Thursday, January 31, 2013

My Querying Experience Thus Far

My search for an agent hasn't been as stellar as I had hoped. 

Part of that is my fault. I haven't sent out very many queries. When I sent a mass email to a hundred agents two years ago and got rejected by every single one of them, I became overly cautious. I need to just buck up and be more aggressive.

Don't misunderstand me, it's not that I haven't seen any interest at all. In fact, here's an interesting tidbit;

I've always wondered if queries are really as big a deal as everyone makes them out to be. Well, one agent who had rejected me two years ago actually requested the manuscript this time around. She eventually said no, but for her an improved query made all the difference.

It's far from time to through in the towel, but it sucks that the story of my "writer's journey" isn't going the way I envisioned it. I blame a friend of mine. She sent a partial of an incomplete work to five agents and had three of them clamoring for her within the week. Granted, she's been published before so it's ridiculous to compare myself to her, but still, I wanted my story to be like that.

While I'm on the topic of agents, I would like to send a thank you into the universe directed at the agents who are specific in their rejections. I would love to get emails that say, "I'm too busy to take on a new client," or "I don't even represent your genre, stupid," so I know it's not because my book sucks.

One agent sent me a rejection that said my writing was lovely, but her agency has had trouble selling books in my time period. It's true, there aren't many Ancient Roman books out right now. 

That rejection was incredibly helpful. I always thought if I didn't get an agent I'd just sell my book for 99 cents on Amazon and move on to my next book, but if the biggest reason my novel isn't taking off is that Rome isn't popular right now, it would make more sense to shelve the book until readers come back to the Ancient world. The Tudor fad can't last forever, right?

I just really hope I get an agent before the HNS Conference. I don't know why, but I want to include it in my writer's bio very much bad. (Speaking of which, you can see my writer's bio here. Pretty neat, huh?)


  1. Hi Teralyn,

    Your comment about being told there not many books set in ancient Rome seems incredible to me. I had actually thought that was the case until I did a big browse through There are way far more books set in ancient Rome than I thought.

    Now, granted, many of those may be self-or-independently published, and without agents. And perhaps numberically they don't measure up to the number of novels set in Renaissance or Tudor times, or in 18-20th centuries. But there are many there. And with the popularity now of miniseries set in ancient Rome, and the obvious continuing popularity of Cleopatra's story (there are more than half dozen histories of her life and times, never mind the many novels of her life and times), I cannot believe that books set in ancient Rome cannot sell (assuming they are sellable quality).

    Let's keep plugging. I have deep ambitions and wishes that books set in ancient Rome will indeed sell, because I plan, am outlining, and writing, at least a half dozen and more such novels!

    I am sadly not at the point yet of searching for an agent.

    Best of luck to you!

    1. That's actually a very helpful pep talk. Thanks!

  2. Hang in there Teralyn!! Two years ago at HNS, when we met and talked, I was trying to sell my fourth manuscript - about Joan of Arc - and was told something very similar. It's been done, no one is buying it right now, etc.

    I went home and wrote the fifth manuscript, thinking as I did it that it would NEVER be my turn. Only ... it was my turn, and if I'd quit I never would have known.

    Hang in there!! You can do this. Trust yourself and trust Rome. Frankly, I'd rather read your ancient Rome than a lot of the other things on the market - and I can't be the only one.

  3. You are trying, which is more than can be said for countless individuals. Your road to publication will be your road, and it may be one to inspire other authors in the future who find themselves in a similar position as you.

    Keep at it :-)

  4. In your query: Be sure to do a little research and mention a few (succesful) books that are somewhat like yours, then write about how your book is different from those and will therefore fill a new niche in the market.

    Learned the hard way,
    Self-published Uttley

  5. Just wanted to chime in here with a big hug! Querying stinks until it doesn't. I agree, the helpful rejections were so much better! It didn't take away the full sting of being rejected, but at least I knew it was a certain reason (not connecting with the voice, too similar to a client's book, etc).

    I was actually kind of surprised that some agents said they'd enjoyed the read, but just didn't love it enough to have the passion to sell it. I'd never thought about that. You'll find that one that really and totally loves your book! Good luck.


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