Ready to Query

Julie Ballantyne Brown
3 min readDec 30, 2022

Buckle up, buttercup.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

A few weeks back, I finished writing another book. Not a novel this time. I went back to what got me published in the first place: nonfiction. I didn’t write about nineteenth-century hairstyles again, though. I happily penned (typed?) a nonfiction book for kids about ghosts.

Yep, ghosts.

I won’t get too much into the subject matter, since that isn’t the topic of this article, but stay tuned for updates on this particular journey. Suffice it to say that although this is a much shorter work than what I usually write, it was a labor of love, and something that I would have enjoyed reading as a kid.

Anyway, when I had a reasonable draft ready, I asked for volunteer beta readers to go over it, and was happy to have several people come forward to help.

(This part is always gut-wrenching, by the way. Sending your creative work out into the world to be critiqued is enough to make any writer cringe and curl up under a weighted blanket. There may be writers who enjoy that sort of thing, but they are outliers and we don’t like to talk about them.)

My beta readers were very kind, but also very good at being honest about what they liked, what was muddy, and offered different structuring suggestions to improve the flow. This week, I really got to go through all of the advice, bit by bit. I pondered some suggestions, readily made corrections, and adjusted some awkward bits. I read it over and again. Ultimately, I decided that it was as ready as it would ever be and opened the online manuscript wishlist to start scoping out agents. (For anyone else interested in looking for an agent, or an editor, go here: )

I’m finding it more difficult to find a prospective agent this time. Most handle children’s fiction, but not nonfiction. Or they represent adult nonfiction, not children’s. I am finding a few, though, and I’m really sending all of the good vibes and juju along with my query email.

Then, the waiting begins. This is where the journey gets stressful. Rejections are guaranteed.

Sometimes the rejections are swift and kind, coming almost immediately. I’ve actually gotten rejections back on the same day. Those are the best, in my opinion. It’s like ripping off a…

Julie Ballantyne Brown

Future London resident. Follow Julie on Twitter: @BrownBallantyne or on FB and Instagram: @JulieBallantyneBrown