After a year and a half of writing and editing whilst working full time, I have come to the point where my book is all but finished. Save for a few edits of the final chapters, I feel that I have done my best possible work on my novel and that means it’s time to start sending our queries to Literary Agents. In this instance, I’m not going to write a post on writing query letters because quite frankly, I have never written one before. After looking at around fifteen different website, all of which were actually quite helpful, I went with my gut instincts and wrote a first draft, then a second, then I edited the query and as of yesterday morning I felt officially ready to send out my first chapters.
At first, I was nervous and just a little anxious, sending out query letters is almost worse than applying for jobs as the material you’re sending is deeply personal. However, after checking my email content several times I finally hit that send button and sent my queries to just two agents. This may seem like a small number but the best advice I have received so far is this; send your query to between 4 – 8 agents at a time. This way, you can deal with the responses accordingly. If you receive no responses, then you need to change your QUERY or your SYNOPSIS. If you get responses but they are negative, then maybe you need to have another look at the first few chapters. This way, you test the pool of agents slowly, with the first few being almost like a focus group. In this method, it’s possible to fix what needs to be fixed for the future agent that will hopefully respond with WE LOVE THIS BOOK!
I count myself in the fortunate group of people when it comes to queries. Yesterday morning I sent my first two queries and by yesterday evening I had received my first REJECTION, as follows;
Thank you so much for allowing The Knight Agency to consider your material. Unfortunately, after carefully reviewing your query, we’ve determined that this particular project isn’t the right fit for us at this time. As I’m sure you know, the publishing industry changes swiftly now, as do readers’ tastes and trends. As a result, our own agents’ needs shift and change, as well; therefore, we would like to encourage you to consider querying us with future projects as you may deem appropriate.
Again, thank you very much for allowing us this chance to consider your material, and we wish you all the best in your publishing endeavors.
Is this sad news? Absolutely not! Within 24 hours, an agency not only ready my first chapters, but responded in kind with an email that, while almost definitely is copy and pasted, ends the anxiety I feel with this particular agent. The best news to take from this is that the people are out there, and the people are reading. With my first rejection comes my first task as a hopeful author, the inspection of both the query and the chapters. What can I change? How can I alter the material to be better suited to a reader’s current mindset? Unfortunately at this stage it is trial and error but for the first time in my life I am revelling in the rejection because it means that firstly, I have something worth rejecting and secondly, someone took time in their day to give my novel a chance. Can an aspiring writer ask for any more?