“So why should we hire you as our new Arch-Mage, CHAR_NAME?”
Querying is like job hunting. They both have pitches (query letter/cover letter), they both have synopses (resume/synopsis) and they both have a product (your novel/your skills). When I queried my first novel back in August, I was starting to panic. I received thirteen rejections and eight no returns. I wasn’t devastated: I knew my current novel just wasn’t where it needed to be word count wise and the queries I thought were good? They sucked ass. Too long, too rambling, etc.
When I wrote my new query for my new novel that I am starting to query, I was ruthless. I received a lot of feedback and spent a good month and a half rewriting it until I felt comfortable with it. I’ve received two rejections but ehh, both agents are huge and it’s the holidays. I’ll wait until late January to start really going at it.
But querying is like job hunting. The first “big boy” job I had was a two month process just to start. I sent out thirty job applications within the span of two weeks (shotgun approach is not a great idea when querying agents but I know some writers have had success) and within a month, I received ten screening interviews/tests.
This is the equivalent of the partial. They like what they saw, let’s see if it’s a good fit. Of those ten jobs, three turned into full interviews. At the end, I had two interviews within the span of four days. The company I ended up working for grilled me a solid hour with a full staff. Within an hour, I had the job and had to decide quick. I really liked it and the other job was great but I went with my gut. I enjoyed the job and have hence moved on but it’s the same approach.
Any job can receive 100-200+ plus applications. Many of those get weeded out for a variety of reasons (don’t fit the criteria, bad cover letter, resume is sloppy, don’t like your school, etc.) Of those, maybe ten applicants will get a solid second round interview. And of those ten, maybe three-four will get the final. I’ve been passed over for jobs that I was a close second before and it sucks. But that’s job hunting.
Querying is the same thing. You are selling your product with your query, your manuscript, and hopefully you’ll get the call. But clicking your phone and checking your email every waking moment is a way to go mad. Don’t look for the request. Go write, go work out, go do something other than stressing over the five queries you sent out the last two weeks. Getting a job takes time. Getting an agent takes time and more.
It’s all a matter of perspective.