The Query Trench

I love my Indie authors, but this post is more about traditional publishing. See ya’ll next lap!

Raise your hand if your ready to hang in the towel on you current WIP. The query process is destroying your soul. Of course you’d never admit it to others, but there’s always this nagging doubt in the back of our heads.

Why aren’t agents requesting to see more? Is my novel original enough? Have I “told” instead of “showed?”

Honestly, we writers batter ourselves constantly. WE are responsible for our misery. Not our tough critique partners, not our readers, not our lack of agent responses.


We give up on a WIP because we’ve told ourselves to give up. And last week, that tiny voice in the back of my own head said, “You’ve been querying for three years. You have over a hundred rejections. Maybe you should work on something else…..”

Damn. That inner voice is ONE TOUGH COOKIE.

“You can’t find any more agencies to query.”

This is so true. I’ve exhausted the Writer’s Digest archives, MSWL, and querytracker. I’m having a hard time finding agents seeking what I’m writing.

Then it goes on to say, “Your friends are giving up on you.” That’s true, too. My friend told me the other day, “You’re just beating your head against a wall.”


We all started out strong and stubborn. Time and rejections chisel away our resolve little at a time until we’re fragile little creatures under a literary boot. And this low point is where the divisions begin. Will you keep writing, hopping from one project to the next or will you see this project through to being a published work?

It’s okay to move on. Maybe the market just isn’t ready for what you’re writing at the moment. But if you see a pattern in this, maybe it’s time to change tactics.

DON’T GIVE UP. Dig a little deeper. Fix what needs fixed. Join a critique group. Accept those critiques with a smile. Tell that voice in your head to shut the hell up. Go through your agency list and submit to a new agent there, if they allow. Rub a little mud on your wounds and keep going. Quit your crying.

Start thinking positively. I started querying before I learned the value of critique partners and burned through bridges quickly. Rookie mistake. But I’ve had four major edits since I began querying. I’m getting responses now. I have two fulls and a partial out for review. I can see the sun rising over the top of the slippery trench wall.

I had to learn to love the painful process of querying. I’m not an author yet. I’m still a writer stuck in the query trenches, fighting for a handhold, cheering on my fellow writer warriors.


Grab those muck boots and stand with me. Dig in. Change up the query. Rewrite your MS. Grit your teeth and climb out of this trench. And if you feel like you’re beating your head against a wall, learn to love the sound of the beat.

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