Friday, November 1, 2013
The Great Literary Agent Race, Part 6
Now for the query process in August 2013...
I had kept track of those agents I'd met at conferences who had either requested a query or pages, along with those I'd met at the WNBA-NYC Query Roulettes, and those who'd expressed interested in 'Client Relations' following the webinars I'd taken.
In fact, I had a list of every agent I'd met, queried, or wanted to query, using a fantastic free internet site: www.querytracker.net. This site allows you to keep your own private query list, with notes on each agents (i.e., I noted when and where I'd met them, what they'd asked for, what they were like, etc.). You can track when and how they were queried, when they responded, etc. This really kept me organized.
In addition, I used Querytracker.net to look up other agents whom I hadn't met but wanted to query. The site has direct links to agency websites - very smooth and easy.
I didn't query any agency without reading their blogs, reviewing their agent bios to see who might be a good fit, then Googling all interviews given by each agent I liked, to be sure that querying them made sense for my book and for me. Checking the agents' book/client lists for genre and any writers I recognized was also mandatory.
Other places I looked for agents to query? Chuck Sambuchino's Guide To Literary Agents blog (http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents), Publisher's Marketplace (you can see who does deals frequently, what genre/s they sell, how they pitch books, etc.). Also Twitter runs a 'what I'm looking for right now' day for agents to post their wish lists. I read the 'Acknowledgements' pages of my favorite writers. The 'Absolute Water Cooler' website also has an extensive library about writers' experience querying agents, as does 'Agentquery.com.'
Basically I researched the hell out of agents to determine which ones to query.
So how did I write the actual query letter?
I read a zillion blogs -- including a few agents' blogs that ripped queries apart; I took a few Writers' Digest query-oriented webinars; I went to agents' presentations about queries at the writers' conferences I attended; I took my query letters to the WNBA Query Roulette for agents' reviews and comments; I had Chuck Sambuchino (one-on-one meeting at the 2011 Writers Digest conference) review it; I posted it online at thenextbigwriter.com; I edited and revised and gave myself headaches... and honestly, I was still catching mistakes and tidying it up through mid-August 2013.
Of course, my biggest fear happened: I sent a query to Agent X in an email addressed to Agent Y. Inevitable, when I was sending out about fifteen agent queries in one fell swoop, but nonetheless embarrassing.
Oh, I need to tell you more mechanics before I actually sent out my stuff.
Coming up next!