Did you know I’m in the query trenches right now? I started querying more seriously at the end of 2020, so I’ve been at it less than two years. Here’s a bit about what it’s been like for me.
I’ve spent 3 years writing, revising and critiquing before starting to query. Those years have been helping me grow as a writer.
Early on in the query process, I got a request for more work, rushed things, and sent some manuscripts that were not quite ready, but I think that’s a really common mistake. How do you know for sure when your work is ready? The more I write, the more I critique work of others, the more I read picture books that have been recently published, the better I can tell.
I must admit, I’ve made other mistakes. DO NOT query when you are sleepy and need to get to bed. YIKES! That was not a good way to put my best foot forward. The thing that makes me feel better is that agents get so many queries, I doubt they’ll remember my mistakes. Like the time I sent a query letter and manuscript for two completely different picture books. Sigh.
Maybe, just maybe, I’m building bits of momentum.
-a mentorship in 2021
-a poem accepted this January
-an honourable mention in the PB Party Contest this March
-some positive agent feedback on queries.
-this month, a request to send more work after an agent critique.
-and a maybe after I followed up on a query that had no reply after the allotted time period.
Is it my time yet? I don’t know. But I do know I plan to keep trying. Publishing is a long game and I’m in it for the long haul.
What are your querying tips? Picture books are a tough market. Let’s help each other reach our goals and bring more beautiful books into the world.
Young readers deserve the best!