Completed Literary Agent List

I’ve had a goal for a while now to form a list of at least 50 literary agents that I would like to query. A detailed list, with plenty of information on each and ranking from the ones I’d want the most to the ones I’d still be happy with but aren’t my top pick. 50 became 75 at some point and tonight I finally achieved that. I always thought I’d be done with my query letter by that point but I just started on it tonight (which means I’ll probably continue researching until I find a 100 lit agents).

And I didn’t even finish a first draft! Something about queries scare me, probably the concept of summing up a 85K manuscript in 250 in a way that is creative, enticing, and perfectly polished. I’ve done a lot of research on queries, and there’s no such thing as a perfect one or a formula for success (that’d be nice but, of course, too easy). I’m sure I’ll get it eventually. I have a couple different ideas of how to approach the query but I’d first actually have to approach it.

Then there’s the synopsis to write, which I’m less worried about. While I find minimizing my 85K words into one to two pages of plot difficult, I know it’s not impossible. I’ve actually been working on a synopsis off and on for a while, so by the end of June I’ll have a good one for sure.

I guess the whole point of this post is to mark a milestone in the querying process for me. The research has been mostly completed. Which is a bit sad, I am very good a researching and I enjoy it. It’s also far from frightening. Moving to the next step, querying to actual agents, means preparing to hear ‘no’ a lot. I’m not bad with rejection, I more than understand it’s not personal. It’s just easier to avoid that, right?

Anyway. Now I just need to finish the query letter and synopsis then I’ll finally be able to start querying. It’s exciting and a little scary — like all great next steps in life. I hope to take this plunge at the start of July.

2 thoughts on “Completed Literary Agent List

  1. Hey JQ: Don’t know if its an option for you, but I found the “pitch slam” at a recent writers conference to be a great jump on this process. You have 3 hours to pitch as many agents as you can (it’s on you to know which agents present handle your market). The pitch is an in-person query, which did two things for me: 1. I walked away with four agents asking for a submission — meaning I had just queried and gotten a “yes” without having to fight with the million other emails they get each day; 2. Having 3 minutes to pitch forced me to realize what the selling points of my story were. Though it’s easier to TELL someone what it’s about (don’t need the grammar perfect, etc.), it made the process of query writing easier to figure out, too.

    Just a suggestion – I know that timing and money don’t always make this a realistic option!

    • I would love to go to a writers conference, but thus far I haven’t found one that would work with my schedule. But I am definitely going to try to get to one, thanks for the advice.

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