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Query Letters

Just Keep Pitching (Day 31)

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When my husband graduated from high school, he was not ready for his baseball career to be over. He went to a small JuCo a few hours from our hometown and tried to walk on. He ran. He hit. He pitched. For weeks, he worked out in hopes that they would allow him to walk on. Finally the day came for them to announce their team—they posted the 25-man roster, and he wasn’t on it. They told him he didn’t make the team, but if he would keep coming to practice, there was a chance to earn a spot. He was devastated.

But, he went back.

And he ran.

He hit some more.

And he pitched and threw batting practice like he was playing the most important game of his career.

And the coaches noticed.

And in a week, he had a uniform. Later, the assistant coach, who is now the head coach at Texas Tech, told him that he felt the head coach cut him as a test to see if he would press through. My husband worked his way to a new team after that, Tyler Junior College. The coach there had noticed him at Hill, and offered him scholarship money if he would transfer and play for them. He had a very successful year at TJC as one of their pitchers, when the coaching staff at The University of Houston noticed him. They offered him a substantial scholarship to come pitch for them, so he transferred there to finish up his degree. My husband led his team in wins at U of H, and went on to help his team win a Conference USA Championship.

When you work hard, eventually heads will turn. When you keep trying, eventually an agent will notice your perseverance. Sometimes it’s a series of baby steps that lead up to your securing an agent, but it’s ALWAYS about hard work. Pitching at The University of Houston was one of the best times of my husband’s life. He is a baseball coach today, and I wonder what life would’ve looked like had he looked those coaches in the eye and gotten hurt, angry, bitter, or so frustrated that he decided not to pick up a baseball ever again.

It happens—I promise this happens every single day.

Maybe you have queried 20 agents, sat in front of them nervously, recited 20 awesome elevator pitches, and struck out every time—find ten more agents to query. Maybe you’ve attended writers’ conferences for 20 years and you are a regular, but still, you have no agent—stay the course. Stay a regular. Keep pitching. Eventually, the right agent will notice. Just keep pitching—your time will come.

Thank you to everyone that has followed along on our 31 day journey. This was really fun, and I hope you feel educated and encouraged to go out there and snag yourself the agent of your dreams. If you’ve enjoyed our series I would love for you to share it with your friends. And I’d be honored if you’d sign up for my email list and stick with me at my place beneath the pines.

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This series is part of the #Write31Days challenge. To read all the posts in this series click here.

 

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Wait Well (Day 1)

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It is no secret, that agents are busy. Do you know that our inboxes, most of the time, have hundreds of query letters in them? And that has nothing to do with the emails from our existing clientele or from publishers contacting us about in house projects. My inbox is a beast. A beast that won’t ever be tamed. I have accepted it. With that said, all I can do is try my best to manage it. This form of management has a pecking order. My existing clients and publishing professionals have to take top priority over “potential” clients. If I want to keep my clients happy, sell them, and help them grow their careers, then this is the priority.

So, when you pitch an agent, you will wait. We aren’t trying to be ugly. We aren’t ignoring you, but we are racing from email to email to email, and I typically go in order of date received. I work for an awesome boutique agency that is based in Colorado Springs, The Blythe Daniel Agency. There are only two of us, and I handle all of our fiction by myself. And to top it all off, I am a SLOW reader. I have clients that can read me under the table, and I’m the one who does this professionally. The wait time for me getting to your query can be anywhere from 1 month to 12 months, especially if you are a fiction writer.

I say all this to show you that waiting is a part of this industry. And some people wait better than others. I like to call it simmering. Some writer’s get really impatient with this process, and their initial, polite pitching demeanor quickly escalates to a boiling point of frustration. As the saying goes, their true colors begin to shine through during that waiting period. They might ping me on multiple forms of social media, when I already told them a time frame for my review. They might start speaking or yelling in ALL CAPS, because their patience is running thin. Some authors resort to baiting for an answer. They tell me that there are multiple agencies vying for them so they “have to know now.” Now, this can be a totally true scenario, but there are times that I’ve inquired about who else is interested and never heard from them again. This impatience may indeed get you a very quick “I’ll pass.” For me, the manner in which you wait, tells me almost everything that I need to know about what a working relationship with you will look like. Will you treat me this way after I’ve given you what you want? Will you exhibit kindness and patience when you begin to deal with my professional contacts? Or will your frustration boil over every time I’m not as fast as you think I should be? It’s so telling.

On the flip side, there are so many authors that know what “waiting well” looks like. They email politely to “check in” and they wait. And I know the wait for them has probably been years, and I really feel for them. Because what authors forget is that agents are waiting too. We wait 40-100 times over depending on our client list, and we wait 365 days a year to hear that one “yes” on your behalf. And once you’ve published your first book, the process starts all over again. We wait for you to finish your manuscript, we wait for the publishers to review what we have pitched for you, and we wait sometimes 2 years to see your book on the shelf. We rejoice with you in the end, but we have logged years of waiting with you. If you want an agent, you must wait well. And if waiting is difficult for you, then you might want to re-consider the industry that you have chosen. The publishing industry is amazing, but to publish anything of worth, there is a process that takes place, and this process takes time.

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This series is part of the #Write31Days challenge. To read all the posts in this series click here.

 

Posted in Writing | Comments Off on Wait Well (Day 1)