What Happens to Your Brain When You Query Agents


I thought I’d give a rundown of what it is like to *finally* hit the infamous ‘send’ button and submit your query to literary agents. Or to be more specific, what it was like inside my head the few hours afterwards.

My morning started, as it usually does, at 5:30 AM when my five-year-old wakes for the day. Unfortunately, due to nerves and paranoia to have my query letters and submission emails all sorted out and perfect, perfect, perfect… I did not go to bed until 1:30 AM the ‘night’ before.

But hey, this could be a good thing, really. For that means I can send the emails EVEN EARLIER than I had planned. After all, I spent the entire week compiling the emails with personalized query letters and requested number of manuscript pages, double- and triple-checking to make certain that I was following the submission guidelines to a T. I was not going to make any mistakes. The agents on my list to query are very highly regarded, and I have been researching them and their client list for over a year. My query letter alone has gone through twenty-six drafts. I refuse to screw up at this point.

So, I am awake (yay)! Now to get my boy dressed and ready for preschool (double-yay)!

While he is dutifully brushing his teeth (good boy) and getting dressed (ok I had to stop to help him with his socks) I send off the first three queries.

It’s official. I’ve started the Query process.

There are only a handful more to go (like I said, for this first round I am being cautious and submitting to a select few, mostly so I can tailor future submissions if any of the initial wave of agents comment on any problems that I need to address. Also because my brain can only handle a shorter list right now). Before I send those final emails, I want to quadruple-check that everything is in order.

Ah, but now my son wants to build Legos with me. No problem, we can do this instead. I can address the last few queries after I drop him off for the day.

Legos built. Oops, look at the time! Have to get him ready to go.

First, to get breakfast sorted for him. Then I will pack my son’s lunch. The breakfast part is easy. At least it should have been.

Here’s a breakdown of the thoughts and processes running amok in my brain while going about our morning ritual:

Bagel. Check. Oh yeah, it’s frozen. Must toast. Queries sent queries sent oh my god it’s finally happening…

Tea? Yes. Water? Right, need that for tea…

Bagel toasted. Great! Uh… what is it I need? (Wander in a mindless circle) Oh yeah! A plate!

*Plate acquired*

VICTORY. (Zelda music plays)

Banana? Sure, he likes bananas. Here you go. Oh right, you can’t eat the peel…

Time to pack his lunch.

Sandwich made (surprisingly easy task. Way to go, mom!). Sandwich in container.

Next up, snacks.

Ooh! Water boiled. Excellent.

Nope. No. Tea does NOT get poured into snack container. That was a close one…

Pretzels, done. Fruit, done. Need lunch box. 5-page submission, check. 10-page submission, check. 50-page attached document, check.

Lunch box is not kept in refrigerator…

Nor does opened jam go into the plate cupboard.

Response time: two weeks to eight weeks, for most agents. Yikes.

Maybe I should eat breakfast…

Bagel? Yes.

Right. This bagel is frozen, too.

Toaster, activate!

Breakfast ready.

Time for a cup of strong tea.

“It’s dangerous to go alone! Take this…”

Tea acquired.


Surprisingly, not only did I get my son to school on time, we managed to build some pretty cool Lego projects before our day officially began. My brain was definitely throwing me some curve balls, but I made it through with my sanity (mostly) intact. The rest of the queries were sent, and I took the morning to relax while my boy was in preschool.

The best part? All the extra-big hugs my son was giving me. No matter the outcome of this process, I have the best little guy in the world, and that is all I need.

(Zelda music plays)