Top 5 Songs To Query By

I’m back in the querying trenches, sending out my beloved manuscript that I’ve worked over and polished and revised oh so many times. Sending it out and hoping for someone to want it. To love it the way I do.

There are many emotional states that a querying author goes through. So, let’s explore a few of them through song.

1. Picking the (hopefully) right agents to query

When you decide you’re ready, you’re usually feeling pretty good about the state of your entire query package — from your opening pages, to your pitch, to your query letter itself. So, you’re researching all the agents. When you find ones that take your genre, that mention your favorite books and/or comp novels for your own manuscript as either favorites or novels that they represented themselves. Whose online biography and social media sounds like they’d be just right for you…

That’s when it’s time to not throw away “My Shot” (Hamilton)

I am not throwin’ away my shot
Hey yo, I’m just like my country
I’m young, scrappy and hungry
And I’m not throwin’ away my shot

2. While You Wait For That Agent Response

Okay, if nothing else on here BLATANTLY ages me, this song choice probably does. Especially this version. But this is what strums through my head when I hit send to that agent that I carefully picked, carefully selected.

Letters To Cleo’s “I Want You To Want Me”:

I want you to want me.
I need you to need me.
I’d love you to love me.
I’m beggin’ you to beg me.

3. When You Get That Rejection From That Agent You Thought Was PERFECT

You did your research. They sounded perfect for you.

That’s when your heart starts singing lyrics from The Cardigan’s “Lovefool”

So, I cry and I beg for you to
Love me love me
Say that you love me
Fool me fool me
Go on and fool me
Love me love me
Pretend that you love me
Leave me leave me
Just say that you need me

4. After You Get Yet Another Form Rejection Letter

By now, you’re starting to feel a little panicked. Frustrated. No. More desperate. Surely, some agent has to like your stuff. Right? Maybe you just haven’t found the right one.

That’s when it’s time to break out Jefferson Airplane’s “Somebody to Love”:

Don’t you want somebody to love [YES]
Don’t you need somebody to love [YES]
Wouldn’t you love somebody to love [Obviously!!]
You better find somebody to love [ I’m TRYING! Hmmmm, maybe this isn’t the right song.]

5. When You Decide You’re Not Giving Up, Today

You’ve gotten rejection after rejection, but you believe in your story and you’re not ready to give up.

That’s when it’s time to break out Rachel Platten’s Fight Song.

But there’s a fire burning in my bones
Still believe
Yeah, I still believe
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me

This isn’t all the emotional states of a querying author — not by far. What songs do you tie to your emotional state when you send out your manuscript and ask someone to love it.


  1. I dunno – just trying to find a magazine to submit short fiction to, the Airplane might be the right music… but maybe White Rabbit, as you go down the rabbit hole of “well, they pay SFWA rates, but take six months, while these folks pay less, but do it in six weeks…”


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