Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Following Advice as a Rookie

Back in the day when I was still trying to figure out this crazy publishing industry, I came across some advice that I totally disagreed with.

Only send out a few queries at a time then wait until you hear back before sending more. 


In my ignorance, I thought how dare the industry tell me I can't send out twenty to thirty at a time. They actually wanted me to wait up to six months to hear from an agent before I could send out another query. That's crazy!!

But in my infinite wisdom, or maybe it was more my people pleaser personality (didn't want to tick anyone off if by chance they found out I sent out so many queries at once), I decided to only send out a few at a time.

I can honestly say it was the best advice I adhered to, because back in the day, my query sucked and my novel sucked! Honestly I read it now and I wonder what the heck is this book about and I'm the one who wrote it. If I had sent that out to twenty or thirty agents then that would be it. They all would have said no and that would be it for my chance with them. So I sent out a few, got rejections, edited my manuscript and query letter. Sent out a few more, got rejections, edited again. Hopefully now I've got it right and if not then it's been a great learning experience.

Sometimes the advice we get can seem a little crazy, but if the majority of people are saying it, then we should probably listen or at the very least consider it.

How about you? What's some advice you heard when you first started writing that you thought there's no way I'm doing that, but ended up following it anyway?

21 comments:

Miranda Hardy said...

That is great advice. The advice I plan on sticking to is not to rush publishing. Edit, edit and then edit some more. Also, better to hire someone to do the edits.

Laura Pauling said...

My mind is totally blanking but I'm sure there was some. But that's crazy to wait to hear back from all of them first! I followed Noah Lukeman's advice. Send out 5 every 2 weeks. If you hear back before then send it out. If you are very confident of your query send out 10 every 2 weeks. :)

Misha Gericke said...

Well, I was told that I should always have something out being queried while working on a manuscript. I was so focused on Doorways that I didn't want to work on anything else. Eventually I saw the wisdom to the advice, but then I lost my other WiPs, so I only have Doorways left.

Joanne said...

To begin another project while querying. It wasn't easy, because I only wanted to immerse myself in the queried manuscript, but I'm glad I heeded the advice. Now I have more than one story to work with.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Getting rid of my autoplay list of music. Ack, that hurt...but I kept hearing that was best and finally I sucked it up and silenced it and put it at the bottom of my screen.

It's still there though. ;)
~ Wendy

Susan R. Mills said...

Yes, I agree! Best piece of advice, for sure. Your journey sounds very similar to mine. :)

Martin Willoughby said...

'Plan your work'. I sort of do that now but I didn't at the start believing that I should go with the flow.

Catherine Denton said...

Such a good story and lesson learned. The advice I ignored was to set my manuscript aside for several weeks. I kept thinking that was silly and why two weeks? But it does work and I'm more apt to listen now.
Catherine Denton

Jennifer Hoffine said...

This is a good story to pass on good advice.

I only sent out five at a time. I didn't wait for them all, but I did wait for some feedback before revising and sending again.

Also, with a fresh query I wouldn't send out to my top choices first. I'd wait for my first partial/full request before sending out from the top of my wish list down, still five at a time.

Carol Riggs said...

Good advice, which I did follow. It's good to re-evaluate your ms and query if you're not getting bites with the first bunch or 2! :)

I mentioned you in my blog post today, Patti! :)

Carolyn V said...

That is great advice! I only do a few at a time too. It's not so overwhelming to me that way. ;)

SHANNON O'DONNELL said...

For me, it was the query advice, but I didn't listen and paid the price. Now, I listen. :-)

Elana Johnson said...

Great post! I'll admit that I sent a lot of queries up front. It was my second time around, and I felt like my book and query was better.

I sort of blogged about some advice I got that I didn't want to follow.

Southpaw said...

I know I have some too but I can't thing of any at the moment.

I moved my blog, but there is a feed problem with my old blog and the posts aren’t showing up. You can visit my new blog here.

Lynda R Young said...

hehe, yep, I went through the same thought processes too and came to the same conclusion ;)

I think the best advice I once got was to at least TRY outlining. I used to be dead against it. Now that I've tried it, I'll never go back to winging it.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I'm not sure what advice it was. I've pretty much listened to all the advice I've read (or I've blocked it from my mind).

With my current ms, I sent out 5 queries a week until I hit 25. Fortunately there were some quick responders, which is how I knew my query was working. Now I"m waiting to hear back on my requests before querying again.

Jolene Perry said...

I'm SO the same with you here.

I LOVE that my agent does the same thing. She picks 6-10 places she thinks my book would do great in, and then she says - okay, now we wait to see if any of them have some amazing feedback, or maybe they'll want to take it! If not, we'll have some things to improve before we send it out again.

I LOVE that she does this. LOVE.

Tracy said...

Don't take rejection personally.

What? How do I not take it personally, I thought. But then after I've spent some time in the querying game and got to see how really subjective it is (agents I thought would love it for sure passed, while ones I thought I'd have no chance with requested super fast) I learned that there's nothing I can do but make sure I've done the best I can, and let the rest go.

Lynn said...

So far I've taken all the advise I receive. And you've given me another for when I am at the query stage. Thanks!

Jessie Oliveros said...

Oh come on..."suck" is a little strong, don't you think?

Melissa Hurst said...

I heard that one and another is don't query as soon as you finish the manuscript. I never did that, but I've heard of some people who did. They thought the agent would take months to get back to them and they'd have plenty of time to edit, but imagine their surprise when the agent requested material a few days later.