Beyond the Pages
If there’s one thing that draws authors together, it’s the dark and mysterious world of querying. It’s a cruel beast of rejection, ghosting and heartbreak, and in some circumstances, it can offer a glimmer of hope to a rare few.
Not too long ago, the publishing industry relied on paper submissions as a tool for authors to get their work seen. Today, it's more instantaneous with digital querying and direct contact with agents and publishers. It’s never been more accessible for authors to reach out on social media and ask their dream agent a question and receive a response right away.
However, with the abundance of literary agents comes competition – and lots of it. Most agents are swamped by queries, some receiving over 1000 in one week! It takes strength and durability to be an author – to research, write and edit your book, and submit your book baby to an industry professional who can change your life with a yes or no.
Querying can be a debilitating experience. It will eat away at some, nibbling at their self-worth and mental health. It might take minutes or years for an agent response, and in some cases, an author will receive a form rejection, a generic, impersonal response. However, it’s not one-sided. Agents are swamped with clients, queries, and their day jobs, often posting updates on their social media to ease some of the pressure bearing down on them. The publishing industry is a fickle beast, with strikes, buy-outs, companies collapsing and the forever demand for that one book.
It’s a lucrative business, and as of 2023, the global book publishing industry had a market size of $115 billion. Before COVID hit, book sales were plummeting, with book shops around the world closing down. The COVID pandemic drove a new wave of readers and interest to the industry, creating demand. Fresh agents and publishers started popping up everywhere, taking advantage of the plethora of authors wanting to publish their work.
Today, querying authors have an abundance of ways to submit their work for consideration. Online pitch events, tracking websites, social media and even pitch apps have provided writers a chance to be seen. But it comes with a cost – long wait times, ghosting and competition. It’s hard to read about your peers getting agents and book deals while you’re still “in the trenches.” If you’re a “newbie” writer or even a seasoned pro, you would have seen firsthand the power of the author community.
Support is around every corner, people offering guidance, feedback, and virtual hugs for those who need it. We may be “competing” for an agent or a life changing book deal, but at the end of the day, authors need to lean on one another. If it wasn’t for us, there wouldn’t be a publishing industry, no?
Thanks to Kellie for this wonderful piece that we can surely all relate to. If you would like to check out Kellie's work, click on the links below.