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.

 

 

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About Dave

A reader and writer of speculative fiction. See my website for more information on me and my writing. https://dlmorrese.wordpress.com/

Posted on September 21, 2017, in Self Publishing, Writing. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I stopped a while ago. I got an in with an agent with a good reputation and fantasy clients. He had a team of readers and gave them my book. I was thrilled but when the comments came back it was clear that for most of them the experience of reading my book was like sticking pins into their eyes. It was clear that absolutely none of them got the humour. But one commenter made a criticism proved beyond doubt that he had read the blurb and one random page at best if he’d read it at all. It was kind of humiliating and left me thinking that a lot of no is definitely better than an ill fitting yes. I have now exhausted the tiny pool of agents here in the UK who deal with sci-fi fantasy AND humour. But I think the US comes over add a bit more open to sff and a little less hidebound by convention.

    All the best with your quest. I hope it bears fruit.

    Cheers

    MTM

    • Thanks, MT. You don’t have to restrict yourself to UK agents. Two Canadian agencies are among those I queried, One represents an American author whose work I like (and who I’ve actually met and chatted with on one occasion). I sent the last queries only a week ago, so I still might get a positive reply, but I’m starting to think the entire effort is pointless. πŸ™‚

      • I think it’s worth doing every now and again. I do intend to maybe query us and Canadian agents at some point but probably will wait and do them with the uk ones again once I’ve had a chance to network with a few. You can meet them face to face at the kids of events you can go to if you don’t have kids and have time! Later for me. Sounds like you’ve been doing that anyway if you’ve met a few. I did see one author talk about how she got her agent and basically it was bumping into her regularly at events, them getting on well and the agent finally agreeing to take her on after what she described as begging. πŸ™‚

  2. Reblogged this on adaratrosclair and commented:
    I can totally relate to this author. I recently submitted a polished and critiqued manuscript to an agent. Their website states that their response time is no more than 8 weeks. Well, this particular agent responded to me within 24 hours. One day. I had a sinking feeling that it wasn’t good news. 😦 Well, I was right. He rejected it sweetly, politely, and implied that he was the problem. God, I felt like I was the hopeless lover in some bad romcom where the guy professes, “It’s not you. It’s me.”
    LOL. πŸ™‚

  3. Hey there. I can relate with your experience. I recently submitted a polished and critiqued manuscript to an agent. Their website states that their response time is no more than 8 weeks. Well, this particular agent responded to me within 24 hours. One day. I had a sinking feeling that it wasn’t good news. 😦 Well, I was right. He rejected it sweetly, politely, and implied that he was the problem. God, I felt like I was the hopeless lover in some bad romcom where the guy professes, “It’s not you. It’s me.”
    :*( Keep on doing what you’re doing, D.L.! We’ll succeed.

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