I have never consistently looked for an agent. Every couple of years I’d send a few queries, but I mainly subbed to editors. Why? Because in the children’s market, you can sell without one.
Four years ago, I sent a dozen queries. One resulted in a full request, another in a partial. The full came back with a handwritten page gushing about how great my manuscript was for young girls and how someday I’d sell this and have to let her know, but, you guessed it, it wasn’t right for her. That manuscript has since been through three major overhauls, changing it from a multi POV to first person, from a journal format to straight narrative, and from a three-year time frame to one.
The partial was returned with “I think I’ll pass.”
I got caught up in revision, other manuscripts, and the lure of conference one-on-ones that lead to full requests. The agent search never really got off the ground.
Until this year. I’ve had to be honest with myself. If I want to look at my writing as a business, I’ve got to be doing some serious planning. No more hoping the next editor will snatch up this manuscript or that. No more waiting on fulls eleven plus months with no word. If I was going to walk away from the classroom and write full time, I needed to be acting like a professional. I needed an agent.
So, mid-spring I started subbing in earnest while my students were off at Spanish and PE (thanks to all who now take e-queries!). I’d send about three at a time, submitting between twenty and twenty-five total. By May, I’d gotten my first full request. In June I got two. In July two more. In September another two.
The thing is, I’ve been querying agents with my mind in matchmaker mode: I pick the manuscript that seems to best fit the agent’s interests, query, and hope Mr. Agent will fall so in love, the other manuscripts will be loved, too. So, these seven full requests have been for four different manuscripts. Evidently, this isn’t the normal way to do things, I’ve been told, by an agent who requested a read.
Kristen Torres-Toro says
Wow! Congrats on getting so much interest, though! That says that you have real skill–especially since they are for different works. I’m interested in reading more of your story tomorrow! Have a great day!
I agree with Kristen–the fact that you’ve had so many requests means you’ve got talent. And I think it’s fabulous that you’ve been getting requests on 4 different projects! Everything you write must be great.
Caroline Starr Rose says
Thanks, ladies. Just this morning I was revising (once again)the girly mid-grade. Yuck. It is very blah, or at least I’m feeling it is.
Oh, I do want to hear what this agent had to say.
And I second the earlier commenters, that it says something about your skill to get so many requests for different projects (even if an agent thinks that’s the wrong way to proceed).
Jody Hedlund says
It sounds like you’re working very hard at querying! With all of the requests, I hope that you will be able to find an agent that LOVES something and offers representation! Because you’re right, an agent can help direct your books to the right editors so much more easily than we can. They know the business and they often know what editors are looking for.
I’ve had similar experiences looking for agents. It can be so frustrating when they ask for a full, then say “not for them”. Love that you’re sharing this. Looking forward to your updates on this. Good luck!
Still, that’s exciting. I have only ever gotten the standard “this isn’t for me” form rejection for every query I’ve sent out and never had a full requested. The problem I have is that I just keep thinking, if only they’d just ask to read my manuscript… but they never do.
It’s awesome that you’ve had such a positive response.
Caroline Starr Rose says
Thanks, all. I got a rejection on one of those fulls today, so your kind words help me to remember to keep my chin up.
It sucks but you have to stay positive. Just think of it as that agent’s loss, which means that it will be someone else’s gain.
Corny but true.
Also, chocolate/booze/baby animals can also help.