Who knew writing would be the easy part. Not me!
Finding an agent…is not…easy. You’d think: they could make money, I could make money–we should all be so happy…but that’s my greenness poking out.
Agents want something. Something you have to consolidate down into a paragraph. Something that says “represent me, I’m the next big deal.” In. A. Paragraph. Holy sh!t is that not easy!
Okay, I am so not dogging agents. Not at all. I want one. I’ll do whatever they say, send whatever they request and try my best. I’m dogging me and my nature. I’m wordy. I like to explain things. I want to write books–not memos. It’s really, really hard…
So…here it is…thus far.
I started querying at 9 am on Thursday, August 25th 2011. I joined a site (for anyone interested: http://www.1000literaryagents.com ) which boasts, as promised, 1000 agents at your finger tips. The process is very simple, you register (it’s free!) and suddenly you’ve unlocked all sorts websites and e-mail addresses. Pretty amazing, no?
((Side bar: How did anything ever get accomplished before the internet? As hard as it is now, and it is hard, it must still be a thousand times easier…right?))
So, I plotted my course, page by page, researching the agents accepting queries from first time authors in Women’s Fiction or Chick Lit. I opted to go to e-mail route, and set my sights of those willing to go electronic along with me.
I did my best to find the agent at each agency that I felt would, either through history or personal statement, get what I was trying to do.
The first query I sent out made me sick to my stomach. Not what I was expecting, but okay…lets go with it. I realized, the moment I clicked “send”, that I had unleashed my private art to the world. It was my moment to scream “judge me! Am I worthy?”…and it scared the you-know-what out of me. Talk about a flash flood of doubt. Suddenly, this project I believed in so hard was up on the chopping block.
But, I kept on, because that’s what we do–we swallow the fear and hesitation down, and keep going forward.
At the close of the day, and I’m talking like 15 hours of “Dear So & So,”…I’d queried 18 agents, had officially I hit my mental wall and called it a night.
…This is where it get’s discouraging…
I picked up where I left off the night before. Bright eyed and bushy tailed, I logged onto 1000 Lit Agents and got back to work. I sent out two queries first thing—and within 10 minutes got the dreaded “Not for me. Thanks” from one that I’d literally just e-mailed not even 10 minutes before. Talk about frustrating…it takes me longer than 10 minutes to decide what I want for dinner, forget about holding someones future in my hands…
%&(#%*# = me.
Just as I’m recovering, giving myself the pep talk “this happens, it’s okay, you still have a bagillion more out there”…in rolls another.
&^&%%^#*(*%*(# = me, again.
Here’s what I’ve learned in…oh…the last 24 hours.
E-mail queries, while amazingly fast and smart and savvy, are a curse. That goes double for anyone with a smart phone and triple for anyone whose e-mail puts the message under the senders name. You hear the little chirp and you immediately check–there is no sensor, no “maybe this is a bad time”…you just check your e-mail, same old, same old. And the rejection doesn’t care. It doesn’t wait until you’re ready for it. No. It just jumps out and smacks you in the face, POW! You’re not accepted.
Putting yourself out there, be it in a relationship or when you’re looking for an agent, is scary. Scary because there is a good chance you’re going to be rejected, and when you click “send”, you’re opening yourself up for that. People will say “it’s all part of the game”…and while they’re right, it doesn’t make the sting go away any faster.
There is no saying that an agent, any agent, will ever see potential in my story and pick me up as a client. That’s what I’ve realized. But that doesn’t mean “don’t try anyway”…I’ll keep sending my queries, and pounding the pavement (and by pavement, I mean keys on my Mac) and hope that somewhere in the slushpile, someday, I get lucky enough (blessed enough) to hear “It is for me…thank you.”
P.S: I wanted to add that to the agents who shut me down–I appreciate that you both reached out to tell me that directly. I understand that the demands on your time are deep and wide, so that you’d give me even a second glance, matters. It may not have been the answer I was hoping for, obviously, but still…knowing is better than not knowing…so, thanks!