Snips From The Agent Search

Since commencing Operation Agent Storm on April 1st (which, in hind sight, maybe wasn’t the best day to contact a bunch of strangers to ask them to sell my book for me), I’ve received a wide variety of responses The last two weeks could only be described as the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of querying.

It began with the first wave of replies from a stack of snail-mail queries I sent out—maybe four came the first day alone, making it undoubtedly a big pile of grotesque Mr. Hyde-ness. Maybe I should call myself the Master of The Form Rejection since I amassed quite a variety. I try not to think of how thick that stack of mailing envelopes was, stuffed full of impeccable partial manuscripts and ever-so-considerate peel-strip SASEs, which I mailed off to certain doom.

The postman wasn’t the only bearer of bad news, as a sprinkling of e-jects fell like a warm Spring rain of NO. After a week of distemperate query replies, I finally got a sweet spot of sunshine—a partial-on-partial from a popular agency.

The sunshine lasted well into last week, during which I had three responses worth blogging about.

One was a request for a full from another popular agency. The response was immediate—I received it maybe ten minutes after I sent the query. The timing was perfect. The query was perfect. The thrill was perfectly palpable. I hope it endures.

Another was a rejection from an agent who remembered my query from a previous contest—and said it was a good one! Unfortunately, she said, it wasn’t what she was looking for it right now. Perfect query, bad timing. Still. That was one happy NO.

The third was, well, weird. I’d been researching an agency that appeared to be a great business but to me seemed intimidating. Maybe it was the NO UNPUBLISHED WRITERS NEED APPLY notices all over the site. I was on the fence. My novel is unpublished, but technically I’m a published author of other writing. My finger hovered over the send key. Do I? Don’t I?

Eh. I did.

The auto-reply email that popped back a few moments later stressed that unpublished writers will be treated like so much shredded paper and odds are I won’t hear a reply unless I knocked their socks off. I wrinkled my nose, stuck out my tongue, and said sour grapes. At least I tied up the server with my query email. Petty, true, but I felt better.

Then another email.

I figured it was the agent writing back to yell at me for wasting his time with my query. I hitched up my mental pants and braced myself for the worst.

And was pleasantly surprised.

The first line was industry standard thank-you-for-querying. The next was a personal congrats on the awards I’d won with the ms. The third was an apology that he doesn’t handle my particular genre and the fourth was. . .gasp. Can it be?

A referral.

My first referral. I am now the proud sender of a query that began “I am writing at the suggestion of Old So-and-So who thought you might be interested in my manuscript. . .”

And thus ended Week Three of Operation Agent Storm. So long, Mr. Hyde. The good doctor is back and I hope he’s here to stay.