If At First You Don’t Succeed…

It’s been four months since I restarted my querying journey after a year of deep edits, and I still haven’t found success. I’ve received lots of form rejection emails from agents and small publishing houses, so much so I’ve started becoming numb to reading the words, “I wasn’t pulled into the opening pages as much as I hoped” or “I wasn’t passionate enough about your project to represent you.” All the form letters started to blur together.

I then did some research and realized after around 10-15 rejections without getting a request for a full manuscript, you should evaluate the materials you are submitting. If it isn’t getting any traction, there might be a problem with what you are submitting, whether it be the query letter, synopsis, or your opening pages. It doesn’t necessarily mean your writing stinks, but rather you simply aren’t sufficiently hooking the agents’ (or their assistant’s) attention.

I had some writing friends analyze my current query letter and everyone seems to have the same thought; it just wasn’t funny or interesting enough. At first I was a bit dejected, what about all the agents that I already queried that have received this? Would a better query letter have ultimately sold my work? I would never be able to query them with this project again. I tried my best to not look backwards, but to the future, thinking maybe now I can hook an agent with an improved query letter!

This has been and continues to be a real learning experience. You always hear: “Never give up!” “Keep going!” But, you rarely hear the sage advice that in order to not give up, you might need to change your tactics and revisit what you are really doing in order to keep progression toward reaching your goals.

At the end of July, I started querying using my updated materials. Who knows if this will actually work this time, but at least I’m doing something material to help improve my chances. And that in and of itself, I consider an accomplishment.

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