Taking Control of the Submission Process

I often feel like I need to remind authors how much agents understand the pain of submitting. You know, honestly, editors understand it a bit too. At some point, all of us need to convince someone else that the book we have absolutely fallen in love with is one that should be published. Agents need to convince editors and editors usually need to convince others within the publishing house.

As anyone who has ever been in this situation knows, it can be discouraging. It’s easy to send out a submission and wait and feel discouraged when the answers aren’t coming in, or the ones that are, are no’s. It’s one of the reasons I always tell authors never to start submitting until you’ve started writing your second book.

The best way to take control of a situation you have no control of, and to avoid feeling discouraged, is to embrace the parts of it you do have control of. If you’ve sent out 20 queries and are growing frustrated and panicked by the lack of response, spend some time researching agents and send out 20 more queries. You might not be able to control the speed at which agents respond, but you can control what you’re doing on your end. And I don’t know about you, but I get excited when I know someone new might be reading my query/pitch/submission.

If querying is getting you down then put it aside for a while and write, not that same book you’re querying, but something new and exciting. Something that you can lose yourself in and just enjoy.

There is a lot about this process that’s out of our control, but our career and how we handle it isn’t.

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5 comments

  1. Querying can just be downright traumatic, especially when you’re not hearing anything back. My suggestion is to also check out writing conferences. I recently attended to Toronto Writing Workshop and met an agent there who requested my full manuscript. It was super exciting because that’s the 1st time I’ve ever had such a request! Hopefully, it’s the only request I’ll need too.

    It makes a far nicer touch when you can shake hands in person, rather than sending a cold query letter.

  2. I think the excitement of writing something new, after all the editing of the old ms, is what helps push you through the submission process.

  3. Thank you so much for this blog. I’ve been a silent follower for a while and recently had my first novel published by a small press. Do you think many agents would be interested in representing an author in my position? I’m currently working on my sequel and am trying to decide if I should try to seek an agent for this book. Any advice you could give would be appreciated. Thanks!

    1. Congratulations! I think that’s great. If you’re looking to work with an agent and a larger publisher I would definitely query your second book (although a sequel to an already published work is difficult to sell elsewhere if that’s what you want).

      1. Thank you! I would submit to the same publisher, as my contract requires of sequels (they have the right to refuse it if they don’t like it but want to be the first to see it), but I thought it might be handy to go in with an agent this time to help make sure I’m getting a reasonable offer. As long as I don’t blow up the storyline, it should be an automatic sale. I know many agents are wary of situations like this, but I think I will query anyways just to see, especially since I’m also working on another non-related novel. Thanks for your thoughts!

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