Querying Literary Agents – DO NOT give up
First of all, remember this is a process. If I told you it was going to be easy, I’d be lying. I was on the verge of giving up more than once. And even now, I’m still not there yet. Rejection is a part of the process, and a part of your eventual success. Stephen King used to pin his rejections slips by the dozen to the wall in his bedroom. So think of rejections as your battle scars, and by the way, it’s ok to feel terrible…rejection sucks ass, but toughen up – they may sting but they won’t kill you. And you know what they say, if something doesn’t kill you, it only makes you stronger. Dust yourself off and do it again.
Be prepared – most of the time, you’ll receive a form generic “no thanks” response. However some agents will take the time to let you know why they are passing. Take their advice. Robin Rue’s assistant from Writers House told me about the 100,000 word guideline. When I had submitted to her, my novel was 142,000 words – way more than any publisher (far less agent) would consider for a first time author. I listened and edited….and sent more queries out.
It will be hard but don’t get discouraged – the best things in life don’t come easily. Put yourself in the right mindset and stay positive. A former very wise boss once told me, “this is a numbers game, the more you put out there, the greater your chance of getting interest.” For every 10 queries you send out, you may get 2 or 3 back requesting a partial or full. Out of those 3, a fraction of an agent will be interested. A fraction folks….as in a hand or an ear or a toe. So you know what that means? If you want to get an actual “whole” agent, you need to….query, query, query. Increase your chances of success by thorough research and being professional in your query. And most of all, don’t give up.
It will happen.