Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Querying Again

I've taken a rest from trying to get my YA novel published. I came so close to hooking an agent but at the end of the process, she decided against representing it. So sad! At least, it gave me hope that a real agent with a reputable agency almost took it on.

I was frazzled from months of sending out queries and needed a change so I pulled out my first attempt at writing, The Christmas Festival Murders. When I finished it several years ago, I had an agent who was representing a children's chapter book so I sent my mystery to her. She loved my children's book so I expected raves about this one too. Instead, she recommended I cut out the first seventy pages which was about a quarter of the manuscript! Do what?

I couldn't bring myself to make those cuts so I put it away while I wrote the YA story. When I looked at the manuscript a year later, I agreed with the agent. Those seventy pages were full of fluff. I really liked the storyline so I kept that but rewrote the entire manuscript. I added a romantic interest for my female sleuth. Although I did it to spice-up the story, the book is now a romantic mystery which expands its marketability.

Just recently I had part of the manuscript critiqued through the North Carolina Writers' Network - the critiquer said it was ready to go - not a word about cutting out large chunks of material. Yay! Apparently I'd learned something and all that writing and rewriting paid off.

I just started the query process - again! I got some auto-rejections right off the bat but I've had a request for more material - an encouraging sign.

Querying is tedious, boring, and frustrating. Researching agents all day makes me feel like I'm been in a semi-coma. It's not surprising that writers (me included) scramble names and e-mail addresses and send queries to the wrong agent. I've found splitting a day between researching/sending out queries and working on another manuscript is more tolerable. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. It took me a while to figure that out. I so wanted to send a query to every agent I thought might be the one.

Let's get published!