Sunday, January 10, 2010

Agent Query List

2010 Goal Tracking:

Writing progress: agent list
Weight progress: keeping with the schedule!
Bible in a year progress: Genesis 21-23, Psalm 9

After months and months of research and weeding out, I've finally got my agent list together for queries! I have all their information organized on a spreadsheet and ranked according to what they're looking for. My "high" priorities include the agents seeking both women's fiction and young adult, because I'm pretty sure I will write YA sometime soon. And JUST IN CASE I'm able to snag an agent for Between the Letters, I'd like them to handle YA also. I have a top ten that for one reason or another I got particularly attached to during the research process, two of which I'm alsmost positive I will get a little teary if they don't request sample chapters. I figure I'll try these 10 first, then work my way down the list every couple of weeks or so. What really irks me is that almost every agent requires something different for the query. Some just want the query letter, some want that plus a full synopsis, some need you to actually MAIL it to them and include a SASE even though that doesn't even gaurantee you a response.... And ALL of them have that very discouraging disclaimer - "We accept very few new clients so that we can focus on the needs of our current authors." Well, at some point, SOMEONE has to add a new client.

I have one more (hopefully) major edit of Between the Letters, and should be ready to query by end of January/beginning of February. And my birthday is in February, so how cool would that be to get a full manuscript request by then?! (Wishful thinking, yes, but it's my birthday so I'll wish what I like, thanks. lol)

And about this agent list of mine...there are only 63 of them. Am I being too picky? I've read that I shouldn't stop until i get 150-200 rejections but, where is everybody finding all of these people to query???
Maybe my condition that they must represent both women's fiction and YA is keeping the number down? But that's something I shouldn't really compromise on, or else I'll either have to talk this hypothetical agent of mine into selling a YA project, or switch...

What have/are you done/doing about the research stage. What standards do you look for? WHERE do you look?


  1. Yay, congrats on narrowing down your agent list!

    I have heard the advise that you shouldn't stop until you get at least 100 rejects, but like you, I am also unsure how to find that many agents. I am not looking to query, currently, so I only have about 20 agents on my query list: those that I've read about and/or represent authors I love. I've been using to search for & keep track of agents.

    63 is a good enough number to start out with. When/If you've exhausted the list, you can decide then whether compromising is something you need to do.

    Good luck! :>

  2. Good luck on querying! I'm not to that point yet and I can't wait till I am. Even though it's going to be really terrifying to send my stuff out there to get rejected; it's all apart of the process. : )

  3. Sandy Shin - I've used also. And I think you're right...I'll go through these and see where I stand. If I get 63 rejections, I'll probably be ready to abandon the novel and try the next one anyway!

    Kimberly - It is completely terrifying just to think about, but a necessary evil. We just have to plan for the worst and hope for the best!

  4. Do you have a list of publishers you are querying as well?

    One thing I heard a while back from a successful author was that you're MUCH more likely to land a publisher than an agent. (And yes, now I know it's true.)

  5. Oh my goodness! 150-200!?!? That's insane! I only ever had like, 5-8 agents that I wanted to query after doing research. 5-8 that seemed to be a potentially good fit. I waited to query after meeting two at a conference and thankfully, found representation with my top pick! I can't imagine having that big of a list. I think it's good to really narrow the focus and do a really good job of targeting those agents that best fit.

    Best wishes and many blessings as you partake in this particular stage of your writing journey!!


  6. Oh...forgot to add.

    I'm definitely NO expert on this. But before I had an agent, I went about querying like this: I had my list of 5-8 agents who I knew would be the absolute best for my career. I followed their blogs/interviews/etc. Studied the craft like crazy (still do). And wrote the best book I could. My plan was, if I queries all these 5-8 agents and got rejections from all 8, then that was my sign that that book wasn't good enough. I would have either fixed it or written a nother and started the querying again to the same agents. I think it's very important that you don't compromise when it comes to an agent. You want somebody in your corner who's going to go to bat for you. Somebody who LOVES your stories. You don't want to settle for anybody who will take you.

    Also...if you want to publish through a traditional publishing house (the bigger ones) you do need an agent. It's very rare for a traditional, well-established publishing house to take on an unagented author (unless its Steeple Hill or Barbour's Heartsong line)

    Sorry for rambling!

  7. Good advice! I had not planned on querying publishers directly. Everything I seem to read tells me not to, and the reasons are pretty...reasonable.

    I certainly have been following some of my top pick's blogs, etc., but as far as meeting them at a conference goes...seems unlikely. There doesn't appear to be one near me anytime soon, but I'll keep investigating.

  8. Yay! I'm so excited that you're going to start querying soon! I use this site: to compile my list. Maybe it'll help if you need more agents. But hopefully you don't need it and you get picked up right away!

  9. Good luck querying...can't wait to hear about your progress!!! I think 63 is a GREAT start! I've only gone through the process once and was admittedly TERRIBLE at it...I only queried maybe 20 by the time I had gotten my list down to my top picks.

    I ended up joining online for a year...they have a nice database of both agents and publishers as well as submission directions and contact information. Plus they have a free tool you can download to keep track of who and what you sent to whom and when you need to follow up. It's a HUGE help.

    Good luck!

  10. Wow, you have a huge list. I sometimes wonder if I'm being too picky but I also want to find the best person to represent my work. I have just over 20 on my list but I've only sent queries out to my top ten so far. I will probably work my way down the list later but I'd really like to get a little feedback first. Good luck on your querying!