PICKY PICKY PICKY
Yesterday I spent 3 hours preparing 5 query letters to agents. Why so long? Because each agent had different requirements. One size does not fit all.
If you are serious about finding an agent, you must do research. One of the best sources I have found on-line is www.querytracker.net
There are plenty of others I am sure, but this one is FREE which is my favorite price.
At this site agents may be searched by genre, and by other criteria if you are willing to subscribe, but I am happy with the free information. What I really like about the site is that is saves your searches, and when you click on an agent’s name, you have their email, and a link to their agency.
After reading about the agency, what they want, what their agents want, and their submission requirements, I print the submission requirements and the agent’s Bio. If you want to show an agent you are not just blindly sending queries to every man, woman, and child on the planet, start your letter with a comment about something you read in their bio. Might be that you like the same movies, or share an interest in travel, or certain food. Try to make your opening sentence personal to that agent.
I must say I get a little miffed when I read an agent does not want to read a letter that starts “Dear Agent” especially since most of them never reply unless they are interested in seeing more of your work. So far that has not happened to me.
Picky Picky Picky. That is what agents are. One wanted only 500 words in the query letter, another 1500 words or less in the synopsis. Each agent had different manuscript requests: 3 pages, 10 pages, 3 chapters, or only 10,000 words. So I had to prepare different files for each to paste into the emails since most will delete mail that has attachments.
Here my helpful tips to make this process easier:
1. Do maintain a submission journal, if only to prove you are working.
2. When emailing a query, send a blind copy (BCC) to yourself (CC: other can see who you mailed the email to. BCC no one knows who is receiving a copy.)
3. Make an email folder for your submissions and put the copies there.
4. If you want to use a similar letter for several agents, prepare the letter in your word processing program, then paste it into an email.
5. If two agents want similar info, prepare a personal query, synopsis, and sample of your work. Mail a blind copy to your self, then open that email and select FORWARD…and then STRIP off all the forwarding details, take FWD out of the Subject line, and change the name of the agency and the agent. DO NOT type in an email address until all corrections are made. The last thing you want to do is send a query letter with the heading of one agency to another one. OOPS! Hard to recover from that.
A final bit of advice: Our devotion at our last SCWG meeting asked the question…What is keeping you from what you want to achieve? What stumbling blocks are in your way? Pray, ask God about your writing. Be patient. He wants to use our talents for his glory, but in His time, not ours.