Part 3: And Now You Wait
Things didn’t take nearly as much time as I remember them taking the other two times I went agent hunting, when everything had to be done through snail mail. This time, if someone still required a snail mail submission, I put them to the end of my list to query. There’s nothing wrong with them requiring snail mail, and I understand their reasons, but personally I wanted someone who wasn’t going to make me shell out cash and kill trees to show them my work. I’d like to reduce my carbon footprint and agents that take e-subs help with that. That’s just how I feel; others will feel different. Less than twenty-four hours from my first query, I received my first rejection, and by the end of the week I’d gotten another three, all forms.
Early in this part of the process, I remembered that I had an account at Querytracker, from when it first came out, and after seeing they hadn’t deactivated my account after four years of inactivity, I started using that. What is Querytracker? It’s an online agent database that, like Duotrope’s Digest, allows you to keep track of your submissions, and for a modest fee, they will let you look at the raw data being collected. It’s got a kind of social networking aspect as well, but I didn’t really do much with that, preferring to keep my personal information undisclosed. They also have a forum that has a lot of really good information, particularly about what to do once an offer comes in, but more on that later. Being a stats hound, I chose to upgrade to the premium membership so I could see specific dates for responses and what genres particular agents were responding most positively to at the moment (such as my agent has been requesting a lot of fantasy, but it’s very rare for her to request the full manuscript after the initial query, like she had with me.). I spent entirely too much time watching postings over there, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself while I was doing it.
The other useful thing about Querytracker’s premium membership was that it was easier to spot which agents were non-responders, which made it easier to move on in the querying process. I also knew which agents responded to everything and approximately how long it took them to do so. Compared to my previous efforts at querying, everything felt significantly more transparent this time around.
After my first round of queries turned into 7 form rejections and 3 non-responses, I decided I needed to revamp my query letter. I did another round, this time of 5, but quickly decided that one wasn’t working either after a swift 5 form rejections rolled in. So I did another rewrite, taking a completely different direction with it, and also did an overhaul of my opening pages, which I suspected were failing me as well. I then sent out my next batch. This time, the first response back was a request for the full manuscript, which felt like a vindication, a sign that I was finally on the right path. Just over two weeks had passed since I’d sent out my first query, so not too long of a wait in the grand scheme. I continued sending out more queries though, not really expecting this to turn into anything, especially since my new query was racking up the form rejections just as fast as the previous two versions. I was fully expecting my request for full would turn into a rejection; that’s how I keep from being crushed by disappointment.
So I practically fell out of my chair in disbelief when exactly three weeks later Andrea emailed me back wanting to talk to me on the phone.