|Photo: Fa Barboza
I'm not embarrassed to say I check the status of my picture book submission once a week.
It's easy to do. When writers submit a manuscript on Query Manager, they receive a link so they can check on an agent's decision.
Query forms simplify the submission process for agents. Though they are not complicated, I kind of dread filling one out. There are a lot of areas that need to be completed. Here's what agent Carlisle Webber's query form looks like.
Generally speaking, writers are required to give their name, email, phone number, bio, book title, word count, and genre and supply a query letter, the manuscript, and a pitch. Sometimes, there will be a space for a synopsis and similar books. In addition, the agent may request Twitter and website addresses, which show a writer has a platform that can reach an audience.
For me, the challenging part is writing the synopsis. A synopsis is not the same as the book description. The book description gives story highlights in an intriguing, selling kind of way without giving away the ending. The synopsis describes the entire plot of the story and reveals the ending. Because the query form can be daunting, it pays to have the synopsis and the book description already written (as well as the pitch and the query letter) so that these parts can be pasted into the form.
Completing the query form is time-consuming and it feels like I'm jumping through hoops in order to please an agent. Nevertheless, I try to fill it out carefully. This could lead to an offer of representation.
But each time I finish a form, I feel doubtful. Have I spelled the agent's name correctly? Are there any grammar mistakes? Do the links to my website and Twitter work? Is the query enticing? Is the pitch snappy? I read it multiple times over several days. I say a prayer before I submit it. Several prayers.
Then I check back, feeling a little nervous, until I read this message:
No decision has been made about your query at this time. Please check back later.
✌ and ♥