Saturday, August 24, 2013

Querying: Rejection and Failure are Your Best Friends

"Show, don't tell."

"Patience is a virtue."

"Get rejected one, try again. Get rejected several times, revise and learn." 

If you are passionate about becoming anything in this world, a dancer...a singer...a  writer...a doctor...a dog, then know that anything is possible. If you can read this then you mostly likely won't become a dog, but nothing stops you from being anything else!

Ha! I love being silly, but it's time to discuss the one most important parts of  becoming a writer. Querying. Some of you probably groaned and grabbed your head with frustration. Maybe you puzzled. Well, querying is something every writer has to do (or should do) in order to stride towards publication. A query presents the heart of your work. It  has been reported by many writers to be the hardest part of publication.

What is your story about?! When you see a movie and later tell a friend about it, don't you tell the important parts? Don't you explain it with enthusiasm when it's a good movie. That's the simplistic way of describing it. What a query should do is briefly show the plot of your novel, your character's personality, and the theme. Also there should be your name, word count information, and the title of your book. When I say brief I mean it. Queries shouldn't be more than one page. Literary agents are busy just like you and me, so be respectful of this requirement.

 Notice the word show. What "show, don't tell" means is to color your query. Don't send in something that sounds like an essay for a physics class. Your query should be written in the same style as your book. If your book is funny, write a funny, upbeat query that does present everything I mentioned above.

"Patience is a virtue." We've all heard that saying too much, huh? It's overused, but it's one of the most important things to always remember. People who've queried before might say, "Oh, you gotta be patience because the agent has to send you their response within a few weeks." Yes, that's true. The agent has to read through hundreds of these to separate the garbage (I hate to say "garbage," but it's true) from the treasure. It takes time to look at all of those, and you have to be patient.

One day my story can live in other's homes.
 Look at querying my way. I queried last year when I was nineteen. I got rejected about thirty or thirty-five times, for a piece I thought was ready. Here's the catch. Sometimes we think our piece is ready, but it's not. After getting rejected several times, I decided to step back to take a hard, critical look at it. I noticed that it wasn't ready. My plot needed to be stronger, and more compelling for my audience because at the end of the day their opinion matters the most.
Rejection and Failure are your two best friends. That's weird to say, huh? Who likes to be rejected? Who likes falling on their face only to laughed at for trying? Nobody. Rejection and Failure are the good friends that you ignore the most. They are there to teach you, making you wiser, stronger, and more passionate. That's why I didn't quit, and I got the results I wanted. I might not be perfect. You and I may never write the perfect query, but we'll always know we tried our best to show the heart of our piece. With that dedication, we'll get recognized and grow from those who can teach us more--Rejection and Failure.


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