Signed, Sealed, Delivered and… Waiting for replies!

Post by Alexandra Garcia

Oh, the query trenches, they are painful and a different kind of hell.

The most important tip I can give you: Patience is necessary while querying.

I’ve queried 2 books, and I am currently on my 3rd book. For the first book, I got 50 rejections. 2nd book 36 rejections. For the 3rd book, I just started, and I have gotten 2 rejections in the lapse of 48 hours.

So here is what I’ve learned and what I recommend you not to do. I’ll divide it based on books:

1st book: Genre: YA/Paranormal Romance

First big mistake: I sent 20 queries specifying an incorrect genre:

My story had angels, demons, romance AND was set in the state of Oregon, hence Paranormal. I queried it as fantasy. Big mistake. As a base for the fantasy genre is that it has to be in a fictional, mythical place and clearly my story was far from it.

Second Mistake: Rhetorical questions in query letter and the What if?

Don’t do it. 

The agents do not know, so just tell them.

Third Mistake: Did not revise the query or materials ever. After I got my first rejection, I cried and cried, but then I went crazy and did a mass submission with the same materials to 20 more agents. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Do not lose your cool. Revise, go for a walk, clear your head and try again.

Nail on the coffin: I hated my book. I hated my MCs, and honestly, the only reason I wrote it to begin with was because I was honoring my teenage years when I came up with the idea. Why is loving your story important? I feel like it wasn’t obvious at the time to me. If you don’t love your book, how do you expect someone else to love it as well or to champion it?

I finished the draft, revised it once and query it because I did not want to deal with it anymore. In retrospect, I was putting an unrealistic expectation on myself that just because I finished a book; I had to have it published to call myself successful. It was when I started writing my second book that I decided to never open that 1st book again, even if my beta reader liked it. To all of this I just want to tell you: It is okay to shelf your book and move on. When something is not working for you, part of the growing process is to know when to let go and move on. For me, with this book, it was acknowledging I did not like my book and I didn’t want to start my publishing path with it.

2nd book: Genre: New Adult Fantasy Romance

1st Mistake: Query was too long. A query is a synopsis of the synopsis without spoiling the ending and with an amazing hook!

For this query, I was at the edge of 700 words and if you look up some guidelines, a query should be in the 250-350 word count range. A synopsis should be 500-700 word count.

If you are anything like me and struggle to write a query, start with the synopsis. Write the entire plot and high points. Once you have the synopsis, you can see at a high level the plot and the hook you need for the query letter. 

2nd Mistake: Lack of patience. I cannot stop emphasizing this enough. If you are receiving rejection after rejection, STOP sending queries and revise your materials. 

The thing that I had come to terms with: ”Life it’s a marathon, not a sprint”—Quote by Phillip McGraw. Same with getting an agent and submission. The endgame is to have your work published and in a bookstore, but how long you take to get there should not matter.

3rd Mistake: Fantasy can be difficult to condense. You have this amazing world you created, but remember the agent has no idea about the cities or countries you created and as much as it pains me: cut the names if you can. Just do it. Focus on the MC, the problem and the hook. Needless to say, I was starting my query letter with the mouthful city names and again… as much as I loved them; they were unnecessary in the query letter.

Lastly, I have not given up on this book. I love everything about it. I have revised my query letter and, of course, my submission materials with an actual editor, but I have not sent it out yet again. The main reason is because I came to realize this genre is a little bit saturated at the moment and it is not standalone. This book ends with a cliffhanger and I want my debut novel to have a resolution. Never say never, though. I might start querying this book once again in a few months.

3rd book: Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

After going through many mistakes from the last two books, I am more confident in this query and submission materials, and yes, I have had 2 rejections. But I have only sent it to 12 agents literally 3 days ago, and I am using my own advice to be patient.

The key difference in this book compared to the other ones: Feedback from 2 editors on query letter, synopsis and first 15 pages. At least 3 Beta readers feedback reviews and the most important thing: I didn’t wallow in my rejections. I accepted it for what it was and moved on and kept on writing and reading.

I’ve set some expectations and a goal. That is something you may want to ask yourself: When is time to move on and what to do while waiting for query replies? I can’t keep my mind from racing, so for me is outlining my new book and reading. So yes, while I am querying and waiting, I am writing a new book. It is not because I do not wholeheartedly believe in the other books; it is mainly because that’s therapeutic for me.

Last tip: While you wait for replies, do something for you and something you absolutely love to do. You finished a book and that should be celebrated!

I will leave you with a quote from one of my favorite tv shows, an Oldie but a Goldie. Castle — Ep. 4×03:

“Rejection isn’t failure. Failure is giving up. Everyone gets rejected. It’s how you handle it that determines where you’ll end up. “


Alexandra Garcia is an aspiring YA/NA Fantasy, Contemporary and Paranormal Romance author. She currently lives in Texas with her husband and 2 pups: Jett and Maggie. She is currently querying her 3rd manuscript and just like all her novels she is a constant work in progress. 
You can find her here:
Twitter | Instagram | Website

16 thoughts on “Signed, Sealed, Delivered and… Waiting for replies!

    1. Yes! There was one day that I received 3 rejections in the lapse of 2 hours, so I just put on my headphones and replayed Firework by Katy Perry over and over. 😊

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  1. Thank you for some amazing advice book to book! I see so many mistakes I made myself here when I was querying, but your story gives me the knowledge that mistakes can be fixed. 🙂

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  2. Thanks for sharing your advice! Very relatable post. I have heard from a few people now to write your next story while you’re querying; that’s what I’ve been doing and it feels oddly therapeutic on those days when a rejection comes in.

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    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it! I just feel at ease knowing that I have so many more stories to tell and that just because one story doesn’t get picked up, it doesn’t mean the next won’t. Here is to hoping! 😊

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      1. “I just feel at ease knowing that I have so many more stories to tell and that just because one story doesn’t get picked up, it doesn’t mean the next won’t.”

        This is such a 🔥 thing to share. Go, Alex!

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