Michael J. McDonagh

An established writer who recently went to work becoming an author, trying valiantly to make someone give a damn and chronicling the process.

The Twelve Steps of Querying

1. We admitted we were powerless over querying—that our e-mail checking, agent stalking, and panicked response to calls from another area code had become unmanageable.
2. Realized that we have no freaking power over what agents do, starting the moment after we click “send.”
3. Made a decision to turn our first 50 pages over to an agent, hoping like hell she understands them.
4. Made a searching and fearless inventory of our internet presence and platform.
5. Found out from our CP, our betas, and another form rejection the exact nature of our manuscript’s problems.
6. Were one more form rejection away from saying “screw it,” deleting the whole thing and removing all the defective characters.
7. Humbly edited to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all agents we had queried, and became willing to nudge them all.
9. Sent fulls to such people wherever possible, except when they didn’t ask for them, which was most of the time.
10. Continued to stalk agents on the internet, and when we were rejected, promptly revenge queried.
11. Prayed, meditated, used a Ouija Board, called the psychic hotline, wore our “lucky querying socks” and did everything else we could think of to try to understand this process, praying only for a “revise & resubmit” from an A-list agent and the power to carry that out.
12. In order to keep from going insane as the result of this process, we bitch and moan to other querying writers, who practice these principles in all of their queries.

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12 thoughts on “The Twelve Steps of Querying

  1. When you say you’re on it, you’re on it! Thanks for this. Love your blog, by the way. –Etsel.Atsirch

  2. “and panicked response to calls from another area code had become unmanageable.” YES. A thousand times, yes.

    • More tempted than I’ve ever been to say “I know, right?” I mean, GAWD — …just waiting for the little one to get out of school, oh, hey, look at that, maybe my life’s dream is coming true. “Hold on, I should answer this.”

  3. You obviously have the “Agony” part down…
    Looking forward to your report on the “Ecstasy” part of the equation. I’m certain it will be arriving any day now!

    Thanks, Michael. Enjoying your posts.

  4. Perfect! I’m ready for my chip now. 😉

  5. Oh, man, the thought of a five-year querying chip nearly made me vomit.

  6. leandrajwallace on said:

    Lucky socks! This is what I’m missing. It has to be, right? 😉 *off to look for a pair that doesn’t have any holes in them*

  7. Noooooooo, they MUST have holes in them. One does not simply “buy” lucky socks 😉

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