My WIP is getting close to ready. I can feel it.
As a result, over the past few months I’ve been considering the query process, and how I plan to go about it.
In my regular ruminations on the subject, I always seem to run up against this little nugget: if I submit at the same time to every agent on my list – what happens if 99% reject it, and 1% send me a personalized note suggesting an important change. If I then make that important change – who is left to query with my newly corrected manuscript? Nobody, that’s who.
Instead my plan is this: query in waves. First I’m going to develop a list of agents I feel might be good matches for myself and my WIP. Then I’m going to chunk that list up into groups, ensuring that each wave includes at least one agent that really gets my heart pumping. Then? Then I’m going to submit to the first group and begin crossing my fingers.
My approach is a tad complicated, and probably slower than it need be, but it allows for course corrections – and that’s important to me. This is my first attempt at this, and I don’t expect to be perfect right off the bat.
It’s an intimidating process, but at least in the search for an agent you’re only dealing with one variable: finding a good match.
But imagine if you were pitching directly to publishers! You’d be dealing with two variables at once: finding a match for your WIP, AND finding the best deal. In that scenario, the incentive to take a staged approach to submitting is almost reduced to zero.
On another topic, I’m thrilled to hear of the recent success of @HeleneBoudreau – a Canadian writer who sold two books through her US agent (@BostonBookGirl) this week alone. And I’m terribly psyched for another Saint John writer who is right now managing the response from her query wave #1. Yes, it’s edge-of-your-seat kind of stuff, but it’s just another leg in this journey that requires that we have faith in ourselves and our work. It’s not for the faint-hearted.
What are your query strategies?