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Querying literary agents is like eating pie; if you happened to be severely allergic to pie, but also had to compulsively eat it every time you saw it. Plus or minus facial swelling, depending on your tolerance for repeated rejection.

Why do it?

BECAUSE IT’S PIE! That’s why. Giant, literary, book publishing-y berries held together in a sweet, wordy, finding the perfect adjective-y, sugar and I want a piece of it. I’m even the type of person who likes the crust, given it’s a good crust. (Read: Not you, freezer section, store bought, vanity publishers! Stay away from my email address, not for you.)

Any writer worth their pen can tell you writing, the hunting and stringing together of words into ideas that may or may not leach together into a plot capable of birthing real characters, with real personalities, enduring life in a way that connects with that theoretical, nay, nearly mystical person: the Reader, that experience is maddening. Mad Hatter sort of maddening. One minute you’re on top of the world, your tea is hot and the butter is crumb-less, only to turn a page back and realize your butter is made of crumbs, and you need to throw it away, and hunt down a cow because the only way to salvage any of it is to start completely from scratch. *Le sigh*

None of that compares to the 4-12 weeks that a literary agent will make you wait for a reply, which most often is “No thank you” and nearly as frequently is no response at all, they just don’t reply. The deathly silence wafts back into your face through an empty e-box bringing with it the oder of disapproval and failure. I know they are busy people, and it is what it is. It still sucks.

Days like that make me glad that I am also pursing self-publishing. I’m doing it with a different project, and while it will be, I’m sure, no easier, no gentler, and will burn more holes in my pocket than I have yet realized, at least it will be a different cup of tea.



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