Why I Haven't Queried My Books

I don't talk much about my writing on this blog (weird, since it's a "writing blog"), but today I'm going to.  I've had a couple of people ask me if I'm querying recently.  And the answer is well, no, I'm not.  I'm actually finishing up my third novel, and I've never really queried (I've sent out like five really novice queries).  Does that make me weird?  Maybe.

If you were to ask me why, I'm not sure I could give you a clear cut answer.  The timing just never felt right.  I did love my first novel, a YA contemporary fantasy.   I loved the story.  I loved the characters. I didn't love the writing.  So, I revised it over and over and over and over again.  Somehow it just never reached the standard I wanted it to. 

The writing in my second novel was much better.  Again, I loved the story.  The problem was it was a tough genre to market.  I had unwittingly written myself into a literary corner with a college age character in a Chick Lit Superhero Romantic Comedy (say that five times fast). 

Now I'm finishing up my third novel.  A YA SciFi Dystopian.  It's quirky. It takes place on the moon. There are lots of made up words. It's written a strange voice and my character is withdrawn and and counts everything around her (as in literally counts everything).  I LOVE it! I will definitely query it when I'm done. 

So, I've been around in the blogging/writing world for about three years now.  Most of the friends I started with are agented.  I've seen their struggles and learned a lot.  But I've never experienced it. I guess I just wasn't ready.  But now I definitely am.  So in the next few months (as soon as I finish my book) I will be putting myself out there and getting my poor little writing heart trampled on like the rest of all you brave souls.  I would love to hear about your querying journey.  

16 comments:

  1. I think you're wise to learn from others' experiences. There's really no danger in putting off querying until you feel ready.

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  2. I've queried off and on for about two years. I'd send out a couple get rejection then rewrite my book. I kind of feel like you with the first book. I love the story, the characters, but I'm not sure the writing is up to par - yet. Hopefully in the next couple of months I'll join you.

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  3. I was scared to query as well. I wrote my first book three years ago, sent out a few queries and gave up. My second book I didn't query at all, and my third was so much better and stronger than the other two, so I decided to give it a go again. My third one ended up landing my agent, and for some reason I thought it would. I knew it was different, quirky, and much better written than the others. Don't get me wrong, I still have a TON to learn about writing. I know it wasn't perfect and it still isn't. I also know it may not sell, but I can hope right? :) Good luck with querying when the time comes. It's a rough road. Lots of rejections. But when you find that one person who believes in you and your book, it's worth it. :)

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  4. You are so smart, Candice! So many of us query too soon and learn the hard way. You've been smart to do your learning first and THEN query. I'm in the query trenches right now. Buckle up, girl, cause it's a bumpy ride! LOL. :-)

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  5. There must be something about 'third times a charm' because really this latest one was my third attempt as well. See, you were just smarter than the rest of us to wait. I LOVE your book. I can't wait to read the rest.

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  6. Good luck with this one. I have no doubt I'll soon add another published author to my list of friends. :-)

    Now, I'll go rethink my own decision. Maybe I should wait until I finish the third novel.

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  7. Yay! I can't wait for you to finish Immaterial. I have a very good feeling about it. :)

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  8. I too have held out on querying. I'm never satisfied with what I'm writing, but this time--I just have to go for it. My goal is to finish this round of edits by April 19th and then take the plunge. I'm really working through everything, and its turning out well. I'm really glad I haven't queried up to this point--because nothing was ready--Heck I would have rejected it if I were in an agents shoes.

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  9. I admire your patience, which is probably the most valuable trait you can have if you want to be published. That, and the ability to take criticism well.

    I queried to early on almost every project I sent out to agents, before my ms was ready, and sometimes before my query was ready.

    If you think you're ready to query now, you probably are, but have some readers check out your ms and your query (I'm sure you've probably already done this, but in case you haven't...), and make sure you've got a short, 1 page synopsis of your work ready.

    It took me a really long time to be able to write ABOUT my writing effectively, so I studied lots of agent blogs, queries on QueryTracker, and Absolute Write.

    Good luck with your project set on the moon! I really want to read it, actually!

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  10. Candice said...

    I really love hearing all your thoughts about querying! It is amazing how much sharing these experiences can help. Thanks for all your comments!!

    I will definitely have Beta readers when I finish the MS. And I am fortunate to have some awesome, nay, astoundingly brilliant query-writer friends. I will beg borrow and steal my way into their editing good graces. :)

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  11. I think it's great you waited until you're ready. It takes time and practice to become a publishable writer and taking that time helps us learn our craft and understand better what good writing is and more of what's out there. I'm basically on a five year plan. I've been writing for two years now - honing my craft as they say. Now I feel like I'm working on the book that could sell, but I write slow and I have a 3yo at home. So I'm hoping to finish this book - and revise and rewrite until I feel it's close to perfection and then next year I'll feel more ready to query. I really don't want to get involved with the publishing business while my kids are little. In three more years my youngest will be in school full time and then I think I'll be more able to travel and promote a book. Right now I just want to practice. I've made so much progress these past two years and I can't wait to see what will happen in the next two.
    Good luck with querying.

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  12. Cool - we are in the same place - both finishing up our third novels and didn't query the first two for very smiliar reasons! I think I'll try to query this third novel too. Gotta get the first draft finished though and then go through the crits and re-writes though...I can't see getting it query-ready until this fall. But then again, I now have you and Nichole giving me weekly encouragement on Twitter!

    Thank you for all your encouraging #wordgoal tweets and #challenges! That's why I'm so thrilled that random.org picked you as the winner for my Feb. word-count-progress contest! Email me at berendsen70@yahoo.com to get your $15 Amazon certificate. I hope we stay in touch and continue to encourage each other through the re-write and querying stage!

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  13. I queried too soon and made many mistakes.

    It's awesome that you're waiting.

    Your 3rd novel sounds interesting.

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  14. Yay! You're almost done. I'm excited to hear about all the agents vying for your book.

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  15. I can't wait to read your book. Like seriously. I'm less excited about books coming out on the market when I've read the first two and loved them than I am about reading your book.

    Dude--let me read your book. :)

    I think you're a genius (as always) for waiting. You are going to be ready when you query. So many (myself included) aren't. Well done. :)

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  16. There's no such thing as too late to start querying a novel. More like too early! Good luck :)

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