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Helpless Against Frustration

The query process frustrates many authors.

They do their research, write the best book they can, and check off every box on the query checklist. And then they wait. And wait. And wait.

They receive a form rejection. Another, another.

They know this is how the industry works, but it doesn’t make it any less disappointing. They did everything they could, and they get nothing for it. No personalized note, no acknowledgement that they did things right, no editing suggestions.

This sense of impotence is a part of an agent’s life, too.

We try to read queries as fast as we can, but we’re usually weeks behind. Something amazing might’ve come in, but by the time we get to it, they’re repped.

We get “queries” from people who never researched the process. We reply, or maybe we don’t. We wonder if they’ll ever learn and do better.

Or if they’ll re-send every week for the next three months. (This happens.)

We offer representation and wait for the author to hear back from other agents. We bite our nails hoping they choose us. We fall in love with a book, pitch it to editors, and wait. And wait. And wait. Wondering if anyone will acknowledge how awesome this book is.

Acquiring editors also have times of waiting. Frustrated by responses from their bosses, or authors, or the marketing department, or whomever. They feel the impotence of loving something so much and being unable to give it the life it deserves.

Writing and publishing is a passion project. This is a field you work in because you love it. Because you love the art.

It means it’s heartbreaking.

It means it’s frustrating.

It means you’ll never be satisfied.

But there are these glimmering moments. When you first glimpse your book’s new cover. When it goes on sale. When you see it at your local bookstore. When you read a glowing review. When your book changes someone’s life.

That’s why we do this. So keep working. Keep writing. Keep your head high. It’ll frustrate you. You’ll feel powerless. But as we all know, good art is worth it.

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