I wrote this the first year I entered PitchWars and, even though I’m not participating this year, it’s just as true as ever. Best wishes to all the hopefuls out there!
What To Expect After You Query
It really is just like dating…
You start by joining the Facebook groups, the twitter chats, and incessantly checking your email. Just knowing, they’re going to start #PWTeaser your novel now. Meanwhile, you’re trying to engage with the other writers in your genre and cheer them on (while not-so-secretly hoping yours is better).
With my superpower of being able to rationalize anything (the perfect skill for a great henchman, or a decent writer!), I start making lists:
TOP 5 REASONS YOU HAVEN’T GOTTEN A REQUEST YET:
- Your chapter was so good, they don’t think they can help
- They see where you need work, but do better at the other type of editing (line edits vs big picture)
- It’s too close to what they’re writing, they feel it’s a conflict of interest
- They like your genre, they just like a different type of it better (action, adventure, quests, etc.)
- They read it on the 1st day, along w/the huge crush of submissions and have it blended with a different one. You’ll get the request when they reread
REALISTIC 5 REASONS YOU HAVEN’T GOTTEN A REQUEST:
- It’s great, but the market is saturated and they don’t think it’ll sell
- Your query or chapter misled them and they don’t know it’s going somewhere AWESOME!
- They wanted more (diversity, action, poetic descriptions).
- It’s well done but just doesn’t POP.
- It uses too many tropes without subverting them.
3 – Bargaining
You start to think, maybe if I engage just right, I can entice the mentor to pick me!
(I may have started a #PWQueryTeaser tag for those things that didn’t fit in my query, but might entice someone to give it a try.)
You think, if I skip dinner and write for 3 hours, the writing karma will be paid back.
If I don’t check my email for 4 hours, I’ll be rewarded with a request.
4 – Distraction
You try to get back to work. Depending on what stage you’re in, you try different things.
Writer Style Distractions
- Write on your other WIP.(1)
- Start outlining your sequel.
- Participate in word sprints.
- Research Agents for that picture book you’ve been sitting on…
- Edit your synopsis and full, one more time. Checking for passive verbs, formatting, and typos.
- Find a Critique Partner on the FB groups and start helping each other. (CHECK!)
- Pokémon walks.(2)
- Clean your house, catch up on that neglected laundry.
- Cook some tasty meals.(3)
- Read all your webcomics.
- DO ALL THE SOCIAL MEDIA.
- Visit your friends.
- Remember what the gym looks like.
- Catch up on your reading! (4)
5 – Acceptance
The choice is entirely out of your hands at this point.
Be honest with yourself. Look inside yourself.
- Did you polish it, making it agent ready?
- Are there any plot points that make it weak?
- Did you fail to market it appropriately?
- Is it too much like whatever else is out there, with nothing to differentiate it
- Did you bandwagon on Dystopia or Steampunk, without really doing anything new, without bringing the love to it?
- Can you fix the pacing?
- Is it clearly a first novel: great for the learning experience, but not so much for the sharing?
Which stage are you in? What’s your coping technique?
1 – Work In Progress
2 – Hey! It’s walking, it totally counts as healthy, self-care!
3 – Because if you get in, ain’t nobody got time for that.
4- If one must read to write well, it’s really just helping yourself grow as a writer! Clearly.