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  • Writer's pictureLiz

Query Guide Part 2: A Look at the Querying Process

Updated: Jan 8

Let’s start with a quick rundown of the querying process. It goes like this: You write a query letter, you decide who you want to send it to, you send it, and then you wait. Sometimes you’ll get a response the same day, sometimes a few weeks, sometimes a month, sometimes never. Agents might ask for a partial (the first 50 pages) or a full (the full manuscript). Once I got a response within 39 minutes of sending a query and I honestly didn’t know that was possible.

Querying is a lesson in resilience and not defining your worth by your work. It’s an experience of high highs (that 39-minute request for a full? Still sending me even though I have a book published and another coming out in 2025), and low lows (be sure you have cheerleaders and sweet treats to help you when the rejections do inevitably come in).

You might do some wild things to help you through it like color-coding a spreadsheet (actually, this is genius), pulling a tarot card for every agent who requested materials (also genius), and setting boundaries for when you’ll check your email then immediately ignoring them and checking your email.

It’s okay. It’s hard. But remember, you wrote a book. You’ve already done something hard, so you can do this, too. And at the end of the day, if you really want to make this happen, you’re going to keep writing books. Which brings me to probably one of my biggest pieces of advice through this whole thing: Start writing the next book right away. Because there’s a chance this one won’t land you an agent (I didn’t get an agent the first time I queried). And there’s also a chance, if this book does land you an agent, it won’t land you a book deal (I had four books rejected by publishers with my first agent before my fifth book, my debut In the Shadow Garden, sold). 

Let me say this, in case no one has yet: I’m proud of you. I’m proud of you for ripping out your heart and spilling it on the page and poring over it word by word and sentence by sentence and paragraph by paragraph until you had something you’re proud of that you want to see bound in ink and paper. I’m proud of you that you’re taking the next step, that you’re trying to get an agent because you want to be published.

Alright, let’s get down to it!

Querying Guide Breakdown:

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