Thursday, July 8, 2010

GUEST POST: NATALIE WHIPPLE "What I'd Wish I'd known While Querying"

I'm thrilled to have ninjarific Natalie Whipple on my blog today. Not only is she an awesome author repped by the illustrious Nathan Bransford, she's also a talented artist. She may or may not have a horrible fear of public speaking. I almost had to catch her at a writer's conference we were both speaking at. Luckily she didn't faint, so I didn't have to employ my own vast ninja skills to save her. Okay, I have no ninja skills. But I did go to nursing school so I was ready to do any first aid necessary. Anyway, I'm so glad to have her here today. If you aren't already a follower of her blog, you'd better get on the bandwagon pronto! (click here)

What I Wish I’d Known While Querying

Sara asked me to do a guest post on this topic while she was away. So hi there, Sara readers! I hope you’re all doing well. I’m not sure any of this will be helpful, but it has been interesting to look back and think about my time in the query trenches.

*two days later*

Wow, so I’ve been trying to come up with some kind of gem for you all, some tidbit of knowledge that would help you through querying. I gotta admit, I got nothing.

First I was gonna say something like “I wish I’d known I wasn’t ready to query.” But then I realized if I’d known that I never would have tried, and then I never would have learned all the things I did by querying.

I made a lot of silly mistakes, but I also grew as a writer, met my crit partners, and became part of the online writing community.

Those are all things I’d never take back, even if I still cringe when I realize my own agent probably has my very first, very horrible query.

Then I was gonna try “I wish I’d known how long it would take.” Well, read the above answer for that. It took me two years from my first query to land an agent. If I’d really known it would be that much waiting…yeah, I’d have taken up crocheting ninjas instead of writing about them.

Same with “I wish I’d known how hard it would be emotionally,” “I wish I’d known the journey didn’t end at The Call,” “I wish I’d known rejection truly isn’t personal, and that they mean it when they say this business is subjective.”

I guess I’m saying, in a round about way, that ignorance is bliss. It’s okay that you don’t know everything yet, and I guess I don’t regret going into this business green as grass. I mean, you gotta start somewhere, right? As long as you’re willing to learn, things will eventually work out, no matter how much you know when you send off that first horrible query letter.

If I’d really known how it was, I probably would have saved myself the trouble. Or at least sometimes I think that. Sometimes I miss the naive dreamy days, when hope abounded and reality was for other people. I don’t think I want to take that away from anyone by telling them my regrets. Because if I’m being honest, my wish-I’d-knowns pale in comparison to everything I’ve received through honest effort, persistence, and a lot of starry-eyed hope.

Isn't she awesome? Her honesty, humor, and wisdom are only some of the reasons I love Natalie and her blog. Thank you again!!


Unknown said...

OMG THIS IS MY FAVORITE POST OF THE DAY!!! That was so great of Natalie for the guest post and so awesome of you SARA suggesting it!!! How fabulous!

For now I'll stick with the ignorance is bliss approach. I plan to learn a lot, cry a lot, scream a lot and then do it all over again. A never ending battle us writers have to face together.

Renee Collins said...

Well said, Natalie. Well said. :)

Martina Boone said...

Awesome, truly spoken post Natalie! Thanks for reminding us that we learn by doing, even if we look back and realize some of the mistakes along the way. It's all a learning curve!

Annette Lyon said...

So true. Ignorance sometimes is bliss--even though you THINK you're suffering. I wish more people understood that the journey doesn't end with THE CALL--or even with THE RELEASE. You're just on a brand new journey, with all kinds of pitfalls and scary bumps. And more ignorance. :)

fairyhedgehog said...

Great post Natalie (as always). I love your take on things.

Kristan said...

Natalie = awesome, as usual. And so, so right. I'm in the midst of all this publishing madness, and sometimes I just want to bury my head in the sand (and nap! much napping!). But of course, then I would miss all the wonders of this process -- the writing community, the growth, the excitement, and the stories. Always the stories.

So yeah, it's tough and we've lost the stars in our eyes. But hey, there are still stars in our hearts. :)

Kathryn Packer Roberts said...

Great post. Thanks for sharing! I love Natalie's take on things.

Myrna Foster said...

I keep coming up with excuses not to query the novel I should have to the querying point by the end of the summer, but I really just need to jump in an make mistakes. I know this. I do. But there's this part of me that wants everything to be perfect when I query.

Thanks for the post. It made me smile and realize I'd better start querying once I get the novel polished all shiny-like.

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Great post. Thank you, Natalie, for writing it - and Sara, for having her:)

lisa and laura said...

Fabulous post ladies! I think querying is one of those processes that requires diving in head first and figuring stuff out as you go. All the research in the world isn't going to help unless you just fire a few off!

Stacey said...

Natalie this is wonderful! Thanks you!