Thursday, February 7, 2013

Querying is like cooking

Hi guys, how are you today? How am I doing? Oh, I am querying. Yeah, I know. Yeah. . . I am querying once again in my life. It's a new project. If you follow me on Twitter, you've probably seen me pitch it to agents now and then. . . when they let me, of course. Remember #pitmad? I got a request. Two requests, actually. I queried the agents who kindly requested to take a look at my query and some pages. And, so far, one of them asked to read the full manuscript. I looked like the OMG cat when I read the email.

I know many of you out there are querying, dreaming of getting published, fighting your best to do the things you love. So, I know you understand how difficult it is to write a concise email that summarizes your book and why that agent should represent you. I've seen many people compare querying to dating. But, I actually think that querying is like cooking. Querying is like turning your book + life + passions into a meal, and serving it to agents. Pray they'll like your secret sauce!

Unfortunately, if you're querying, you'll get some rejection. A lot of rejection, actually. You're gonna feel like staying in bed all day and watching an 80s movie. Getting rejected hurts, but that shouldn't stop you from doing what you love. It also doesn't mean you've failed. But, if you want to call it failure, then embrace it for a few seconds and describe the feeling in your head: it might be useful later, when you need to describe a frustrated character. Whatever you do, don't forget to keep writing.

Some recognition will come out of the whole querying process, too. There will be days when you're gonna feel like you're on the right track. When that happens, you're gonna get another cup of coffee, sit in front of your laptop, and give your characters pleasant endings (even though you previously had envisioned many slippery banana peels on their path).

When agents politely smile, push away the plate you're serving them, and say maybe some other agent will love it, don't take it personally. As crazy as it sounds, not everyone likes sweet things. Some people are crazy about bitter things. Others like sour surprises. Others will love you forever if you give them hot sauce, while others will choke. It's the same with books. People have different tastes: while some will love what you have to offer, others won't like it as much. What matters, in the end, is that you'll continue cooking. . . I mean, writing.

Keep writing.



  1. It takes a while to find the right person that connects with your story. Some are lucky and have a great story AND great timing and find them right away. As Neil says (best speech ever btw) we just keep moving toward the mountain. :)

  2. I love your comparison to sweets. It's so true, you just have to find that one person who loves what you're serving.

  3. Yes, yes. So very true. Keep on truckin' I mean, writing. Thanks for this post. I am sending a couple queries out today! :)

  4. I think querying is like volunteering to be the sitting duck at the fun-fair - you know, the one that gets shot at, time after time.