Friday, October 16, 2009


Ah, the “Q” word—the word that strikes fear and loathing into unagented writers everywhere. The dreaded query. Books are written about how to write the perfect one, agents blog about the right and wrong way, and writers spend hours and shed blood and tears in places like Query Letter Hell over in Share Your Work on Absolutewrite.

Well, this isn’t another “How To Post”….instead it’s a look at querying through some famous movie quotes. So cue the theme to Chariots of Fire as we take a stroll through film.

“May the Force Be With You”—Star Wars

Whatever your own personal beliefs are, you are going to have to cling to something to make it through the query game unscathed. Querying is not for the faint of heart, and it’s trying both emotionally and physically. You need a good support system of family and friends. Writing buddies are extremely helpful because of the old “been there, done that” adage.

“If You Build It, He Will Come”—Field of Dreams

You’ve written your literary masterpiece—toiled long hours, edited, revised, and reworked. And you’re ready to send it out into the world of agents and publishers. It doesn’t matter if you’ve written the next Gone with the Wind or Harry Potter. If your query letter doesn’t shine, your book is never going to see the light of day. So, it is the hope of every query writer that they will build the perfect query letter that will interest a dream agent.

“What We Have Here Is a Failure to Communicate”—Cool Hand Luke

You’ve just fired off ten to twenty of the query to end all queries. Now it’s time to sit back and field the massive requests. But then it happens. Your inbox represents tumbleweeds blowing in the wind.

Yes, it is inevitable that some agents you query will be non-responders. So, no matter how many times you refresh your inbox, potentially giving yourself Carpel Tunnel Syndrome, it won’t matter. They will simply not reply. You must resign yourself to take a couple of deep breaths and step away from the computer.

“As God Is My Witness, I’ll Never Go Hungry Again!”—Gone With the Wind

After several rejections, it’s tempting to throw up your hands and say, “As God Is My Witness, I’ll Never QUERY Again!” However, you can’t do that. You gotta persevere and keep on keeping it on! You’ll never land an agent without querying, and you’ll never land a publishing deal without an agent—unless you call go small publishing route.

“Stay Classy, San Francisco”—Anchorman

Sometimes after receiving a rejection, it’s tempting to fire off a not so “classy” response to the agent. You know a real acid filled rant about why your literary masterpiece SHOULD have been for them. But you gotta take the higher road and listen to Ron Burgundy. Yep, that’s right, STAY CLASSY!

“No Matter What Anyone Tells You, Words and Ideas Can Change the World”—Dead Poets Society

Cue, the music to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing”….Yes, you gotta keep believing that the words and ideas that you wove into your story are worthy, and they will mean something to more than just you. It starts when you get those first crits back from Beta readers, and you realize, “Hey, I might just be on to something here!” We all have those books, those movers and shakers, that changed our life.

“We’re Not Worthy!”—Wayne’s World

Yeah, I’ll admit that it’s tempting to get a little star struck when querying. From the uber-famous agents to the not so famous, we seem to forget that agents are people, too. Just remember that you are worthy and your work is worthy to query any agent out there!

So go forth and query!!! And GOOD LUCK!!!

Original post published on Old People Writing for Teens by GotYA contributor Krista Ashe. To view the original post and reader comments, please click here.

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