Yes, it's true. My dream literary agent is reading my full manuscript & yes, I have 2 partials out there as well!!!
Not only that, but:
On Tuesday, I got a message from my dream agent that made me happy dance for 24 hours...of course, NOW I'M GOING BATSHIT CRAZY!
To top it off, on Tuesday night, Lynn Coady, a CAPE BRETONER!! won the Giller prize. She is such an inspiration & so deserving. I totally recommend you listen to the podcast of her interview with Jian Ghomeshi if you haven't already. (oh, and BUY her books!!)
But, back to my novel and the DREAM AGENT. Here's the first lesson I learned:
If you do these 2 simple things, you'll increase your chances of landing that dream agent significantly. (at least I hope so)
Before continuing, I should explain something to all my non-writer friends:
1. What the heck IS a literary agent, you ask?
Seriously...agents are well-connected professionals in the publishing world who (if they represent you) will pitch your book to editors and publishers, negotiate contracts, ensure payment of royalties, etc. etc.
Canadian agents, particularly, are about as easy to find as fruit flies in the frozen tundra.
(Aside: my latest novel is sort of like that kid still living at home after 30...you get the idea...)
The thing is this:
Large publishing companies like RandomPenguin, HarperCollins, and others don't look at manuscripts from non-agented authors.
2. So what's the big deal about having agents reading your partial or full manuscript? (it's not like you have a publishing contract)
Allow me to share a few stats from one agent with you:
(who incidentally works at one of the agencies that requested my partial)
Average queries agent received/week:
(That's whopping 5200 queries/year!!!)
Request for partials/full manuscripts requested:
Approximately 3 partials and I full
Of those 4, only 1 gets representation.
Them's the chances of landing her:
Knowing this is enough to make any writer give up, commit suicide, or self-publish.
One highly respected agent recommends maybe to give up after 100 and go back to the drawing board and revise manuscript or start another one.
I laughed in an "I can relate sort of way" to one response I read on this advice:
"Give up after 100? My plan was to give up when the zombie apocalpyse had rendered all agents and editors interested only in braaaaaaaaains, and I'm not talking literary brilliance."
I haven't reached the 100 mark yet, but I did send out 10 queries this year.
Of those 10, 5 requested more pages or a partial, and 1 requested the full. The stats last year were bleaker, but I did get some very valuable feedback.
Now back to the most important lessons I learned:
2. Do query widely, at first....
...but be patient, wait and if you're lucky enough to get feedback, consider it carefully and then revise as appropriate before you send queries to your dream agents (I made a list of 3).
3. Never, never, NEVER let one rejection get you down.
Till then, I'll keep banging away at the keys on my other 2 novels-in-progress.
And still looking mostly like this:
So, that's my story & I'm stickin' to it!!
Thanks to all of you for the support you've given me during the ups & downs of my writerly life.
Some day, I hope to return the favour.
(this could be in the form of ONE DAMN FINE PARTY!!!)
Here's to y'all,