The task for day 21 of #platchal (the 2015 October Platform Challenge) is something I do on a regular basis. We have to research markets for our writing.
I concentrate on literary agents who represent Young Adult Fantasy, and publishers who accept or specialize in the same. I also look for agents and publishers for my children’s picture book.
Finding a publisher who accepts manuscripts, or even queries, from unagented, unpublished writers is very difficult, so I spend more time researching and contacting agents. It is a tedious task. Each agent has his or her own requirements – some want a query letter with a short synopsis of the book, an author’s bio, and the first 10 pages of the manuscript. Others want just a query and the first three chapters of the manuscript. Still others want query, synopsis, first five chapters of the manuscript, and a detailed description of the author’s writing platform, what publishers the author thinks might be a good fit for the book, and a well-developed marketing plan if the book is published.
Sometimes I spend more time in a day researching agents, and crafting queries, than I do actually working on my books. And herein lies a pet peeve of mine: I spend all that time getting the query absolutely perfect, and I follow every single requirement listed by the agent (“…query by e-mail only, and put blah-blah-blah as the subject line, and include everything in the body of the e-mail, because I don’t open attachments, and include this, this, this, this and this, but I do not want to see this, that, or the other thing…”). Then, when I am absolutely sure it meets the agent’s requirements, I send it…and never hear anything from the agent, not even an automated “Thanks, got it, you’ll hear from me within 6 months if I’m interested.”
Writers are supposed to be professional enough to research their markets, adhere to any and all requirements of the agent, provide all pertinent information, and not waste the agent’s valuable time. But aren’t agents supposed to be professional, too? I know, their websites usually have a disclaimer “if you do not hear from us in X weeks (or months), you may assume we were not interested.” Really? If the agency is so busy that it can not even find time to send a form rejection to you, are they going to be too busy to represent you if they deign to accept you as a client?
Today, I will research agents and publishers again, and try to send out at least one query. I hope whoever I pick is professional enough to reply.
Feel free to stop back from time to time. I’ll keep the porch light on for you.