Even though I have had many near misses with querying success and I could quite easily cover my writing desk (all sides) with rejections, I still enjoy the process of querying. It’s full of dramatic highs and lows. You form an unhealthy and obsessive relationship with your email in box, you work through your secret chocolate stash (which has taken you a good few months to accumulate) after pressing ‘send’ to the first agent, you’re a nightmare to live with and your pets avoid you for days. Querying tests your personal resilience and your patience. It can make you a stronger person (and reduce you to tears the next week) and one full request can make you feel like you are on top of the world. The rejections will sting, make you cry and perform sad creative dances in the kitchen whilst blubbering into your agitated cat’s fur.
What’s not to love about querying?
I believe the query process (sending out parts or all of your draft novel to literary agents in the hope one will love your work so much they offer representation) can be likened to riding a carousel at a fairground.
I would like to caveat that I know the fun doesn’t stop once you have had querying success. I also know there are other fairground rides which can be likened to going on submission, getting a book published and self-publishing a book. If anyone wants to suggest some examples please feel free to do so below.
Anyway, for the purpose of this post, here’s how the querying carousel works.
The querying carousel is something we all daydream about.
It’s a place where your wildest writer dreams can come true.
Some of us are lucky enough to ride the carousel once and find success.
Some of us have been on the carousel…a few times. Some of us feel like a permanent fixture.
Some of us are watching from the sidelines shouting encouragement to those riding.
Some of us are picking ourselves up after falling off the querying carousel.
Your draft book is your carousel horse.
There are so many of us riding horses on the querying carousel.
New riders and horses join the querying carousel each day and sadly there are riders who fall off their horses each day.
It is important our horses stand out from the crowd. They must look the part (polished, eye-catching and brilliant) and keep us in the saddle when the carousel ride speeds up.
Things to remember about the querying carousel:
- Sometimes your horse won’t standout from the crowd. Sometimes it won’t keep you in the saddle. That’s all part of the learning process.
- The important thing is you keep making sure your horse looks the best each time you ride and you get back on that horse after every fall.
- There will always be better riders than you. There will always be horses which look superior to yours.
- You have to ride your horse and not get distracted.
- Falling off hurts (rejection) when it feels like you have just climbed onto the querying carousel and when you have bravely clung on for months.
- Literary agents are watching out for the eye-catching horses and impressive riders.
- Sometimes your horse (draft novel) will surprise you. The months of work you put into making sure it looked it’s best and had a study frame paid off.
- It can be good to just hold on, appreciate how far you have come, wave to a few fellow riders (on Twitter) and enjoy the ride for however long it lasts.
- It’s good to remember the people who cheered you on and your fellow riders who told you to cling on tighter when the carousel sped up. It’s also good to think about those who helped you up after a fall and told you to get back on your horse.
- Takings part on the querying carousel is an achievement in itself as not many are able to make a horse fit for the carousel or ride it.
Keep working on your carousel horse, wave to your fellow riders and for goodness sake get back in the saddle again soon ❤️
This post is dedicated to all those who have cheered me on during the querying process and have helped me dust myself off after a rejection. I am afraid you will have to keep going with this 🤣 as I can’t see myself giving up.