Saturday, July 01, 2006
Q & A 61 Whom do I query first?
I've been querying agents with my novel. I went through all the agents I could find that handle the genre, indicate they're open to new submissions, and don't have anything bad about them on P&E. I checked out their websites and blogs. I checked out what others on the net are saying about them. Then I divided up the agents into the A list, the B list, the C list and everybody else.
I'm new at this so I started by querying my 5 favorite agents on the A list. Of course, I quickly realized AFTER I sent my letter that it could be written better (and yes, I wrote it, let it sit a while, read your blog and Miss Snark's and a host of other stuff--but alas insight never dawns until the mail is posted).
So I've improved my query and when I got rejections, sent off the new version to the next most favored set of 5. Now I see how my synopsis drags in the middle and needs revision.
All of this is a long way of asking--do you start querying with the agents you hope for most? Or do you start somewhere else, knowing that even the submission process is an evolving route?
And if you didn't start at the top and got offered representation, would you feel crummy for not reaching for the gold ring first?
Reading Evil Editor's blog was a step in the right direction. But did you submit your query to Evil Editor? Or is Evil Editor on your C list?
Evil Editor sees your problem. You're worried that at the current rate, by the time you get your letter perfect, the only agencies left to query will be the ones on the 20 Worst Agencies List. Hey, why not query all 20? If you don't get 20 acceptances, you know your query needs a massive rewrite.
Once you've weeded out the losers, you should not feel crummy if you find representation from an agent on your B or C list. You should feel thrilled. Feel crummy only if your agent isn't meeting realistic expectations. And take heart in the knowledge that while hiring a good agent is extremely difficult, firing a bad agent is easy as pie.