Mel Copes With Querying (Not)

The Trenches are a bad place to be always, but I hear that right now it is worse than ever. I can’t compare so I’ll take y’all’s word for it. So, how do I, certified nd mess, deal with it?

The meme drawing of a dog with a hat sitting on a chair on a room on fire. The assumptiion is that everybody knows the caption: this is fine

As always, I have a spreadsheet. It helps me keep track of who I can query, who I have queried, who already passed and, in theory, keeps me from querying two agents at the same agency at the same time. (sry Donald Maass Agency 😓)

There may be a little too much info in it, but I like info. Have a lying screenshot of part of my list. No, I will not give the true comments in my comment section. Also I cut the names of the agents and hid most of their mail/querytracker addy as well as cutting off the URL to their page on the agency site.

So many colours. But I LOVE colours so I colour-code everything. Red only means closed, not sus. I have a separate tab for my tea list. Also, I have a very idiosyncratic set of code words for my categories and you won’t find more spaghetti in any spreadsheet.

a woman throas a spaghetti against a wooden cupboard and it sticks.
Spaghetti, spaghetti, don’t self-reject

The decision who is which choice at an agency is made from readily available info and my gut feeling. (Listen to your gut!) Sometimes it’s the tone the MSWL is written in or something they mention that matches with Sava. (Disclaimer: matches in my head)

I know you are sold strategies and everything about querying. I read them, too. I understand how they are a good idea, but also, I am not a good idea so here we are.

I started yeeting my query once I considered it good enough. I yeeted at agents about to close and the dreaded dream agents (pls reject my ms already, I am dying here! 😭) and, naturally every open enby agent I know of.

Not very discerning, I know, I know. I filed in the day I sent my queries and by when to expect a reply (in theory, we all know getting any reply is a lottery). I did not expect to have “unknown” as reply duration quite so often.

Then I set out to wait. And write the second part of the series. (I know, I know you’re not supposed to write it before you sell the first part, but I love the series and I will write it.) That didn’t go well. Neither the waiting nor the writing.

Ironman standing ion front of an inferno making an almost apologetic gesture. The caption reads: I think I did okay!

I got a canvas, partitioned off 100 squares and got paints and star stickers so each time I get a pass, I will paint one of the squares and stick a glittery little star on it. I have extra special stars for extra special passes and personalised passes get the agent’s name written on the star. (I have one of those by now *le sigh*)

Nothing happened for a long time, a few passes rolled in. I kept track on query tracker as well, but kept forgetting about the timeline feature. Well done, me.

Then I overhauled my query. I cut my prologue and sent another wave 4 months later.

A lot of nothing again. I remembered the timeline feature on query tracker. I looked my queries up and cried a lot.

I am currently waiting for a buddy to get query ready to yeet the last of the possible queries.

Why all at once? Because it helps me. I feel I have done all I can. It is not up to me any longer. The ball is in the agents’ court.

And that frees my headspace up. I can stop thinking about it. Because I did all I can. As long as I feel there is something I can /do/ I will never stop fretting over it. Once all possible queries are out, I only have to react. If I get a pass, I move on to the next agent in the agency if there is one. If I get anything else –

old man in a red jumper with both ahnds raised in a shrug and looking stumped. the caption reads: guess I'll die

There’s also new agents I come across in my writing communities. I add those dutifully (research your agents, peeps! Get the tea before it’s too late!) to my list and yeet if possible. Then it’s back to waiting. (And by now writing because I just decided to write the most self-indulgent thing as palate cleanser.)

I won’t lie. There’s bad days and very bad days when it feels completely hopeless. And while I love my peeps getting agents left and right, there is days it only increases the desperation. Sometimes I feel, it’s never gonna be me.

bust gif Justin Timberlake in a music video singing. the caption reads: it's gonna be May

Unfortunately, my bad days are usually triggered by somebody else making it (and YAY for them! I mean it. I can congratulate and cry at the same time.) so I usually just sit it out on my own. Not healthy I guess. But really, I’ve had enough parades rained on (or worse, ignored) to Not Do That.)

I try to keep busy and not think about it. I try to minimize it. After all, if all else fails I can always self-pub. (Or not seeing how much energy, time and money it takes to get it right.) I am actually kinda liking the horribly long waiting times because nothing is decided and hope is still out there and I do not have to do a thing.

It’s exhausting, still. I don’t know what I’ll do if Sava doesn’t make it. I keep telling myself that my writing friends won’t drop me just because I can’t score an agent. And then there’s the days where it doesn’t really matter because who’d notice anyway if I just stopped existing? 🤷‍♀️

Don’t do that, though. It’s called suicidal ideation and it is Bad™.

What does help is actually finding something completely else to do. May be a bad writer, but you can’t argue with 4964 tees and sweaters that I am getting something done. My cosplays may be far from screen accurate but they are recognisable and I bled on each of them while sewing. So I do still feel a thing.

Wow, this turned into a long ramble. Not sure I said enough about how I deal, actually? Probably because I mostly just don’t. 😅

I yeet my yeets and wait for the deets. It’s all I can do, all I have the energy for.