Query Letters

Lately, I’ve been gearing up to trying to find an agent to represent me as I try to sell Surviving the Plague.  What I’m going to do after I finish my NaNo novel is to take my beta reader feedback, do a third draft of the novel, and then start looking for an agent.

Querying agents is as foreign and terrifying to me as the initial thought of submitting my short stories was.  So I’m going my usual route to compensate for a lack of confidence–extensive research!

One of the most helpful things for me when I was thinking about this process was the Writing Excuses podcast in which Dan Wells and his agent talked about why his query letter stood out to her.  Clearly, different agents have different likes and dislikes, but it always helps me to have a template to work from when I’m trying to do my own thing.

I’ve been practicing a lot of query letters, and I think I finally have a solid pitch down.  I have a short list of five really great YA agents that I intend to send it to first.  I know that five is a very low number (my novelist first judge sent queries to over 100 agents, for instance), but I feel very similar to how I feel about my short stories.  I want to be represented by someone I have confidence in or I don’t want to be represented at all.  I’d rather wait and do it right than rush into something I’m unsure of.

Besides, I know that I’ll probably want to tweak my letter if I don’t get any interest back at all in the first batch.  And the same would go for a second batch, or a third batch, and so on.

I also have a page in my submissions spreadsheet set up to track responses.  That makes it feel real to me.  The page looks at me and tells me that I AM going to do this.  I can’t chicken out now, not when I’ve come so far.

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