3. How soon should I expect a response? This is a good time to test your skills at reading between the lines. If the agent wants the book concept, but isn’t trying to say it, then consider what he or she could be hinting at with the details of the query. What kind of a book could this be? Could the agent have an opinion about the genre/marketability of your proposal? Do they want to see more first time authors or do they already have a list of author names? Have they already pitched your idea and been rejected? If the agent has put down the synopsis, they may be waiting for the full manuscript and asking for a more detailed synopsis. Are they already in the process of shopping the book proposal or have they already placed the full manuscript?
So here’s the advice I would give to anyone who is sitting at the computer, wondering when that agent is going to get back to them. If it isn’t a brand-new agent, this is probably your first shot at query letter writing. So if you are going to wait for them, do it in a safe place (a quiet room with a coffee/tea and soft music playing) and make sure you have a few hours to spare. Don’t do it in an editing room with the door open for fear of interruption or worse, in a coffee shop.
2. Has the agent submitted the proposal by the submission deadline? A brand-new agent might not have your book ready. They may not be familiar with you and the book. If the query letter is not from the agent, it is really hard to tell what they want. If they haven’t submitted the proposal yet, then you are wasting your time chasing them, and probably their time as well. It is a real bummer to return a rejection email to an agent’s submissions box with the line at the top, “Submission closed 8/13/2013.” But if they have not submitted your proposal, then there is no reason to think they are still interested in your book. If you have multiple submissions, you should keep track of the status and be sure to let the agent know if they haven’t responded or if you aren’t hearing back from them.
After you’ve decided to go the literary agent route, the next step is to research agents, either online or by talking to other authors. It’s likely you’ll hear about agents through your publisher’s representation, but it’s worth your time to do some research in advance, so you can focus on your writing.
Writers can also learn a lot from DuoTrope , a site where “talent search” is performed for screenwriters and novelists. Writers submit samples and get vetted for quality, then score and compete to get funding from the “talent” willing to pay top dollar for quality. I’ve been reading through their missions to see what I can learn.
Another great place to learn about how to be a freelance writer is Freelance Writing Advice , a site that has many many articles on many many subjects that are organized by genre, which I have been analyzing. In my case, I need to learn how to write a better story ! 827ec27edc