Status on My Agent Search
With completion of my ninth novel, I decided to try turning my writing hobby into more of a vocation. After all, my previous books are doing all right. Reader reviews (for which I am immensely grateful) are averaging above four stars, and I am receiving small but consistent royalties. I wondered if it might be time for me to go from ‘indie’ to ‘pro.’ I figured the first step is to find an agent.
So, rather than jumping into designing a cover and reformatting my latest completed manuscript for publication, I began searching for an agent. There aren’t as many as I had thought. I found only 28 that: a) were open to new submissions, b) represented the types of books I write, and c) are seemingly reputable. I may have missed some, but using the resources available to me, that’s all I could come up with.
Over the last several weeks, I’ve sent queries to all of them. The last went out yesterday. So far, I’ve gotten six responses, all rejects. I appreciate those because about half of all agencies advise authors that they only respond if they want to see your manuscript, which means you end up maintaining false hope far longer than you need to.
It’s difficult not to feel discouraged by this process. If you’re an author, you know what I mean. You work on your story every day for a year or more, preparing outlines, writing draft after draft, revising, editing…. Finally, you’re done. You think your completed novel is great. You’re proud of it. You are certain readers will love it, but first you have to get literary agents, the gatekeepers to traditional publication, to look at it, and they won’t. And what’s worse, you don’t know why they won’t. If they grace your painfully crafted and personalized query letter with a response at all it’s a normally a generic form letter that politely says thanks but no thanks. They don’t even want to look at your book. Your work is rejected without anyone actually seeing it.
I suppose agents receive a lot of queries. There must be millions of people like me who have completed novels. Agents can’t possibly read them all. I understand that. I don’t like it, but I understand it, which is why I’m grateful to those agents who respond, even if it is only with a form letter. It’s better than nothing.