The query process is full of pitfalls and frustrations. But here's the good news: it actually works. Here's the bad news: it's up to you to make it work.
It took me a full decade to realize the truth of the second part of that statement. I had three novels and hundreds of rejection letters under my belt (uh yeah, I said hundreds) before I figured out that talent isn't the only thing you need to succeed in this business. You also need research, tenacity, and a support group.
Tenacity - I'm Irish, so... check.
Support Group - Hmm... nope didn't have one of those.
Research - What? You mean I have to do something other than write the book?
I joined the amazing writing community over at AgentQuery Connect, wrote a new book, improved that book with the help of the tried and true crit partners I found there, wrote a query, improved the query with the help of the same, and... then I sent the query.
The result? After a decade of agent hunting and amassing 130 rejections on one manuscript alone, I had 8 full requests in a week. Yeah. It's what I tell my students - do your homework.
Adriann Ranta of Wolf Literary was one of my first choices as well as a first responder. I chose Adriann because she was a newer agent, hungry for manuscripts and open to new writers. Adriann requested a partial to begin with, the full shortly thereafter, and then asked to schedule a phone call. My palms sweated. I thought I might vomit. Luckily I didn't, as it would've impeded my ability to speak, but my hands were slick little puppies and my cell kept slipping out of my grasp.
Kinda like my hold on reality.
After a conversation about my inspiration for NOT A DROP TO DRINK, a quick talk about other ideas I had and sharing on her part about Wolf Literary and what they brought to the table, Adriann offered to represent me. And I seriously considered peeing myself.
I wanted to say YES! right then (hey, a decade's worth of effort had just paid off!), but there were other fulls still out and it's proper procedure to let the agents holding them know that I had an offer. I asked Adriann to give me a week to get back to her, informed the other agents and waited for that week to pass. I had one other offer, but Adriann and I had a shared vision for the project, and our personalities had really clicked. At the end of the week, I called her to voice that 7-day-old "YES!"
Quickly followed by: "Uh... now what?"