The Successful Failure — My Oxymoronic Publishing Journey — Part 3

2009 Guide to Literary Agents

After my first rejection, I admit to spending a couple of days licking the wounds, and trying to convince myself I wasn’t a total foolish failure. Then I decided to get back to work.

I first secured the 2009 Guide to Literary Agents. This was supposed to be the bible for finding a literary agent. I studied as much as I could study about writing a good query letter, and how to go about finding the perfect agent for representation.

Over the next six months, I studied the Guide, and sent out ninety-six query letters. Mind you, these weren’t just generic letters. I had studied the list of literary agencies, pulled up the website for each, studied the bio’s of all the agents in each agency, and then picked the one I thought would most likely be interested in my novel.

For those queries sent, here are my stats:

  1. Received 3 positive comments (One liked the writing, but said it wasn’t right for their list, one gave me positive feedback but said it wasn’t salable).
  2. Received 52 rejections (although instead of typing “rejection” on my spreadsheet, I preferred to use the euphemistic term “not interested.” It was easier on the soul).
  3. I got no response from the rest (except for the sprinkling of emails that bounced back because of bad addresses).

Six months of heartbreak.

Here is what I learned:

  1. Don’t assume getting an agent is a slam-dunk. Believe me — it’s not. There are many variables involved in the process. (And I know they say it’s not personal, but it is to us.)
  2. Toughen up that body armor. You will most likely need it.
  3. Don’t quit.

More to come….


Originally published at klromo.com on May 17, 2017.

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