Query Quest

One writer's journey to getting published

Sarah Fister Gale

Sarah Fister Gale
Chicago, Illinois, USA
August 07
Sarah Fister Gale is a freelance journalist, novelist and wine-drinker based in Chicago. She is agented by the fabulous Jacquie Flynn of Joelle Delbourgo Associates who is currently seeking a good home for her novel, Losing Jenni, a story of a little girl who drowns in the Chicago River, and the amazing choice her mother makes to cope with her loss. Follow her on Twitter @SarahGale.

JUNE 18, 2010 6:13PM

Query Quest #5: The web was made for writers

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This week I made a triumphant discovery.

I am not alone.

Apparently the world is full of rejected writers, some of whom have completed this journey successfully, found an agent, and went on to publishing fame; some who  never found an agent, but are still writing; and many who are currently slogging down this path with me, hauling their 300 page double-spaced unbound manuscripts behind them like a lovingly crafted ball-and-chain.

It was a joyous discovery in  a week that, as many of you know, started out quite poorly (click here to read about that  http://bit.ly/aBpcMX). Two back-to-back rejections reared their ugly heads out of my in-box last Sunday night – followed by another rejections a few days later.

They left me feeling like an  unloved, undeserving failure of a writer, but then the miracle of the Internet assured me that I was wrong on both counts. I am a fine writer and my day will come, the virtual world declared. And I must admit, that’s exactly what I was hoping it would do.

I began this blog because I am an admitted hermit. I don’t belong to writer’s groups, or attend book club events. I haven’t worked in an office in years, and I don’t miss it. I’m a freelance writer and mother of two who works from home, and the little socializing that I do participate in is typically conducted on playgrounds and alongside the neighborhood pool.

I could have colleagues and business lunches and attend conferences, but I’d rather bang my head on a brick wall. I like my hermit lifestyle exactly the way it is. I set my own hours; I am never forced to chat with someone who I loathe just because we have adjoining cubicles; and my daywear is identical to my sleepwear -- with the small but important addition of a bra, and possible a pair of flip flops if it’s garbage day.

My isolation is a perfect place to write, but I discovered recently that it does have its drawbacks. Most notably, there is a decided lack of writerly sounding boards who will commiserate with me about the terrible heartaches of querying.

Sure I have friends and family who are eager to offer encouragement, but they don’t understand a damn thing. My sister attempted to comfort me with the reminder that lots of people who write books never get them published – that makes me feel so much better  --  and my husband just hovers nervously at my office door whenever I open another rejection, wondering if he should hug me, ignore me, or open another bottle of wine. (David, if you are reading this, it’s always choice number three).

I appreciate their efforts, I really do, but they aren’t writers. They don’t know what I’m going through, and they have no idea what’s normal for this experience. It’s difficult to judge how I should feel when I’m only (aspiring) author in the room.

But now thanks to the wonderful world of social media, I have thousands (all right, dozens) of new writer friends who have graciously propped me up and given me a wonderful sense of perspective on my querying rejection drama.

They’ve left words of encouragement on my Facebook page, retweeted praise for my blog on Twitter, and shared their own stories of agent rejections and triumphs on a couple of Linked In writer’s groups with whom I shared this saga.

It feels good to know that I’m not alone, and even better to receive such support from so many virtual strangers. I feel like Sally Field winning the Oscar. You like me, you really like me.

Your words of support helped me get over the woes and get on with the process. I rewrote my query – more on that soon – and sent it out to a new batch of agents this week, who I’m hoping will like me as much as you do.

And in the meantime, thanks for reading this blog and sharing your stories with me. The web was made for writers, and I’m glad I’ve finally found so many of you so (virtually) close to home.


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Ditto to all of the above (especially choice number three) xx
Sarah, I just read your #4 as well. I just wanted to suggest... if you're going to go for the calories, and you can afford a bottle of wine, why not a baguette and some brie or something? Macroni and cheese? Ick.

So um... how about a sample chapter or something?
You're right Divorce Bard. Calories are like fine wine, if you are going to splurge, go for the best. The buzz is better and the hangover less intense.
If you are interested I'd be happy to send you a chapter. It's riveting stuff.