Querying Angst

After months of researching, looking through dozens upon dozens of bio pages, and a few false starts, I finally sent off my first new query letter. I feel almost as though I have been tredging through some dating site, trying to find someone with similar style and interests while maintaining compatible personality differences…instead I’ve been looking for an agent.

I posted earlier about writing the query letter…I never got a response but that’s okay. Since every thing I read had at least one difference, I can see why people ‘liked’ but didn’t comment. Yes, that’s right, every single one of the 15+ articles and e-books I read had something different: anything from “yes, mention if this is a series” vs. “NO! DON’T SCARE THE AGENT AWAY!” to “write in a professional voice devoid of humor or other personal traits. The writing will speak for itself” vs “They won’t read your writing if your query letter voice is too professional and staid.” and even “only query one agent at a time…even if they’re in separate companies or for separate genres/age levels/pieces” vs “Go ahead and query a bunch of them all at once. Just don’t query people who work together.” (Oh and BONUS – “never say ANYTHING about how long you’ve been writing, because that makes you sound like a newbie” vs “If you’ve been working on this book, or writing in general, for X amount of years, casually slide that into your bio.) I spent a lot of time over the past several months just sighing and shaking my head.

Obviously, Agents are people too and they each will have their own set of wants, needs, desires, and/or dreams for the query process. So I did what I usually do with anything, I took a little from here and from there and I mixed it all together with a solid dash of “I live with Dragons bruh” arrogance (I don’t EVER really use the word ‘bruh’, but it seemed to fit in this instance, the newly minted sixth graders would be proud of me). I even threw in my parents and toddler for good measure…if I’m going down, we’re all going down! (or something like that!) No, seriously, I mentioned them all but, hopefully, for a really great reason. You see, instead of searching out an agent and desperately trying to get them to take me on with my self-published series (which I WILL be trying later…hopefully with the agent I queried today…But my reasoning and choices for that will be an entirely different post) I chose to send in Leonard, with all of his Lemur charm, and described him as a picture book type leveled science/reading reader for k-2 students.

To say I’m excited would be an understatement. I AM EXCITED! I am also terrified, doubtful, and ready to curl up into a tiny little plus sized author ball in an oversized blanket fort with a notebook to dry my cheeks on. This must be what #writerproblems was invented for.

Do you have any stories like this? The joys or woes of finding representation? Questions, comments, or critiques? Is it just a slow day at the office? I LOVE to hear from you!

May your agents and muses be plentiful and your blanket fort well equipped!

Searching

Ok, I have a HUGE question for my published author friends/followers/random readers…I am currently searching for an agent and I have picture books, leveled readers (science/reading early literacy…k-2) picture books, middle grade fantasy, YA fantasy books, a couple of early adult (high school/college age aimed basically), and some short stories/poems…a few them self published. I know that you should only query one project at a time…

So, here is my question: Should I just be concentrating on finding an agent for 1 previously unpublished work (most likely a picture book/leveled reader), or should I try to find someone who looks for children’s/fantasy/YA/Middle/etc.

And when I do write that query letter, should I include the information that I self published through Createspace (though I would like to rework those projects and try to traditionally publish them…Middle Grade readers want to take AR tests after all) or should I just leave that part alone until a future date?

I haven’t had much luck with traditional route before and have been self-publishing with my Dad for a few years now, but am wanting to find a way to get some of my work into schools and school libraries.

Any advice or notes are appreciated!