Last week I sent out 23 queries to literary agents specializing in my genre (if it can really be described). I'm going for historical fiction for Sightless. Out of the 23, I've already had 4 returns. But wait! They weren't ALL rejections! One agency wanted to see the first three chapters and a synopsis. I promptly sent her the requested material, and now I wait.
Now, writing query letters is an artform in of itself. To me, it's much more work than writing my books! If I could pay someone to write the perfect query letter (one that agents actually makes an agent want to see my work because the hook was too terrific to pass up), the synopsis (a 1 page and a full blown, what-the-book-is-about one), the dreaded chapter-by-chapter outline, and whatever else each agency wants to see just be have them return all your hard work and effort with a form letter saying something like, it's not your writing, it's our passion that's lacking to promote your work to a publisher. And those are the elaborate ones! Sometimes it's a business card saying thanks, but not right for us at this time.
To sort of be fair about it, I know agents receive thousands of queries a week. That alone would be a daunting task to go through, never mind find the jewel in the rough and want to proceed with it further. But, it's still a hateful, dreadfully slow, agonizing process that one must go through to pay our dues. And pay and pay and pay.
So, the waiting begins. Most agents will return an answer within a month or two. Some take just days. I guess it's a good thing there are thousands of agents out there to choose from. I just hope the one who will represent me isn't the last one on the list!