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.

Query Shark

220+ queries later and I’m finally finished reading all of QueryShark’s archives (queryshark.blogspot.com). I was taking notes the entire time, weirdly enough I was hand writing them which I haven’t done since sophomore year in college. After I go a netbook, I started to type everything up.

The last time I checked, I had horribly handwriting but surprisingly enough I can read everything I wrote. I guess I probably write clearer when I don’t feel the pressure of time like I did in college.

Anyway, QueryShark was an amazing asset that I’m very glad I came across. Janet Reid is the agent that takes the time to update the blog to show writer’s what an agent thinks when she’s reading through a query. It’s amazing to me that she has the time to do that on top of being a popular and successful agent.

A third of the things that she pointed out was what I already considered common sense. How she had the patience to tell people time and time again not to add the agency’s address or your own to the top of an e-mail clear is beyond me. Or not to add the “TITLE is X words and a thriller/romance/whatever novel” part at the start of the query. But everything else was very enlightening and gave me a good checklist of what to do and what not to do in a query.