What if It Happens to You? | A Portrait of a Querying Writer

YOU’RE READY. You believe this is the book. Your synopsis is just right. Your query letter could hook a person who doesn’t even read. You’ve generated a list of agents who represent your genre, a balance of high-profile presidents of the agency to senior agents to associate agents.

You send out a batch of queries. Then you wait.

Rejection. Dang. Rejection. Sigh.

Rejection. Ugh. Okay, geez.

Then one morning you find a full manuscript request sitting in your inbox. In a panic you rush to send it along. You hope you didn’t sound too desperate in your response. A few minutes later you check your sent folder to confirm that you attached the document. You download it to make sure it’s the right draft.

Two weeks go by. Three. More rejections have come. You’ve been checking your email obsessively. Meanwhile you’ve convinced yourself you’ll never make it, that this is a fluke.

You prepare yourself for disappointment.


Hi, writer. I’d like to schedule a call to discuss your manuscript.


You read it again. No way. WHAT THE FUUUUUUU–

It’s happening. You can’t believe it. You’re so nervous about the upcoming call that you get sick in the meantime. Then the day comes. The phone rings. You cough and sniffle and try not to cry as the agent asks you weird-ass questions about how you envision your career as an author.

Career? Huh?

You tell them about your new work-in-progress. The agent doesn’t have much to say about it, and the conversation ends shortly thereafter.

You blew it. YOU IDIOT. She didn’t say anything about signing you. Then again, she did say she was going to email some feedback and asked if you’d be willing to revise.

What does this mean? Is it a revise and resubmit? A phone call with an agent is supposed to mean they’re going to represent you, right?

In a whirlwind of confusion, all you know to do is revise based on the feedback. It’s reasonable. You kinda think she’s wrong about that one thing, but screw it. You have a copy of the original draft. Plus the other feedback is pretty good. Maybe she’s right.

You send the updated manuscript. Then you wait.

And wait.

And wait.

Should you nudge? Is that too needy? Will you scare her away? WHAT THE HELL IS TAKING SO LONG?


Can I have your full legal name, mailing address, and social security number?

Huh? Bitch are you trying to steal my iden–oh.



With love,


6 thoughts on “What if It Happens to You? | A Portrait of a Querying Writer

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