I’m in the process of querying literary agents. That means I’m crafting and revising dozens of query letters that I’ll email to potential literary agents, hoping they’ll be delighted with my work and want to represent me as an author.
Honestly, this part of my book’s journey from idea to (hopefully) publication is pretty stressful. I didn’t keep track, but I wonder if I’ve spent more hours researching agents, preparing queries and/or proposals, and refining my pitch as I spent writing my book in the first place. This process is so arduous it has its own hashtag: #amquerying
In my research, I came across a number of helpful articles about how to make sure my query doesn’t end up being rejected immediately—to avoid being an “easy no.” I read that agents are looking for reasons to say no, so I should be careful not to give them one.
The most common advice included spelling the name of the agent correctly and respecting the agent’s wish list—at least refraining from pitching a book they explicitly say they don’t want.
“I know you say you won’t represent [cookbooks, picture books, screenplays, memoirs, fiction] but please consider my work because I’m very special and important.”
You hear countless stories of debut authors submitting their work to hundreds of agents and receiving hundreds of rejections before that certain someone comes along. I’m truly hoping that my hours of research will save me a few of those rejections.
The book is Christian. The words Jesus and God are not used, but it’s still pretty blatantly Christian. By not querying agents who don’t specifically seek Christian, faith-based, or inspirational material, I hop to save myself a lot of work and heartache. In essence, I’m rejecting my book on many agents’ behalf.
I’ve also been exceedingly careful to follow each agent’s guidelines, which have ranged from sending a one-page email with no sample pages/chapters to mailing a printed six-page proposal and the first 50 pages of the book.
I don’t begrudge any agent their specificity or preferences. They need to get through as many queries as possible as fast as possible, and streamlining the format they receive helps them serve everyone more efficiently.
It made me think about how wonderfully not picky God is.
The 100% never-fails query
God, Father, Elohim, G-d, Yahweh, YHWH, Jesus, Yeshua, Jehova, Abba, Daddy, Hey you! No matter how I address Him, He listens. He’s not checking my formatting or word count or the size of my platform. (Hallelujah!)
His wish list is simple: everyone. He wants every single person on this earth, regardless of their story. He’ll take every genre, from children’s to young adult to horror to romance.
His turnaround time is instant. I don’t have to wait 30 days or 90 days or six months (yep, that’s one of my potential agent’s time frame) to hear if I’ve been accepted. His answer is instantly and unconditionally YES!
He doesn’t need a properly worded “sinner’s prayer” to be moved on my behalf. In fact, He told Moses He heard the cries and groans of His people and was eager to respond—they didn’t even use words and He was moved to deliver them!
He seeks always to qualify, to accept, to say yes and amen. If I receive a pile of rejections from these agents, I’ll be bummed out. Then I’ll do another round of research and send another slew of queries. But I’ll do all of it knowing I’m always and forever chosen, beloved, cherished, and treasured by the Creator of the universe. He’ll represent me any day.