Thank you for the opportunity to consider your work, but I am sorry to say that I do not think this material would be right for me, and therefore I would not make your most effective advocate. Please remember this is just one agent's opinion, and there may well be other agents who feel differently. Thank you for thinking of me, and best of luck.
The good news is that I actually received a reply to my query! The bad news is that this is another agent to cross off my list. The worst news of all is not knowing why my query was rejected.
As you have just determined, I am currently seeking literary representation for my new novel. Why, you may ask, is someone who previously self-published a suspense novel with moderate success (some 10,000 copies downloaded), seeking a literary agent this time around? There are huge advantages in self-publishing – I know this from experience. I had total control of the look and feel of my book; I was in charge of marketing and promoting; and I could easily revise the text with small corrections whenever necessary. It was an awesome feeling, especially when reading the many positive reviews the book received.
I acquired quite a bit of experience about the self-publishing process and I frequently share tips with other aspiring authors. I have no doubts that I can self-publish my new novel as well, building on my previous success to gain new readers and more sales.
|Querying for literary representation? Welcome to the slush pile!|
But first, I am considering traditional publishing. There are a number of reasons why I am doing this. I believe that my writing has improved since completing my previous novel. The new book will have far greater marketing potential. Add to that the fact that I am an established, regular blogger at both The Times of Israel and The Huffington Post – I think an agent, and afterwards a publisher, will see the advantages of working with me.
Traditional publishing will open new doors. It is the only way I would get my book into book stores; it is the only way mainstream newspapers would agree to review it; and it is the only way that the book would have a possibility of being translated.
In my search for a literary agent, I am seeking someone who will share his/her enthusiasm for my book, someone who will help me promote and sell it. Signing a literary agent would be a significant achievement and would serve as a stepping stone to the main objective of selling the book to a publisher.
I am realistic about my chances. The publishing market is changing and literary agents are very hesitant to take on new authors. I am one of hundreds, actually thousands, of authors seeking literary agents and no matter how persuasive my query may be, the chances of being noticed are very slim. As one agent stated on her web site: she receives hundreds of queries every day, but only signs two or three new clients a year. Those are not great odds.
Even so, I carry on. I have done my research, compiling a long list of suitable agents to contact. I only send queries to those agents who will consider the genre of my book (suspense/thriller) and who are open to new authors. I submit according to the guidelines listed by each specific agent, including synopsis and sample chapters where appropriate. Each time I click the “Send” button I am full of optimism. And then I sit back and wait.
Advice commonly given to authors at this stage in their career is to make a handful of submissions, and then adjust query letters and elevator pitches based on the response. This is hard to do if a) there are no responses; and b) those who respond do not state the reasons for the query’s rejection.
To be an author, you must have thick skin. The lack of response is upsetting, but you can't let that stop you. The rejections hurt, but you must endure. The bad reviews after publication sting, but you must continue to write.
To be an author, you need to believe in yourself. If you are confident that you have achieved your goals in your writing, show it to others. Don’t forget to ask for help along the way. Beta readers can give you objective comments and honest feedback. Professional editors can correct embarrassing grammatical errors.
As I finish writing these lines, another impersonal "Dear Author" rejection arrives in my Inbox. Another agent to cross off the list. But there are still others to query. After all, it only takes one agent to say "Yes" to proceed. If you never query, you will never get rejected.
Surviving the quagmire of querying is just one of the many challenges on the path to publication, but there are many ways to get your book published. Don’t lose sight of the end goal. Continue to write!