Friday, April 1, 2011

Sneaking Suspicion...

Researching, as I have been doing for the past few weeks, for that perfect agent, I've had this sneaking suspicion growing in the back of my mind. Since I know you (whoever "you" are, if you're anyone) are just dying to know, I'm going to tell you:

I'm not going to find an agent through a query letter.

But wait! This is not me getting down on myself. This is "sneaking, conniving, scheming and planning" Julie mode. Not "the world is crashing down on me and I'm a totally worthless writer" Julie mode. You see, I've been reading up on a lot of different agents lately. I read their bios. I read their blogs. Their facebook pages, I Google maps stalk them (okay, not really) but you get the idea. And without fail, I've noticed that precious few of them actually admit to taking writers on through query letters. Oh they will give tips on how to write a good query and what have you will, but when it actually comes down to it, even WITH a good query, they don't take all that many query submissions. If we had to give it a percentage, only about 1-5% of an agent's pool of authors come through query submissions. The rest of the 95? Referrals and writing conferences.

This is quite enlightening for me and I have no idea why I didn't figure this out earlier. But, in lieu of this new information, I have changed my strategy. Since I don't know any published writers who would be willing to give me a referral (still working on bribing my Aunt into giving me her niece--Stephenie Meyer's--mailing address) I'm forced to conclude that my best option is: attending writing conferences.

In addition to fabulous speakers that give you all sorts of yummy writing tips, these conferences usually invite agents, editors and publishers to speak and offer their time up for consultations. These consultations offer hopeful writers (such as myself!) the opportunity to personally pitch their book to an agent or publisher and get personal advice from editors on how to improve their writing. Now OF COURSE that is a better way to get an agent than a lousy email! Its not even a question that a personal pitch is going to have a better impression on an agent than an impersonal email or mail submission. And this is what I've been competing against?? Its no wonder that pitiful query submissions such as mine get pushed into the slush pile.

Thus, although I probably won't give up my query submissions completely, my new summer writing strategy is simple: look up and attend as many writing conferences as possible.

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