Submitting to Agents – Or Querying: The 10th Circle

As I said previously, I have begun the Querying Process, submitting my query and such to literary agents in the hope of getting representation for my work. I completely blame the misery and pain I have been experiencing non-stop for the last week on my friend and torturer Eileen Caines (check-out her blog here: She recently got an agent and has been pushing me and the rest of the Inklings CFL Chapter to do the same.

Anyways, following the advice peer pressure of Eileen, I submitted my query and first pages of Jack Wrimo and the Ori of Flames to five agents of YA fiction. Then I waited. And waited. And refreshed my inbox. And waited.

I hate waiting. I was like this even as a kid when I would audition for things. I would try out for things like all-county and all-state bands on trumpet, and I never got nervous. I good go into the highest of high-pressure auditions and nail a part I had been working on. I wouldn’t get nervous or jumping before the audition or during. I’d walk back to the door I came in through feeling awesome, and as soon as the door would close behind me, audition complete, I’d freak out. In terms of the audition, this is probably the best time for the nerves to get to me because it didn’t effect my chances of getting into the group. In terms of my health, it was the worst, because I’d be a wreck until I got the results, which could take weeks, even months.

I feel the same about this whole querying thing. When I submitted all these things to agents, it seemed like an awesome idea. Jack Wrimo and the Ori of Flames is currently self-published and I’ve had modest success with it. It has been well received and enjoyed by those who read it, including my students who are my “target audience.” Prior to submitting queries, I felt like I had written a pretty good book. I wasn’t under any kind of delusion that it was a beautiful masterpiece of artistic proportions, but it is an enjoyable adventure.

Now, I’m relatively certain it is a large steaming pile of junk sitting in the hot Florida sun stinking up the surrounding area with an ever expanding radius of nauseating fumes. Every hour that ticks by, and every pointless, newsless refresh of my inbox makes me feel like a failure. I have received one rejection, and as I commented on my twitter account, it felt like a punch in the stomach.

The even bigger annoyance to me is I consider myself to be a level-headed and rational human being. I believe strongly in realistic expectations and using logic and reasoning at all times. Rationally, I know that rejection is inevitable. Most authors at any level of success have seen rejection, and in most cases lots of rejection. The rejection could simply be that it just isn’t a good fit in that agency or with that agent, and not a reflection of the quality of my work. I know logically that agents get hundreds and thousands of queries and that it takes time to read and respond to all of them. I recognize that my book isn’t for everyone and I should keep a level head.

The problem is that I can’t. Like those all-county band auditions so many years ago, my nerves are getting the best of me and making me react emotionally. I hate it, and of course the hating of my own reaction isn’t exactly doing anything to boost my spirits either.

I don’t write this to have everyone feel sorry for me. I just know that writing helps and so there it is. A brief and shallow look into the current state of my psyche.  In a word: fragile beaten broken painful excruciating weak nervous complicated.