Earlier this week, I decided to take a chance and submitted the romantic suspense novel I’ve been tweaking since 2017 to a handful of agents.
Finding a literary agent is terrifying and can make you question your talent as a writer and your value as a human. If you aren’t familiar with the process, querying involves an author boiling down their 74,000-word novel into a few sentences and wooing an agent to fall in love with their work. It’s an exhilarating and nerve-wracking experience and one that bears paraphrasing an acclaimed movie line:
I’m just an author, standing in front of an agent, asking them to love my story – and, by extension, me.
In theory, I know how this works. Agency websites explain up front that the process can take 6-8 weeks before the author should expect a response. Does that calm my nerves? Not in the slightest. I am an over-thinker. As my mom says, I “borrow trouble” and can’t help ruminating on the possibilities: What if they all say no? What if they all say yes?! Do I have any idea what I’m doing?
The number of times I’ve hit refresh on my email and checked my spam folder since querying is embarrassing.
When you submit your work for approval, it stirs up a crazy combination of emotions. On one hand, I’m exceptionally proud of myself for finishing this novel and working through several rounds of edits to get it where it is. Most days, I love the story and want everyone to read it immediately.
There are other days, though, where I can’t believe that I’d be so bold as to think I have any chance of getting published. I’m trying to detach myself from the querying process and not take criticism and rejection personally, but my brain just doesn’t work that way.
So here are some things I’ve done to distract myself:
- Take the dogs to the park
- Clean the junk drawer
- Taxes (someone put me out of my misery)
Of course, writing this post has been an exercise in pseudo-distraction. I’m not obsessively checking my email, but I am writing about obsessively checking my email. Doesn’t exactly work.