Why Querying Is Like October Baseball

As a Red Sox fan, I’ve seen my fair share of October baseball. Making it past the regular season is a big deal, and it got me thinking about how similar it is to the querying process. Here are my top ten reasons why they’re alike:

10. Dude, you made it this far. You completed and polished an entire novel. Or, yanno, beat out all the other teams vying for a World Series appearance. Well done!

9. Everyone’s cheering for you. Your critique partners, family, friends, published authors, agents, and editors all want you to succeed.

8. Your characters are lovable. We feel their pain when they strike out, drop a ball, or experience The Dark Night of the Soul.

7. You sometimes take up strange rituals, like not trimming your beard or rubbing on your special-good-vibes-lucky-ladybug-necklace when clicking send.

6. Sometimes you snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. This is a concept so familiar to Sox fans that I won’t go into detail here, but in the querying world, it’s like: partial request–boom! Full request–boom! Endearing pass on the material–oh, crap.

5. Sometimes you actually snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. That agent who seemed too good for you? You never know. Query and you just might get a request!

4. Never give up. You may have the bases loaded with no outs, but if you’re the pitcher, you’ve got to stay cool and throw a strike. Bam!

3. There’s no crying in baseball. No, seriously. You can cry in Little League, but if you want to play big time ball, you have to get used to failure and rejection. No team can win every single game.

2. There are lots of chances. Best four out of seven games! You could lose the first three games and still walk away with a win. Your odds are even better in querying. In baseball, you have to win four, and in querying all you need is one.

1. There’s always next year. Because you’re already hard at work on the next novel, right?

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Pay It Forward Giveaway!

When I saw Rachel Russell’s post about how the amazing generosity of the reading/writing community inspired her to launch a monthly Pay It Forward giveaway, I couldn’t wait to join in.

I’ve likewise benefited so much from getting to know other writers: on twitter, your blogs, and the other places we meet, like SCBWI conferences, WriteOnCon, coffee shops–the works!

This first month, I’m offering up a free critique of any/all of the following:

  • pitch
  • query
  • synopsis
  • first chapter

I know as well as all of you how important these pieces are while querying. That, along with your trusty barf bucket, as querying tends to make some of us queasy. I’ll even share my own none-too-clean bucket.

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If you’re readying your own bucket for the querying trenches, just comment below. I’ll pick a random winner for the critique package at the end of the day on 9/3!