You’re ready to start sending queries… YAAAAAY! It’s pretty straightforward from here. Email the query you’ve worked so hard on to the agents you’ve researched so diligently.
For me, querying was a roller coaster — no joke! Like the fastest, craziest ride ever.
Oddly enough, the hardest part about my query submissions was being in Provence that whole week. I had almost no internet, so I couldn’t obsessively check my email! That week will forever be the most surreal, amazing vacation in my memory… Wandering vineyards and eating French cheese while having agents request materials — Dreams Really Can Come True.
I chose to follow a method offered by the Gatekeeper — what she calls the middle route. I chose 1 name from each of my lists (Dream, B, C), and I sent off my query and the requested pages/synopsis.
To some extent, I was testing the waters. I didn’t want to contact all 30 agents if my query wasn’t compelling or my sample pages sucked. I would have burned all my best bridges then! So I went slow…***
***KEEP IN MIND: Even though I was waiting to see how the agents would respond to my query and sample pages, The Spirit-Hunters was still in The Best Possible Condition. Like, REALLY.
I tweaked, changed, polished, and scrubbed until I hated my novel. Then I tweaked, changed, polished, and scrubbed until I fell in love with it all over again. It took me 1 month to write, but 7+ months to revise. Get as many people to read it as you can — people whose feedback you trust. I had, like, 8 people read/crit scenes. When my toughest and most experienced beta reader declared my novel okay, I knew it was.
You have to do this too! Why? Because this is your ONE CHANCE to get that agent. If they read a partial/full only to reject you, then that agent is no longer a potential agent for your novel. So you can’t give them any reason to reject you — at least not reasons that are in your control.
What you can control: pacing, description, voice, plot, character! Typos, grammar, flow, hooks!
What you can’t control: taste, preference, what else the agent is representing/reading. (While these are all viable reasons for an agent to reject you, remember they aren’t reflections on you, but on the agent. Different strokes!!)
Back to the story…
I received 2 full requests the same day I queried. Needless to say, I was shocked and GIDDY. Screaming around the house. I sent out the full manuscripts (you can see how to format this email here), and then I contacted 1 more agent from each list (Dream, B, C).
By the next Monday, I had 2 more requests for fulls. I shot out some more queries — all to dream agents this time! I realized I had something good here, and I didn’t want to miss a chance with my Dream-of-all-Dream agencies.
I sent out 11 queries total, and I had 1 pitch during that time — so I contacted 12 agents.
My first offer of representation came on Thursday, October 14th. I was FREAKING OUT EXCITED. I think I might have cried for joy. My in-laws definitely didn’t understand what was so amazing or why I wanted champagne that night. No one gets how hard it is if they’re not in the “biz”, ya know?
After the offer, I immediately contacted the 8 agents who were still in possession of the manuscript, and I told them I wanted to make a decision within a week. (You can see how to format this email here.) Then I guzzled some more champagne and waited.
Tomorrow I’ll talk about The Call(s) — how it happened for me with multiple offers, the questions I asked the agents, and how I made the brutal decision. You could very well be in my shoes soon enough!!