So my querying journey ran headlong into a wall the other week. I’d been sending out query letters and the first several pages of my story for a fortnight or so, happily exploring QueryTracker and garnering rejections but expecting these as par for the course… when I stumbled across an agency website page which stated word count expectations for a variety of genres.
Blow me down but they were wanting between 35K – 80K for Middle Grade. The piece I’d poured my blood, sweat and tears into, barely tipped the scales at 27K.
Heart attack! What if the rejections I’d been getting weren’t because the agents didn’t feel like they liked my story enough… but instead were rejections out of hand due to my paltry word count? Had any of them even read my pages? Was I counting myself out of the running; doing myself and my story a disservice because the word count wasn’t hefty enough?
So I withdrew all active queries, and thought. And thought, and thought some more.
You see, I’d originally intended the story I was querying to be but the first in a 7-part series. And yes, even though I *know* it’s not wise, I’d gone blithely ahead and drafted the majority of all seven stories. And all of them were in the 27K – 33K range.
It had occurred to me within seconds of reading that page, that I could be staring down the barrel of seven rejections, based simply on word count!
After a period of grieving at the thought of my story never reaching an audience, I realised a mental re-adjustment was in order. Then it hit me.
Why did it have to be a 7-part series? What if it were a trilogy instead?
As in, Books 1, 2 and 3 becomes ‘Book 1’.
Books 4 and 5 become the sequel.
Books 6 and 7 then finish the arc as the ultimate title in the series.
Huh! Word count target achieved! So now I’m editing what *was* Book 2, which I’m hoping will become Part 2 in my newly enlarged novel.
Let’s see what happens when it’s done, huh? And now I’d best go: I’ve QUITE a lot of editing and polishing to do!
See you next month, dear Reader!