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.