I quit querying for four reasons.
Rejection stinks. I sent out a handful of queries after I’d been writing for a year, receiving rejections—and one invitation to revise and resubmit. I did, only to have the new version of my story rejected, too. I learned that I didn’t like the resultant gnawing in my gut, which devoured what little confidence I’d scraped together.
My story wasn’t ready. I went to RWA® Nationals in 2008, where I sported two shiny Golden Heart® pins on my name badge for a double final. People congratulated me repeatedly, and yet I felt like a fake. I knew my stories weren’t marketable, a fact confirmed by the response of the agent and editor to whom I pitched one of my finalist entries. In less than a minute, I knew neither was interested.
My writing craft needed work. I attended the Literacy Autographing at Nationals that year and made my way to Deeanne Gist’s table. To my surprise, she was alone, giving me no good reason to slink away unnoticed. My newbie knees were knocking, but I forced myself to talk with her.
Dee complimented me on my GH finals, and I shrugged them off, telling her I didn’t feel I deserved them since my stories were far from ready, a fact confirmed during those painful pitch sessions. She told me that she, like me, learned quickly that she didn’t like the sting of rejections and determined not to receive any more, which she didn’t. And then she gave me some great advice, which I’m eager to pass on.
Advice from a Best-selling Author
The secret to Dee’s success is that she quit querying and took time to study craft, read in her sub-genre, and revised her story until she had one the publishing pros couldn’t pass up. As I listened to her, I knew she’d just given me the key to success, one that could unlock doors that had been closed.
I heeded Dee’s advice. I quit querying, embarked on an intense study of the writing craft, and devoured inspirational historical romances from a wide variety of authors.
Eighteen months later, I ended up with an offer of representation from a highly respected agent who sold my debut novel a year after that. How did this happen? Come back Friday when I’ll share the rest of the story, along with an another encouraging encounter.
And what’s the fourth reason I quit querying?
I write lousy query letters. No kidding. I look at the one I sent my agent and cringe. I’m proof a promising story can compensate for weaknesses in other areas. 🙂
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Have you made the decision to quit querying at some point? If so, why?
Has rejection made you hesitant to submit your work?
How do you go about studying craft?