I don’t mean to harp on any one part of the publishing experience, but this one bears repeating. Literary agents are one of the most valuable tools an author can have. Aren’t you curious as to how I know this? Well I’ll tell ya. I don’t! It boils down to what I’ve read. No doubt a literary agent is a boon to those authors who have managed to acquire one.
Then again, I believe it would be more likely to be sucked up by a tornado, struck by lightening and bitten by a shark all while summiting Mount Everest than obtain an agent. This is something I can speak on with authority.
I have contacted hundreds of agents with queries, requests for various parts of my manuscripts and the promise of my first born. I’ve received form rejections, told that the story was exceptional; however, they couldn’t fall in love with it and a plethora of other reasons. I did receive one response from a very sweet agent who enjoyed the query and chapters I sent. The more I read the more I knew this was it. What I had been slaving for had finally come to pass. Acceptance, I tell you, acceptance from the ones who had deemed me unacceptable. I had finally cracked the nut, escaped my cell of rejection and reached the pinnacle of pinnacles.
Alas, came the word “but.” I was dashed upon the rocks below, once again to dwell beneath the radar of agented representation.
I’m not trying to slam agents. I realize how hard it must be to pick an author to represent when each author you select represents your income. To make their selection process more difficult, literary agents receive hundreds of manuscripts a week, which equates to many thousand a year.
I still receive rejections from queries I sent over a year ago. I don’t want to self-publish; there are too many aspects of releasing a professional novel that I don’t feel proficient enough to tackle alone. Instead, I focus on small presses.
To wrap this blog post up, if you’re searching for an agent, make sure you have thick skin, dig in and get ready for an extended exchange…it nearly slipped my mind, but while you’re sending queries and awaiting responses, don’t forget to enjoy your grandchildren when they arrive, they grow up so quickly.