Are you query weary? Have you offered your bright and shiny manuscript up to what seems like a sky-high stack of agents and haven’t made a love connection yet?
You are not alone. Welcome to the business end of writing.
I went to a fabulous SCBWI query workshop last year where I heard, “If you haven’t queried 100 agents you’re not doing your job.”
Wow, 100 agents.
Recently I read on a blog that a writer’s magic query number was 187 before she clicked with her agent.
In my acting days we used to say that if you had one callback in 20 auditions you were doing well. As a writer I equate that to receiving one request for a partial or full in 20 queries.
Is it worth it the hours of agent research and a memory book full of rejections?
You betcha! I’m a first hand witness to the magical synergy that happens when a writer finds THE agent they were meant to connect with. It’s an exciting partnership that inspires and motivates. The journey is worth the prize.
So if you are query weary, here are some hints to keep on the trail to successfully finding the agent of your dreams:
1. TARGET POTENTIAL WEAKNESS AND GIVE IT A NEW COAT OF POLISH:
Channel your Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys self and analyze your track record. Is there a pattern to your “no thank yous” from agents? Can you find a weakness to strengthen in your:
2. GO FISHING FOR AGENT POSSIBILITIES:
There are wonderful blogs and websites that will guide you to excellent agents. Two of my many refueling stations are:
Casey McCormick’s Literary Rambles
Chuck Sambuchino’s Guide to Literary Agents
3. FEEL THE LOVE FROM YOUR CRITIQUE PARTNERS:
They know your work. They are fresh eyes for you. They are going through the same thing you are be it at the agent or editor query stage. In the case of my group they are now cherished lifelong friends and trusted colleagues. Lean on them.
4. KEEP THE FAITH: In the hopeful song PICK YOURSELF UP Lyrics by Dorothy Fields and Music by Jerome Kern from the film SWING TIME:
Nothing’s impossible I have found,
For when my chin is on the ground,
I pick myself up
Dust myself off,
Start all over again.