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  SASE's Return (continued)

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Technique #2: Start Your Next Project before Querying Agents 

You've likely heard this advice before.  It's the standard suggestion for lessening the sting of rejection.  The idea is that, since you've just spent weeks, months--maybe years--laboring over your manuscript, all your hopes for validation as a writer have become centered on your most recent project.  Once you start a new project, the thinking goes, all your energy and hope transfers to it.  The manuscript about which you are querying is no longer your center of attention and therefore you are less likely to feel crushed by a rejection. 

This technique works, but it can fall short if your time is limited.  A lot of effort goes into the query process: finding the right agents/editors, understanding their needs, crafting a good query letter, managing the comings and goings of correspondence.  If your writing time is limited, you can easily spend it all on the querying process with no time left over to devote to your next project.  After all, it takes work to start something new (research, plotting, character creation, etc.), and it can be weeks or months before you're actively writing your next manuscript.

For this method to be effective, you may have to sit on your recently completed project for a few weeks to give yourself time to get engaged with your next project.  This also gives you a chance to get the query process going, so that by the time those SASEs begin rolling in for your first manuscript, you're already putting the finishing touches on chapter three of its sequel.  (It also doesn't hurt to set your newly finished work aside and take a fresh look before sending it out to agents and editors.)


Technique #3: Prepare Your Next Query Letter BEFORE You Get Rejected 

Also common advice:  As soon as you receive a rejection letter, immediately send out a new query. 

I don't know about you, but after going through the pain and trauma of receiving a rejection letter, the very last thing I want to do is send out another query and make it happen again.  You can avoid this dilemma by writing your next query before you receive your SASE.  If a rejection letter equals Hopes Dashed, then there is nothing more reviving than placing a new portion of Hope in the mail, right away. 

Tips for success:  Make it as easy as possible to send out the next query.  Print everything out.  Have stamps in place.  Sign the letter.  Stuff the envelope.  (Since you won’t know exactly when the query will go out, don't include a date on the letter.  Fear not, if the editor or agent really wants to see your work, they won't reject you simply because the date is missing from your query letter).  That way, when you do receive your SASE, it will take minimal effort to launch the next query.  There's nothing like seeing a half-dozen query letters ready for action to combat rejection letter blues.


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