seeking the elusive agent.
Patience is required both when writing a book and when one is attempting to get it traditionally published. From the first contact with a literary agent, it takes weeks, even months before you hear back from the agent or agency. The exception is the person with plenty of money and/or great connections. Most celebrities who write books don't have to go through all the stress and hard work that the average person must go through to get a publishing contract.
Rejection slips are part of most writer's lives. People like Stephen King and J. K. Rowling received plenty of them before they were published. For most aspiring writers this is a part of life.
I have queried several literary agencies in search of an agent to represent my manuscript/novel "The Awakening". I have gotten several rejections and I am still waiting to hear back from a couple of others. I have learned a few things along the way.
I bought a book titled "Guide to literary agents". It not only lists agents and agencies, but it offers a lot of helpful hints. I recommend it but don't use it exclusively.
I began on the first page of the list of literary agents. I checked under the heading of each agency to see if they were accepting manuscripts for the genre that I am writing in. In this case I looked for those who accepted science fiction stories. Then I look up the agency on the internet. Sometimes you will find differences between the book and the website but it's usually pretty close. Definitely go by the website. It should be the most up to date.
The book tells you how to submit to these agencies, but it is a general recommendation. All the agencies I have come across tell you what they want and how to submit your material. Very rarely will an agency accept snail mail. They want it electronically. And I can't imagine sending it any other way.
A few agencies want you to send your material through their email often requesting that it be incorporated in the body of the email. That's fairly easy. It's just a matter of copying and pasting. Then there's the other way which it seems that more agencies are gravitating to. They have a portal. You simply fill in the spaces with the information requested and hit "submit". I wish all of them were like that.
What the agencies are requesting are pretty much the same. This refers mostly to fiction. To start with they want your name, the title of your book, and the word count. They require a query letter. This is to introduce yourself. Some of them ask for specific information, such as experience. A synopsis is often required. It usually consists of one or two pages but go with what they specifically ask for. Sample pages are also required. They can range from a few pages to several chapters. Some will ask you to name a book that's similar to yours and how your book is different.
My advice is to follow their directions as close as possible. These agents get a ton of submissions, and you wouldn't want to get turned down on a simple technicality.
I am still seeking a literary agent for my science fiction novel. It has been a couple of months now and I have had three rejections. One letter, a personal response, was encouraging. The agent said she loved the concept and there were some good qualities in the story but unfortunately it wasn't quite right for them. It's depressing to get turned down, but most successful authors have racked up quite a bit of rejection slips before finally making it. Also, agencies ask for only a few sample pages along with a synopsis and your bio to make a decision. I can understand that, though. Most agencies get hundreds to thousands of queries every month. They don't have time to read entire novels unless they feel strongly that one has merits.
Currently I have two queries out to literary agents. One I submitted a month ago. The other was just a couple of weeks ago. It may be days or weeks before I hear from either one of them.
Something else has come up. I submitted my manuscript directly to ANGRY ROBOT PUBLISHING COMPANY. It is a publishing company located in the UK but accepts authors worldwide. They accept mostly science fiction. Normally you have to have an agent, but once a year they accept manuscripts without an agent. I was lucky, or blessed, to find them right at the time that they were open to new authors. I sent them the first three chapters. If they like what they read, they will request the rest of the manuscript. Here's hoping!
When I write a blog, I try to keep it relevant. Often it will be about writing and books. I also review books that I read.