Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Agent Find 2008

Tip of the Day: when wearing high heels for the first time in three years, it’s probably best to refrain from walking in mud.

Now that the New Year is settling in and publishing is emerging from its holiday break, many of you in the Awaiting an Agent phase might be getting ready to send queries, have set your resolutions for the year to secure an agent, and feel like 2008 is going to be your year.

First I have to say: GO YOU!

The first of the year always feels wonderful to me. It’s like you get to start a new chapter of your life, and cleanse the bad of the last year away, for good. And the excitement to start the New Year off with a bang is fresh and…well…new.

But the bad thing about the start of the New Year for publishing and agent seeking, is that before the beginning of 2008 comes the end of 2007. And at the end of 2007, comes something if you are like me, you dread seeing. The good-old Year End Agent Query Reports. Like this, this, and even this just in the new year.

And if you are like me, your first instinct at seeing numbers like that is to hyperventilate.

Because if Agent Kristin Nelson got 30,000 queries in 2007, then how many queries is she going to get in 2008? Basic mathematics—or at the very least publishing trends—surely suggest the number has to go up, doesn’t it? And if she took on eight clients in 2007, then clearly she doesn’t have as much room left on her client list, right?

And no matter how excited and pumped you are for the New Writing Year, seeing statistics like that can be overwhelming.

Well, my advice to you, fellow Agent Seekers who might be overwhelmed by those stats, is to print them out and shred them to little pieces one by one. Or if you are against paper shredding, then take those stats to heart with a grain of salt. Why am I giving you this advice? Because if I give it to you, then I have to take it myself, right?

Yes, but aside from that, if you could magically chisel away all the people that queried for genres the agent doesn't represent, didn’t revise their manuscripts once—let alone multiple times, sent queries to the wrong agent, and all those that didn’t personalize their queries at all, then the number would be much more manageable. And if you are savy enough to read blogs like this, study the industry, personalize your query letters, and the myriad of other wonderful things I know you fellow Agent Seekers do, then you are ten steps ahead of the other thousands upon thousands of people submitting to agents.

I started the year in 2006 and in 2007 gung-ho to get an agent. Though I had many close calls, I still don’t have one. But what did happen was that my writing has improved tremendously, I’m much more market savy, and I feel I’m much older and wiser, if you will, with this third book. So my time spent in 2006 and 2007 looking for agents, I wouldn’t trade for anything, and it only means my chances of securing an agent in 2008 have increased ten-fold.

And that excites me.

It also drives me.

Because I know I’m not only closer to finding an agent right for me, but also my publication goal.

So here’s to a great 2008 Agent Find.

Till Next Tuesday,

Emily, Miss Awaiting an Agent


DeenaML said...

What is also exciting with each new year is how many new agents there are representing your genre! I was always excited to see the new additions in agentquery.com when they listed YA/MG as their interests. The kidlit area is expanding, which is great for agent seekers (and all of us kidlit writers).

Plus Em, you write killer query letters and get tons of requests for pages, so I know you'll find your match soon!

Emily Marshall said...

Thanks Deena, that's very true. Good point about there being new agents in the YA/MG area all the time. And thanks for saying my query letters are good. Now, I just need to work on killer first pages :)

Kate Fall said...

Great post, Emily, I love your links! I'm looking forward to seeing your search play out successfully this year. And I love how you all keep reminding me to think POSITIVE.

Maybe we can post about query letters sometime. Killer query letters sounds intriguing to me!

Emily Marshall said...

Yes, staying positive is key, Kate. I'm excited to see how your own search plays out, too. It should be fun.

And talking about query letters sometime would be good. Maybe Lisa, Tina, and Deena will share the ones that landed them agents as well :)

Lisa Schroeder said...

Here here!

I think it's important to remember, too, that so much of this crazy business is about timing! Something was in the front of my agent's mind when she read my query letter and that specific thing is partially what caused her to request my book.

So you just have to keep trying, keep trying, keep trying. And yes, killer query letters certainly help too. :)

Kristina Springer said...

Awesome Post Em! And wow-- I've never seen such wild stats-- Kristin Nelson must be a rock star. :-)

2008 is your year! I feel it!

And awesome idea about having a query week-- I love talking about queries. And I don't know how my first one got me anywhere (though that is how I got my agent) because man it was tooooooooo long. My second one was much better.

Emily Marshall said...

Thanks Lisa and Tina.

Excellent comment about it being timing and to just keep plugging away, Lisa. I do know timing is so important as well.

And Tina, I know Kristin must be a rock star! And I'll take all the good feelings on 2008 being a great year that I can take!

DeenaML said...

Timing had a LOT to do with me hooking up with my agent, too! I will definitely write a full post on this soon.

Amanda Morgan said...

WOW. I can't believe those stats....

Ghost Girl (aka, Mary Ann) said...

Great post, Em!

Though I had many close calls, I still don’t have one. But what did happen was that my writing has improved tremendously, I’m much more market savy, and I feel I’m much older and wiser, if you will, with this third book.

Dead on! I know that each time I revised or started a new project, I had a whole different wisdom about writing. Query letters will always be a mystery to me, I'm afraid (yes, Em, please make that a subject of a future post), but the writing...that is something different. I spent 2007 (well, actually, I've been working at it for 6 years!) really honing my craft and exploring my own confidence as a writer, and I really think that 2008 is the year it all finds its way.

So I begin 2008 as an optimist. Although I think I will print out those stats, shred, then light them on fire in the back yard and dance naked, chanting "I'm not a statistic...I'm a writer..." Wahoo!

DeenaML said...

Author2Author highly endorses naked backyard fire dances for sure!

Emily Marshall said...

Ha, very funny Deena.

Mandy, I know they are CrAzY statistics.

And Ghost Girl, thanks so much. Good luck with your own search this year. It looks like you are pretty close yourself, which is very exciting. That's great you've spent so much time improving your writing. Awesome. We'll definitely do something on query letters sometime soon.