Thursday, February 21, 2008

Finding the Elusive Agent

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!


TerriRainer said...

Did you hear from Ms. Stone yet????


Mary Duncan said...

Yes, last night she emailed me a nice rejection. No worries! I'll just add it to the pile. There isn't an author alive who can't wallpaper their bathrooms with rejection letters.


TerriRainer said...

3 agents interested now???



Mary Duncan said...

Thank you. Thank you very much!

TerriRainer said...

Any news yet???

My fingers are cramping from keeping them crossed for so long, FREAKING agents!


Mary Duncan said...


Perhaps you should give them (your fingers, that is) a wee break. It may be awhile. I dashed out 37 more queries over the weekend. Out of the last batch of 26, 4 asked to see the first 50 pages, but returned a "no go" verdict. It sure would be helpful if they could tell me what they DIDN'T find interesting enough to say "yes, I'll represent you". I think that's the hardest part. I've had so, so many people read the mss, and they all rave about it, so it's difficult to believe that it's not saleable. It's a tough, rotten, miserable business.

But, I can't help myself now. I must write.

Thanks for the support.