As I mentioned a few weeks back, I am currently in the process of querying, and for the first time I feel like I am actually doing a good job.
Now, for those unfamiliar with the term, querying refers to contacting literary agents and hoping they like your work enough to want to work with you.
Over the past few weeks, I have noticed that the process is eerily similar to asking a girl out.
Think about it.
Firstly, you always present yourself in the best light. You talk about yourself and what you do, and hope they like what they see.
You learn about their interests and preferences, and modify your approach to convince them how you can cater to those.
You adhere to their rules, even if you do not understand or appreciate them.
“Double-spaced manuscript? Sure! Why? Well, this is not for me to ask, is it?”
You start feeling good about yourself. Why wouldn’t you? You’re nice. You have worked hard all your life. You should have confidence in what you bring to the table.
After you have poured your heart on the page and hit the send button, however, you find every single thing you would have done differently, from that one comma before a conjunctive adverb to that shirt you wore to your high school graduation. What teenager appreciates Pink Floyd! Well, there is nothing to be done about it now.
And once you do send it, you are consumed by your curiosity. You cannot possibly just sit there and wait for a response; you have way too much on the line. Unfortunately, that is what you have to do. You cannot keep badgering them.
“Did you read it? Did you like it? Did you like me? Say, want to make this official?”
You may keep thinking that the whole day, but saying that will get you labelled a creep. You do not want that, do you?
And if, as is quite likely, maybe you get a rejection. And not even a thoughtful, well-crafted rejection that tells you what you did wrong or what you could have done better. Nothing that shows you that they respect the efforts you made. Just, “Yeah, I don’t wanna…”
Obviously, your heart sinks. You are devastated. You want to ask, “Why? Why not me? What do I lack?”
It is true. It is natural. But ask yourself this, is that the kind of men you want to be? Really, are you going to be that guy?
Surely, there could’ve been many reasons why you did not make the cut.
Maybe they’ve never seen a guy like you and don’t want to take a risk. Maybe they’ve seen too many guys like you and want something new. Maybe this is just not the right time for them. Maybe they are already with someone. Or maybe they believe you are just not ready.
All understandable reasons, you would realise.
So, what do you do now? Well, you cannot keep wallowing forever, right?
Maybe you work on yourself a little more. Understand what sets you apart, and what holds you back. Present yourself better. Maybe trim down on some of that mass around the middle.
You keep improving, and you keep looking. Because you know that once you find the right now, together you are going to build something magical.
In the end, that is what makes this endeavour worth it.