Sunday, October 10, 2010

The art of pinging

It's kind of funny when I think about it. I mean, I've spent the last few months agonizing over whether any agent would be interested in my work. When I started querying, I watched with envy as other writer friends got requests for partials and fulls.

And me? Nothing. Zip. Form rejections. I felt like a complete failure, as though I would never even get to the starting blocks, let alone into the race.

We have a saying in my family for folks who start obsessing about something that hasn't happened yet. We say they are "pinging." It's somehow related to sonar pings in submarines -- where you blast your sonar outward and then listen for the incoming pings to see what's out there. Well, I was pinging big-time about my querying. Twenty-one queries and 15 form rejections and six no answers by last week.

Ping. Ping. Ping.

Now I know, that's not a lot of queries. And frankly, the reason I sent out so few was because a.) I was using the rejections to keep polishing my query letter, since I didn't want to blanket every agent out there with my query and then find out it sucks. And b.) I'm a coward.

Then, last week, I was blindsided by an agent who actually wrote me a personal e-mail and said he/she was intrigued by my query and first ten pages and asked for the first fifty.

Whoa. This was new.

Of course, I was thrilled. Elated. My ping had come back and, yes, there was something out there. Yay.

So what, you ask, is my problem now?

Well, now I'm pinging over whether the agent will ask for a full. I mean, it's been like five whole days and I've heard nothing.


Ping. Ping. Ping.

Now please realize that I'm aiming for humor here, and I'm not really as neurotic as I come off in this blog (as far as you know). But it's funny how, once I take a step forward in my writing career, I find I have yet another horrifying thing to worry about.

And if that request for a full comes, I'll worry myself sick wondering if he/she will offer representation. And then, of course, I'll worry about whether he/she can sell the damned thing. And then, I'll worry about whether readers will buy it.

And then ....


So. What do YOU ping about?


  1. First and foremost, CONGRATS on the partial request. It's a wonderful feeling isn't it...for the first three minutes until the "pinging" starts. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you that you move onto the next anxiety inducing step.

    As for me, I'm back to obsessing about my query letter again. I'm pretty sure I'm WAY over thinking it at this point, but it is totally messing up my head. *sigh*

  2. Thanks, Tracy.

    My query letter has turned into Joan Rivers. It's been surgically altered so many times I no longer recognize it! ;)

  3. I like the new headshot.

    When you start pinging, read this great story about a writer who had a game going with her sister-in-law: the first one to get 100 rejections would win the game. She won, but she also sold a trilogy.

  4. This is great news. Congratulations. As for the pinging, perhaps you need to go into passive sonar mode?

  5. I am so excited to hear an agent emailed you and wanted to read your first 50 pages! That is SOOO exciting!