Journey to Publication, Part Two

So much has happened in the last two months, but at the same time the publication process moves slowly. I have spent my time writing my query letter (and changing it approximately eight times), working on a couple versions of my synopsis (this took about six edits), writing my pitches and practicing them, researching agents and developing a system for tracking queries.

Of course, I can’t forget the gear up for the Willamette Writer’s Conference. Since my time at the conference is complete, I can report how things went. I pitched to two agents and three editors. I had four requests to see samples of my manuscript along with a synopsis. This is huge my friends! Several of the people I pitched to do not accept unsolicited materials and the only way to get a foot in the door is through a conference. Of course, I would have liked for all five to ask for materials, but realistically, four out of five is incredible.

This week, I will email those requests and really ramp up sending query letters to agents I’ve researched. The system I devised for myself is to only send out one or two query letters a day until I reach twenty. My reason for this is to make sure I take the time to perfect and personalize each of those letters and double check the agent websites the day I send them to make sure they are still looking for my type of book. Also, I want to gauge how well my query letter is being received. If I’m not getting a lot of requests, then I need to revise my letter and try again. Once you query an agent, it’s a done deal. Resubmitting another query to the same agent is simply unprofessional. Therefore, if my letter isn’t working, I sure don’t want to send it to all of those agents at once.

When a rejection letter comes in, (to be expected in this business) I will send out another query to a different agent on my list; the goal is to always keep about twenty in circulation. Every agent has a different response time and queries can sit for months without being read.

I am happy to report that I sent out a small batch of letters prior to the conference and received a request from an agent to send my entire manuscript for review. Although very encouraging, I know better than to stop and wait. It can take up to a year to hear back on a full manuscript submission (I have even seen some agents to confess to being over a year behind on reading). In the meantime, I will keep plugging along until the magic connection is made.

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