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Okay, You’ve Finished a Novel — What Now?

I started querying in May with an amazing event put on by a middle-grade group I’m a part of on Twitter. They ran a series of educational Zooms educating everyone on how to write a good:

  • Pitch
  • Query Letter
  • Synopsis

and how to make your first pages shine so that agents will be more likely to request more.

It was really well put together, and the roughly 100 participants essentially had a dedicated audience of ~25 agents who agreed to read.

Pretty amazing. Even better, two of them requested pages from me — one a full!

Walking on sunshine, right?

Over the following weeks, I slogged through QueryManager to submit to a number of other agents, including the agent who ran my March Futurescapes group and invited me to query her after it finished.

Things were happening!

But then… they weren’t. And I don’t necessarily mean that in a “bad news” way, I just mean that nothing was happening.

I was theoretically prepared for this. I had read about how slow this process typically is. And had people tell me you just have to move on to your next project or you’ll go crazy.

But… how, exactly?

It’s not that I don’t have ideas. I have several. But how to choose?

Plus, even though you’re supposed to basically forget about your completed manuscript and let it play out on its own, I still needed to keep querying. It felt like I had queried lots of people in those first few weeks, but in reality — besides that one contest — it was really about a dozen.


So that’s where I’ve been for the past few months. Trying to keep one foot in the querying world while struggling to move forward with something new.

I’m not writing this to complain, but just to answer the question in the title: you put the finished work out there and you move forward with something new.

And it’s hard. It’s really, really hard. Especially when you inevitably question whether your finished work is really finished and want to reread it 50 times and change everything.

But you can’t. Or at least, you shouldn’t.

Maybe it does need work, but you’ve already got it out there with people.

See how your current version works. And if it doesn’t, you can reexamine it after you’ve completed your next WIP and you’re waiting for people to respond on that.

Such is writing life.

For myself, I’ve moved forward by reading other people’s work, searching out contests with prompts to encourage me to at least write something, and choosing one of my novel ideas and starting to outline it.

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