Yesterday, Melissa Marr raised the question for all the various writers of how we each got our big break? Did we know someone in the business? Did we have killer query letters? What advice do you have for those seeking an agent?
I posted a somewhat brief answer over on Fangs, Fur & Fey, but I wanted to say a little more on this topic. If you read my post on FFF, this is a bit of a repeat. If you haven't, please jump over to FFF and catch how some of the other writers did it. It's great reading, we all seemed to do it a little differently.
But back to me.... mwahahahahaha!
Did I know someone?
Actually, I was lucky enough to know a couple of people in the business. They were nice enough to provide me with invaluable information on query letters, agents, editors, and just general information about the business. These writers were also wonderful enough to get me in front of their respective agents.
However, those agents didn't offer for me in the end. They provided me with great advice and information, but I wasn't a good fit, unfortunately.
In the end, I am a slush pile survivor. After lots of rejections for my manuscript, I was nearing the end of my rope. On sort of a whim one Saturday, I sent out a batch of 5 email queries, just becasue I thought I had slacked in some of my efforts to get an agent. I figured if the batch came back with no nibbles, it was time to switch projects.
Within a couple days, I had 1 request for a full manuscript and 2 requests for partials. Almost immediately, one of the partial requests came back wanting the full manuscript. That was my lovely agent Jenn. She asked for the full manuscript on a Wednesday, and I got the call from her the following Monday offering to represent me. There is no greater feeling. After so many rejections, to have a professional in the industry excited about your work and believe in you is an amazing feeling. I remember shaking and getting teary, and calling everyone programmed in my cell phone. Lesson: STICK WITH IT! You never known when it will finally happen.
After some quick revisions, Jenn had the book in the hands of some great editors and within a few weeks, I had a book deal with Eos and an amazing editor.
Overall, networking is great. It's a great way to get in front of editors and agents. It's also a great source of valuable information For many people, it is how they were able to find their agent, but it's not the only way. There are lots of us who have survived the slush piles.
I think I had a great query letter that succeeded in catching Jenn's attention and some really strong writing won her over.
So, my advice... stick with it. Rejection letters are a rough part of the business, but we have all waded through them.
For more on agents, check out my 3-part series on luring an agent.