Querying an Agent is Terrifying

Posted July 11, 2017 by Amber in Writing / 4 Comments


I am a prolific writer, and world-class yellow-bellied chicken.  I have finished drafts of seven novels.  I have queried zero agents.  Why?

To a backwoods girl with big dreams, querying a “big-city” agent is terrifying.  Here’s why:

  • I have zero literary connections.
  • I have attended zero fancy writing conferences.
  • I have zero professional proofreading connections.
  • I have zero non-professional reliable proofreading connections.
  • I have almost zero social media presence.
  • I feel like no matter how many times I revise, my story is never good enough.

So where, then, to begin?

I have to change all those zeroes into positive numbers.  Attend writing conferences.  Make connections.  Join communities.  Social media a lot more.  For a twenty-something balancing her job, home life, two cats, depression and social anxiety, and trying to have a baby, that’s a lot to handle.

Whenever I get myself psyched up and motivated to rip off the Band-Aid and just start querying, goshdarnit, I start inquiring to Professor Google, which is the best/worst idea ever.  I wind up reading articles about rubbing elbows and attending lectures hosted by literary agents, and taking classes on marketing, hiring proofreaders, and my head starts to explode.  When will I find time (and money?) for all that?

Then the gremlins creep in.

That little voice in the back on my head, judgmental and grating, demands, “Well, if you can’t find time for all those things, then you don’t really care about writing and you don’t want to succeed.  If you did, you would make time!”

And that’s simply not true.  I love my stories, I love my characters.  Writing has been there for me when the rest of the world seemed to be falling apart.  Yet somehow, I can’t seem to launch over that hurdle.  It’s all too big for someone as small as me, or so it feels.  I know hobbits can go on big adventures, but… mpf.

Writers out there – how have you made the transition from writing to querying… especially if you had to start knowing nobody in the biz?  Advice accepted and welcomed.


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4 responses to “Querying an Agent is Terrifying

  1. Cait @ Paper Fury

    *raises hand* I have an agent. And I’m very pleased to tell you I had zero of ANYTHING on your list.? Except for belief in my writing! Which is really hard to find sometimes, but you have to trust in yourself! I highly highly recommend getting feedback from other writers though. Like do you have critique partners or beta readers? I think that’s basically all you need to do before querying, so you know you’re querying your book as the best it can be. But I never went to conferences or had “connections” or even won any contests. Slush-pile success stories do happen!! And it’s perfectly reasonable to be terrified. Writing is HUGE and it’s really scary facing rejection. But you never know till you try, right? 😀

    • Cait, this is all amazing to hear. I have plenty of people who offer to beta read… but usually, they don’t get the manuscript back! Very frustrating. I think I need to find new ones.

      Still, the bit about conferences and connections. MUCH relief.

      And thank you so much for stopping by. I freaking love your blog.

  2. Unfortunately I can’t be very helpful with this, as I myself have yet to start querying. The thought of starting makes me nervous! But I think what’s keeping me from wanting to ditch the idea of doing so, is that it’s an opportunity for both myself and my story to grow. Often it is the first step into the unknown that is the hardest. If we can keep going, keep moving, keep learning it should make the process a little easier.
    Best of luck!

    • Thank you so much, Melissa! The first step is always really hard… As a great writer once said, “Once you step on to the road, if you can’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” 🙂 Lets hope we both step out into that unknown and get swept away!