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Here I go again, back on the query trail

It's been three years since I last queried. It's not something I've been relishing doing again.

For me, the writing career went along traditional lines.

Write the book
Find out it's not as good as I thought
Hone the book
Seek an agent

 All right, so it was for my second book I snagged an agent, but that's not unusual. I snagged one, drew a sigh of relief and looked forward to having her support during my writing career. And then, things didn't work out, we parted ways amicably (it's all in this post which was originally on my friend Millymollymo's blog: and I'll not rehash old ground.

Since then, I've been busy. I made a fairly half-hearted attempt to find an agent afterwards, and then the book I was subbing found a home with the lovely Inspired Quill and I had nothing new to put in. Also, I was busy - I had books to bring out, audio books to proof, promo to do - and barely had time to write anything new.

Now, I am. I've finished a new Young Adult sf book (ironically, the book I was writing for my agent at the time, and my first real attempt at a clean YA without the cross-over to adult Inish Carraig had), and I've just sent off the first few queries.

So, that being the case, here's some thoughts with my older and - possibly, miracles do happen - wiser head.

1. It's not the be-all-and-end-all. When I was first querying I was obsessive about it. I checked emails all the time, I hoped, I emailed writing friends, I trawled #MSWL and the like continually. I made it such a big deal,i it caused me a lot of stress.

Yet, here I am, three books out, more coming, new contracts negotiated, and I'm still standing. Unagented, and still published.

Don't get me wrong. I really want an agent. I believe I'm at the point where I really, really need someone in my corner. But if it doesn't happen, I know it won't stop me being a writer. It just might affect the vehicle I do it under (because, make no mistake, if this little book doesn't find a home, I'll self-publish it, very happily. That's the great thing about having more than one platform to publish under.)

2. It's okay to show a bit of yourself in query letters. Agents are not robots. I've had so many helpful, kind responses from them over the years - and most are good humoured, if overworked, people. Once you take away the fear of the agent as something so special you can't touch them, it makes the whole process easier.

3. But it's still hard. It's still my work out there, that I hope is good enough for someone to love. It's still going to sting if someone doesn't.

4. I've done it once before. That gives me confidence that I might again. Last time it took persistence, perseverance, and some reworking of the story. If that's what is needed again, so be it. I've got persistance and perseverance practically stencilled on my forehead by now.

5. Keep busy. I'm going to let the first few run out and see where they go. I don't have time to be obsessive this time - I have two lots of publishers waiting for me to finish edits and rewrites. I have short stories to get to. I have another book I want to finish. And I have my fantasy duology grinding to get out. And let's not mention the sequel to Inish Carraig. Honestly, this time, the deal is not as big - and that's to the betterment, I think.

So, there you go. My words of wisdom to myself, if you like. It's okay to be seeking an agent again. It's okay to find it hard and soul-destroying. It's not so okay to let it become more important than it is.

On that note, if everyone could send good karma and some cake, that'd be good.