I’ve only been researching agents for about two weeks, and I’m already exhausted by the endeavor. It’s not like I haven’t done this before– it’s just that I forgot how difficult it was. This is way, way harder than writing a novel.
First, you have to look up agents using Agent Query or Agent Tracker or Publisher’s Marketplace. Then you have to look at their recent sales, and their interests, to see if your book would appeal to them. Then you have to see what they want (just query, query and sample chapters). Then you have to make sure that they’re accepting email queries. Then you have to make sure they’re actually accepting queries at all, because some aren’t, but not all the websites say so.
Then you have to find out which information is the most current, which email is the right email address.
Then you have to see if you’ve read any books represented by those agents, so you can tailor your letter to them specifically.
Then you have to go to writers’ message boards to find out the real dirt on a particular agent. (Whether they send form rejections, how often they ask for partials, whether they’ve merged with another agency, what their communication style is like…)
Then, you have to check your email 1,095 times a day, to see if you’ve been rejected or whether that agent who has requested a “partial” (several chapters or 50 pages) has emailed you asking to read more of your book. Then you have to grapple with the fact that most agents won’t email even a form rejection to you– their non-response is their “no.”
Sometimes, it takes me up to an hour to come up with one agent to query.
Maddening, isn’t it?
I’m taking a break this weekend, though. No agent research over the weekend. Just writing the new novel.
I never thought writing a novel would feel like a vacation.
Have a great weekend!