“Thank you for your interest in our agency. Although your story sounds appealing, I didn’t quite connect with the material, and because of that I am going to pass on this project. Please remember that this industry is highly subjective, and there are many agencies with different tastes. I wish you all the best in your literary endeavors.”
I’ve queried hundreds of agencies. Some reply, some do not. It’s the industry. Rejection is part of the writing process.
When I completed OTHER DIMENSIONS in 2016, I had high expectations. It was the 3rd novel I actually finished, but it felt like the first. However, the process was just beginning. Sure, I wrote a book, but now what? Proofreading and editing. Deleting scenes. Reading the novel over and over until you can recite it in your sleep. And even then, it’s not easy to spot the errors. You really have to focus on all the aspects of the written text. The writing doesn’t take form until the story has been rewritten a dozen times, or more. A good idea is to put the finished book away and revisit it in a few months. You’ll find silly mistakes you couldn’t believe you missed. It’s great if you have someone that is willing to read your book and give insight. (Make sure you mention their name on your acknowledgment page.) But if you don’t have someone that’s open to reading your draft, critiquing groups come in handy. They can be very helpful, because they’re not just reading your work, you’re reading theirs and offering opinions.
Looking for an agent takes a lot of patience. It’s best to read their bios and know which genre they represent. It also helps if they have a wish list. You want to query an agent that’s right for your book. Just because you think it’s a fabulous masterpiece doesn’t mean a literary agent will, too. It’s up to you, the author, to show them it’s amazing. And by doing that you want to make your novel the best it can be, which means no typos or misuse of wording. How many to query at a time is up to you. Obviously the bigger the net the bigger return. Bear in mind, there may be rejections. In my case, there were hundreds!
Follow the submission guidelines. Be professional. You may be asked to submit a synopsis with sample pages. Expect to wait a few weeks for a reply, and understand that no reply means they are passing on your project.
Sample query for OTHER DIMENSIONS:
Dear (agent’s name),
Thank you for taking the time to consider OTHER DIMENSIONS, a YA sci-fi-horror with 67,000 words.
Henry Edmund is not the athletic-type, class president, or even one of the cool kids; he’s the boy bullies’ target. After stealing an ancient comic book from a collector, Henry inadvertently releases a demonic creature from another world. Being possessed by a demon comes with perks, but it also comes with a price. Henry thought the bullies at school were bad, until he becomes the ultimate villain. Now no one is safe in Henry’s path, and bit by bit he is losing control along with his identity. Terrified of what comes next, he’s desperate to undo the pact before the contract is due and seeks help from an intergalactic ally, which may cost him his life. To save his soul, Henry must enter another dimension.
Inspired by Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, OTHER DIMENSIONS channels dual personalities of good vs. evil. The target audience for OTHER DIMENSIONS is ages 12 and up, as it pushes boundaries the way literature should.
Thank you for your literary consideration. Enclosed are the synopsis and first 10 pages. Please be advised this project has submissions with other agencies.
(Closing and contact info)
I got over a hundred rejection forms and one request for a partial manuscript. In the end, the agent passed on my book, but not before giving her professional opinion, which was most appreciated. I took her comments very seriously. And so began the rewrites for OTHER DIMENSIONS. Once I was satisfied with the final results, I started querying again. Unfortunately, there were more rejections. I put the book aside and wrote another novel to submit. But I couldn’t let OTHER DIMENSIONS go, and realized it wasn’t getting published unless I did it myself. And with that tough decision, many more followed. Self-publishing isn’t for everyone. After the final draft is complete, there’s copyrighting, book cover design, marketing, promoting, managing your time, honing your skills, keeping up with daily routines (like eating and sleeping), and that’s just for starters because everyone has a life to live.
If you believe in your story, others will, too.
I wish you the very best in your writing career.