Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Search for an Agent-Part 2

Was I ready to give up? Hell no. I had a whole list of agents waiting for something special, and damn it, with Ghost Notes, I had something special.

In September of 2006 I sent query letters and other related items to 25 agents, names I’d culled from,, and other places. I felt pretty confident that I’d get some requests to see the manuscript. With Stuck, I’d sent a total of 25 queries, and I’d gotten four requests to see at least part of it.

As September pressed on, it became apparent that I was in a different publishing world than the one I’d entered four years previous. Of those 25 agents, I received exactly one request to see part of the manuscript, and that came only after some pretty serious cajoling by me. The agent kept the partial for a week or so, but ultimately passed.

In October I got even more serious. I sent out query letter after query letter, 42 in all. I received many nice notes in response, but exactly zero requests to see the manuscript. 42 queries, zero requests.

At that point, it was time to figure out what I was doing wrong. I’d sent to a total of 70 agents, and I had almost no positive responses. I began doubting my query letter—as I’ve explained in previous blogs, if your query letter is no good, no one will ever see your manuscript—and I started to rewrite it. I also took some of Agent B’s comments to heart and went back into Ghost Notes. Once there, I found much I could do to make it better, so I went back to the grindstone, rewriting and editing Ghost Notes, trying to make sure that the next agent to see it would be blown away by what he read. This rewriting and revision took about two months, and in the end I had a new, catchy query letter and a manuscript I was even more proud of.

On January 3, 2007, I sent out queries to another 41 agents. These were my last hopes. If it was going to happen with Ghost Notes, it was going to happen in this batch.

And, finally, something went right.

I got one request for the whole manuscript within a matter of minutes, I got another in a week, and I got a couple more over the next month or so. In other words, I had four requests to see the thing, four very real possibilities of landing an agent. I guess that new query worked. You can read it here.

And they weren’t casual requests, either. The agents were excited. Some were familiar with the Refreshments. Others wanted to know if any other agents were looking at the manuscript. I felt, after six months of querying, I was finally getting somewhere. I just had to sit back, wait, and let the process run its course.

Next week, what did Tom Petty say about the waiting?


No comments: