Welcome, fellow writers. This is our last lesson for this four-week session Finding Literary Agents. Let’s get to it.
Today, I can’t stress etiquette enough. I know you’re from the Gen X and you’re used to getting your own way with a firm and demanding “gimme!”…or is that Millennials…? Regardless, there’s a whole world of opportunity which will open up if you can keep a cool head and simply learn to be polite. Foreign concept, I know, but you can do it.
Ya’ll are gonna unfollow me after this, hahaha… “Fanny’s such a rude@r$& b□tt!”
Okay, so hopefully you did your homework and have a booklet of multiple agents to contact. And by multiple I mean MUL-TI-PLE. You’re going to want to send out queries in incriments of 5 or 10. It really is a numbers/waiting game. All right, writers, start your engines…
Here is where etiquette is crucial. Agents, like publishers, recieve dozens, maybe hundreds, of queries a day. They’re inundated with possibilities. Keep that in mind when weeks go by and you don’t hear from them. Your query is most likely to catch their eye if you can be polite, professional, and friendly. There are some key things to look for when querying:
Preferred method of contact
Manuscript/no manuscript (also how much)
I encourage you to personalize each query letter to the specific agent you are sending it to. Nothing elaborate, but see if you can speak to the person and not to the entity. They are humans. If you can reach their imagination and spark interest, you have a much better chance of getting picked. Obviously, don’t treat them like you would your best friend, but really see if you can relate to their interests.
Edit your queries just like you would your book. Have a trusted friend or teacher beta read for you. You really, really, really don’t want typos in your letter, and you want it to catch people’s interest. If your friends think it’s boring, the agent will most likely think it’s boring too.
Now, once you send out your first batch, make sure to check those agents off in your list. While you’re waiting, you can sit back and keep writing. Give it a few weeks before you begin this process again. And keep your chin up! Stay focused, stay positive, and stay determined.
Thanks for reading!
This has been,
Fanny T. Crispin
*Literary Agents – Where Are They Hiding???
*Week Four; Interrogating Agents (Politely!)