You've been querying your novel for a while. You can rattle off agent response times like your friends can sport stats. You have a curated Twitter list just for agents who have your query for easy one step stalking. And you cringe at the folks on QueryTracker who CNR (close no response) after three days.
Querying can take a while and you are in it for the long haul, but when is the long haul too long?
When is it time to shelve that manuscript?
Like most things in publishing, it's subjective, but there are some things that can help you decide to let go.
1) Have you gotten no requests on your query?
- now even this has a caveat. Hopefully, you queried in batches and revised your query as you went along. If not, and you queried all 900 possible agents who accept your category, it might have been the query... it's hard to know.
2) You've queried every possible agent who accepts your category.
- Yes, yes, I know there are always new and amazing agents but having to wait for a new one to come along may be a sign it's time to shelve that book.
3) You have written something new, something so amazingly good, that looking at the project you've been querying kind of makes you cringe? Stop querying it!
4) Is it starting to affect your mental health?
- Sometimes we become desensitized to rejection, but not always. If a rejection upends your whole day and sends you into a depressive spiral, stop.
Remember, it is not always the book- sometimes it's just timing. And shelving that manuscript doesn't have to be forever.
Write something new, and when you're ready, query again. And when your new agent asks what else you've got, maybe you can dust off that manuscript and give it a second life.
It's not goodbye, it's so long for now.
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