that subconscious is not going to stop editing and refining while your mind is elsewhere. Good luck!

Arlee Bird said...

I still need to finish the WIP that I was hoping to be polishing up by now.

I sent an email to the address you show in "Contact Me". Did you receive it?

Lee
Tossing It Out

Carrie said...

Yes! I have total queryenvy! I have queried too early in the past though, and I really regretted it because I knew that I could make the book better. I was just too impatient to figure out how!

Hart Johnson said...

Have you queried before? This is NOT, I repeat NOT a situation to envy. It is painful, horrible, awful and... did I say painful? It is possibly one of the WORST experiences you will have as a writer. You will make MISTAKES. You will be MOCKED by form rejections (everyone is--that is no statement on your book or queryiing skills, though changes are your querying skills will suck, unless you are in a very tiny minority of first time queriers...)

I just have my fingers crossed when this edit is done that my Cozy Agent is interested in also taking on my suspense career.

Elizabeth Briggs said...

I planned to query on January 5th and I'm still editing, so I know exactly how you feel. I am so close I can feel it, but not there yet.

Marieke said...

So... am I really the only one who enjoys querying?! :-o :-D

Liz said...

Yeah, I understand. I wish my wip was ready. I've been working on it for so long... And then I reread it and realized that it needed way more work...

I'm with you. I know exactly how you feel.

Adina West said...

You (and your MS) WILL get there in the end. And as many commenters have said, querying is its own minefield, one you really don't want to rush into unprepared...

jbchicoine said...

I have queried too early in the past, and every time I send out a query on a project, and get rejections (loads of them, even though I also get requests [and subsequent rejections]) I wonder if I've done it again.

Querying is fun, in a way, but it's mostly nerve wracking, so enjoy the excitement of anticipation while it is just that...

Best wishes on your querying though :)

Rusty Webb said...

I'm at a point now where I am almost ready to begin querying. I've been milking this same novel for the last five years (deleting, rewriting, starting over, etc.) and I either need to shelve it or move on. I don't know how much more I can do to it.

So, we'll see. The goal I had for myself was to have my WIP all ready to go by the end of March. So I'll continuing revising until then.

Heather Hellmann said...

I plan to start sending out queries in April. We'll see if that happens :)

Nicole Zoltack said...

I did query too early and that just makes a a hard enough task damn near impossible. I'm not query yet, but I hope to be in a few months!

Beth Elisa said...

I just completed my query - it was more difficult than writing the bloody MS! I've been working on it for months and months, and finally got the "direction" in my half-sleep state...you know the drill, keeping the pen and pad next to bed...I'm almost there!

kangaroobee said...

You're always giving out hugs so *hugs* back for once. I agree with the high standards comment, you've got to ignore what everyone else is doing. Even in the picture book world it seems like everyone is subbing, I am more than happy to bide my time this year. Do you have something fun you could write on the side so you're not just editing, like a pb or a poem or two?

Amanda Milner said...

Not. Even. Close. So you can go ahead and say: At least I'm not like Amanda who hasn't even finished her first draft! Lol! And don't you worry, you're manuscript will be perfection when it is ready to query!

Amanda Milner said...

Ooh! And 333 followers! Awesome!!

Charlotte Rains Dixon said...

I'm querying. My novel is with two agents and since I've been waiting forever to hear from them I compiled a list of 20 new agents to send it to. But, as some of the commenters have pointed out, querying is its own little hell, because then you have to steel yourself for rejections.

Kari Marie said...

If there is one thing that writing has taught me - it's be patient. I'm a long way from querying as well and i have to stop myself everytime I want to distract myself with learning more about the process. I need to have a finished first draft first, otherwise I'll spend too long writing my query letters and researching agents.

Jayne said...

Don't be fooled by query envy! But do listen to your ms - if your gut tells you your story isn't ready then it really isn't. There is nothing worse than querying too early - I've done it before and back sailed my queries - only later did I see where I had gone wrong. Querying is a long old process anyway - the best thing you can do for your lovely story is make sure it is armed by being the best it can be before you send it out to do battle. You'll get there! :)

Rachel Firasek said...

I absolutely queried too soon with Passion of the Soul, but after about 12 quick rejections, I realized that not only was my query crap, but my story needed another revision too. This was May. In Nov, after much work, it sold. I feel your pain!

Shelley Batt said...

I'm in the same boat as you but further behind. My CPs are all about to query and I'm still working on my rough draft. I've had to start over a few times because it needed it. Now I just dream of finishing the rough draft. The good news (as of right now) I'm really excited about finishing it this time. All the pieces finally fit together:)

Janet Johnson said...

I'm on the verge . . . I just need to hone that letter. I'm putting it off, and I just need to scold myself and DO IT!

Thanks for the reminder that being ready to query is a good thing.

Helen Ginger said...

Definitely wait until you feel for sure your book is ready. Querying too soon can be disastrous. Agents will remember.

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

I'd be glad to finish my WIP and get to the point where I was revising - even that would be huge! So at least your way ahead of some of us, if that makes you feel any better :)

Kristen Callihan said...

Querying is both exciting... oh, the possibilities! and gut wrenching... oh, the rejection!! I queried too soon at one point, and kicked myself for doing so. :)

Su said...

I'm a long way away. Also, I thought you were already one of my followers. *confused* But hey, welcome aboard regardless. :)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I've definitely queried too early. But I spent the last year doing major rewrites and am now getting requests.

