My First Query Submission Experience (and what I learnt from it)!

I submitted my first ever query to an agent on Sunday (4th)! Like the physical submission of my manuscript that I done at the beginning of the year, it feels like it has not reached the person it was meant to. Does everyone feel that way? Obviously it’s just a symptom of my paranoia.

I had written out my query letters for various agents a while ago, but only recently have I begun the process of actually sending them, partially because I’m still editing my manuscript, but mostly because I was just anxious about it.

I realise now though that I kind of like the fact I left it until December. Considering my first manuscript submission was back in January, this feels like a cool way to round off the year by submitting my first query at the end.

During my time trying to create these queries, I learnt something quite useful.

I learnt how to explain my story in a condensed fashion. It was difficult at first, because whilst I’m actually okay at writing a synopsis in most instances, this story is… well, it’s basically (in my eyes) the flagship series, the one I hope to define my ‘writing persona’ of all my possible works. So my difficulty to explain it, comes not only from it’s complex nature, but also from my desire to try and describe it in the perfect way.

This is probably something most writers do, and why they struggle with synopsis’, and I’d even say info-dumps. It stems from a desire to create this picture-perfect understanding of your world and ideas.

But then, I came to realise, and accept, that not everybody is going to interpret your work in the same way you do, and there’s literally nothing you can do about that. Even in a visual medium such as film, television or comics, people interpret different gestures and things of that nature, in various ways.

Of course, it is important to be as clear and accurate as possible when explaining your story, especially to an agent/editor, and for me, I’d say it’s paramount said agent/editor understands the vision behind the work at the very least, and at best, they wish to push for it with equal passion.

But at the same time, you must accept that there will never be any one, true view of how your work is. Even you, as you age, may interpret your work in a different light to the one you currently do. I mean, I can imagine looking back on my current stuff and saying: “That kid had some great ideas, but man was he bold.”

I know I probably will, because I already have with the older versions of this same story. There was some real cringe-inducing material in some of those old outlines, and my first draft. And bare in mind, a lot of that was only made a year or two ago.

A good sign of my growth to be sure, but also a reminder that your views on things can change drastically in relatively short periods, so long as you keep an open mind (which I think is a necessity as a creator). Ideas I once thought to be genre-shifting, are now being swept under the carpet for fear of being brought to light. And believe me, we don’t want some of those things brought to light.

That’s just a little insight I got from this experience. The next move now is to send out my other queries to the other agents on my list, and to bring my story into beta.

This post went on a bit longer than I originally intended, but for many of us fantasy writers, such is the way of things.

Expect me to be documenting things a bit more on here as time goes on (I really should have done that from the beginning).

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got to say, and I’m out peace!


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My First Manuscript Submission Experience

This is an old post. I was supposed to release it on the actual date, but apparently I’d left it in draft. The actual date was the 20th. It got to them perfectly fine, and now I eagerly await their response! Hopefully the next blog won’t be about ‘My First Rejection’, but ‘My First Accepted Submission’ or a similar title seems kinda unlikely.



In a word? Exciting. In another word? Maddening.

The submission was to the UK publisher Gollancz, which until recently I’d been completely pronouncing the wrong way. And yes, chances are you have been too, and certainly if that was your first time reading it.

So what was it about this experience that was so exciting and yet so maddening? Well let me tell you a story.

Around November last year, I heard about Gollancz opening up to unsolicited direct submissions (physical only), and I was immediately psyched about it. I’d finished my manuscript back in August and had been editing it since. I began a query, proposal one-page synopsis, and the first 50 pages of my novel, on the same day.

I won’t lie to you, I found the one-page synopsis to be an utter nightmare, and it still ended up rolling over onto a second page. Thankfully, Gollancz were being rather lenient with their submissions, which I appreciate.

So the official deadline was fast approaching, but my deadline had already come. By that, I mean I set myself a deadline earlier than the actual one, to compensate for my occasional unreliability. Because my internal editor sneaks up on me at the worst of times.

I had printed out several versions, only to read through them and obsessively underline and make notes around the page each time. I know that it may seem obvious to edit to pristine condition before printing anything, but I think self-doubt takes hold whenever I’m about to do something remotely out of my comfort zone, so every time I thought I was ready to send it, an anxious part of me wasn’t and resorted to editing.

By the time I was satisfied, there were only two days until the deadline. So I’d been right to give myself an earlier one. But even the postage was a bit of an issue.

I was in the post office and like any young aspirant, I was all wide-eyed and exhilarated, until it occurred to me that I still needed two things: an envelope and the postal address.

Both proved harder to get than you’d think. Oh and did I mention that I had only 5 minuets before the post office closed? Surely that’s enough time though right? It’s just an envelope and an address. Right? Right…

Not quite.

I’m in the post office, which very helpfully has a shop section with envelopes. But my query, not-one-page-synopsis, and the first 50 pages of my manuscript, were… rather thick. They had every single envelope except the one my manuscript could fit into. Or so I’d thought.

Only after desperately trying to squeeze the pages into the envelope about fifty times, did I realise it wasn’t the right fit. The envelope I needed just happened to be buried underneath a clutter of… I don’t actually remember what. But it was stuff that had no business standing between me and destiny. Regardless, I finally found the correct sized envelope, I could purchase it and be on my merry way.

The second thing was equally irksome. Within all the excitement, I had foolishly forgotten about the postal address. I knew it was on their website, so I tried to use my phone to pull up the info. BUT OH NO. The Internet wouldn’t connect, because why would it? Why would life be so simple? I can’t recall how many times I pressed the refresh button, but I’m sure I surpassed some kind of physical limitation.

There was literally only a minuet left when it finally worked. At which point I went over to the desk, got the package sorted out, and managed to leave without any issue.

Hopefully I wrote the address properly…

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got to say, and I’m out!

Peace!


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