Querying Literary Agents For the First Time
If you’re an author querying literary agents, let the joy begin. Writing a manuscript is daunting enough, but let’s talk about the joys of querying literary agents. I published my first memoir and book, Manifesting Me: A Story of Rebellion and Redemption with a hybrid press. It gave me the opportunity to learn about the business of being an author. With that said, I wanted to try publish my debut novel in the traditional way. That involves querying literary agents.
Where To Begin Querying
Where does one begin this process of querying agents? Me? If I don’t know how to do something, YouTube is my best friend and teacher. Book Ends Literary agency has a wonderful and informative channel on everything querying along with some other channels. https://www.youtube.com/c/BookEndsLiteraryAgency I find this one most helpful and honest.
First, you must have your manuscript complete to the best of your ability, have a one sentence hook, break down your manuscripts into first 10 pages, 30 pages, 50 pages, synopsis, your word count, know your genre, and most importantly your query letter. Fortunately, most literary agents tell you exactly what they want you to submit.
Research, Research, and More Research
Research, research, and more research on literary agents is vital and the most time consuming part, which you would think writing would be. Ok, the writing is more enjoyable, at least that’s my opinion. And the odds are not really in your favor. I’ve listened to many agents’ interviews on the topic and what I gathered is it’s about 1 out of 100 queries that are accepted. Those are kind of frustrating odd. But you need to be smart and not waste your time on agents that would have absolutely no interest in your genre. If you could read one of their clients’ book to give you a sense of what they like, is a good option. Although, after researching as many literary agents as I have, I don’t read that quickly to read that many books.
The good news is there is most likely someone out there for you, which calls for some faith and stamina. You have to think of this as a search for a business partner. So, you wouldn’t want someone that doesn’t want you. I am in the process of querying at this very moment of writing this blog and have yet to get a request for my full manuscript.
Is There a Time to Give Up?
Giving up isn’t really my thing. I’ve worked too hard, like most writers, to only throw in the towel. I am hoping that whoever reads this, doesn’t give up, also. That doesn’t mean we may not have try something different, do a little tweaking to the query or even to your manuscript. Understanding that all topics won’t resonate with all agents. Everyone struggles at some point, and this process may not seem fair, but life isn’t fair, nor was it meant to be. We learn when we overcome our obstacles. These obstacles will only make us better writers. So embrace rejection and learn from it.
Wouldn’t it be sad if you gave up just before the next literary agent would’ve given you a contract? There doesn’t seem to be much joy in querying agents when you are only receiving rejections, but many of the greatest and most successful authors have experienced this too. Thank goodness, they didn’t give up. What would we do without Stephen King, J. K. Rowling, or Jack Canfield?
It’s been awhile since my last blog, because I’ve been working on the manuscript that I am actively querying. I’d love to hear where you are in your process and how you feel about it. Try to find joy in querying agents, because this is one part of the author’s journey. Happy querying.
“It’s part of life to have obstacles. It’s about overcoming obstacles; that’s the key to happiness.”