Don't be jealous. Some days I'd rather be where you are. Okay, I kind of am since I'm querying one project and editing other. My fear is that I'll be ready to query my current wip while I'm still querying the other one. ;)

chenoafawn said...

Only you know whether you're stalling out of fear or really aren't ready to submit. Unless you're using a pseudonym, you only get one shot at that first impression. Follow your instinct.

India Drummond said...

Jealousy is the enemy of EVERY writer! It's so hard when you see your friends getting nibbles when you've gotten none, or a publishing contract when you didn't think their book was that much better than yours.

Resist. We writers need each other, and someday that shoe is going to be on the other foot.

Have Mercy! Killer Reviews said...

I'm just now beginning a WIP. I have been telling myself for years I could do this but, to be honest, I'm scared of denial. I'm hoping to get past that.

Madeleine said...

I hope your patience pays off in the end. I'm not querying, I'm nowhere near it at the moment. I keep feeling off colour which doesn't help the writing or the blogging. Good luck :O)

Rachael Harrie said...

Thank you so much for your comments guys, it's wonderful to hear your thoughts and impressions of querying. I'm going to grit my teeth and take a deep breath, and just keep swimming...um...revising! I'm sure I'll be there before I know it.

For those of you who are in a similar position to me, I'm sending you lots of hugs. It's great to know I'm not alone in my journey.

For those of you who are currently querying, I'm thinking of you - may you receive lots of requests and useful feedback with any declines :)

For those of you who are still working on your MS, best of luck with the revisions. I know you can do it! *grins*

Hugs,

Rach

PJ Lincoln said...

I'm skipping the entire traditional publishing establishment and going straight to digital.

I'm publishing a few shorts to start and then a memoir later this year or early next.

I'm on the Joe Konrath side of the argument - I think the current traditional process is crumbling. While I understand that, most likely, I will never reach a vast audience this way, I'd still rather do it MY WAY (que up Frank Sinatra!)

LV said...

God -- there's so much research to be done before querying that you should make the most of having a little more time! Make an agents database. Colour code it. Buy stationary. (Any excuse to buy stationary!). Start drafting your query as you re-write and you're really inside your text.

I'm coming to the end of my querying journey; two agents have my manuscript and I'm waiting to hear back. I queried everyone I thought was worth doing so when that happened. If this doesn't work out then it's on to epubs (and finishing my new projects).

Querying is like a dragon -- it looks really cool until you get up close and then it just intermittently blows fire in your face.

Gina Blechman said...

I'm not as much envious of those querying as I am excited. I'm in the process of editing my novel for a 3rd time, and I have not queried yet. Now that I'm researching getting published, because I know that I'll definately be ready within the next few months, everytime I learn about the next step I'm like "OMG, I wanna do it NOW! Let's go, let's go, let's go!" And then I have to remind myself that A) I haven't finished with my editing and B) I haven't even finished researching the publishing process enough to start querying.

Lynda Young said...

Yep I once queried way too early -- impatient me -- I've learned to hold back and get it right first ;)

Beth Elisa said...

I posted this on my blog, but don't have many subscribers yet and didn't want the info to go to waste. Here it is!

The dreaded query letter. They are harder to write than the darn MS you've been slaving over for the better part of the year...or more. After commenting on Rachel's post, and because I'm at the query stage, I remembered some good links I had stashed. This one REALLY helped me get perspective, and I hope it helps you too. I've also read much about the don'ts of writing queries, and it seems people do silly things like comment on how the type of fiction they are writing is SO popular - stating the obvious or avoiding pitching the story. Grammar and spelling are also huge faux pas'. This is the big calling card for writers, so make sure it's perfect. Hope you find the info useful...I know I did!
http://www.charlottedillon.com/query.html

L'Aussie said...

Hello Rach. Hey, go easy on yourself. You've moved to another city, you've got family, you STARTED ANOTHER CRUSADE! How many hours are in your day?? Huh? When it comes query time, I'm sure you'll have a lot of help, all that good karma will come back on you.

Denise:)

WritingNut said...

I haven't started as yet, but I hope to soon! I've written the first (or 7th depending on how you look at it) draft of my query letter, and am already on pins and needles.

Rane said...

Hello Rach,

Am I sending out queries?? Not quite! lol (read what I am doing with my manuscript below)

I happened to see your comment at KayKay's corner about my upcoming event "Who Is Saint Giovanni?" I would love for you to stop by (thelitexpress.blogspot.com or whoissaintgiovanni.blogspot.com) to check it out! It should be very interesting to see what unfolds as soon as I begin posting the weekly installments! Good to meet you, and I am your newest follower! :-)

Carol Riggs said...

Goodness yes, I've queried too early. Live and learn. I've been querying agents for the past, oh, 1 1/2 years. For 4 diff novels.

I'm considering doing your Crusade too; saw it on Lynda Young's WIP It blogsite! :) Nice to meet you, and I LOVE your header!

Cherie Reich said...

I must admit I have a bit of Queryenvy too. I have friends who are querying or have queried. I have other friends that have novels that'll be published soon or recently published, and I look at my WiP and see them not being ready. I know they aren't ready, and I don't want to rush them, but I still want to be on the query hunt too. Personally, I still think it is best to get a project as near ready as you can before jumping in.

Regina said...

I haven't started Querying yet, but will soon. It is nerve racking indeed and I don't even know where to start. I guess it's a good thing that I will hopefully have a lot of crusaders to help me figure it all out! Thanks for your post.

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