The process of getting an agent is interesting. Tonight I had some unused time so I’m sending queries to a new batch of agents.
Every agent has their own criteria of what the submission should contain. The first component is the query letter–a one page letter that describes the story, including the genre and length, and a blurb about myself as an author. The query letter is the author’s one shot to catch the interest of an agent.
Some agents ask for a synopsis in addition to the query, a page or two in length, with more detail about the story. Once again, the concept of the story has to be compelling enough to interest the agent.
Some agents want one to three chapters of the book; sometimes instead of the synopsis, sometimes in addition to the synopsis. And some agents just want the query letter by itself.
One agency’s website proclaims that they receive about one hundred email queries plus twenty to fifty mailed submissions PER DAY. That’s a lot of material for an agency to read, even when spread among many agents!
IF my submission stands out amongst this much competition, and IF my story matches what they’re interested in, they’ll ask for the entire manuscript. That’s a lot of pressure on a query submission!
Most agencies don’t send rejection letters any more, due to the sheer volume of material they receive. I have received a few personal rejection letters encouraging me to keep submitting. But no one has asked for the entire novel yet.
Remember George McFly in Back to the Future? “I couldn’t stand the rejection.” So he never submitted his work.
An aspiring author has to press on regardless, in the face of daunting odds, to achieve publication.
Next week I head off to a Writer’s Conference that focuses on how to pitch your work and how to self-publish. What I’ve been doing to date hasn’t achieved the desired result, time to learn more about this business of getting published.
I’ll keep posting as this tail unfolds. In some ways it’s more interesting than my first novel!