Sunday, November 4, 2012

Getting Ready to Start Querying Again...

Good morning all.  It's 6:20AM here because I forgot it was Daylight Saving Time and the clocks went back an hour last night.  Still, got a good night's sleep which is just fine.  Been doing a lot of thinking lately about my first novel and the continuing wait about it's fate with an agent back in New York.  Yesterday I reached a decision and that was to begin querying more agents again.  After 22 months of waiting I checked in with some friends yesterday who know the agent in question and assured me that there is no "Exclusive" arrangement and that I'm free to query other agents in the meantime.  This was not known to me.  I had always read in a number of blogs, articles and advice to writers that if someone asked for a full manuscript, you did not continue querying other agents, unless told otherwise by the agent who made the request that it was okay to do so.  Just goes to show that not everything you read is always accurate I guess.

Mind you, I am NOT taking the manuscript away from the agent who has it now.  I'm simply widening my options and not burning any bridges in the process.  The agent who has it is a good one, but a number of people including those who are represented by her currently are advising me to start the querying process again to better my odds.  They are familiar with my work and think it deserves to make it.  Perhaps, my querying other agents may also prompt a response sooner.

Now with this being clarified a number of you might be saying, "Well if it's okay, what the heck are you waiting for?  Get on with it man you've waited long enough!"  And here's my reason for why I'm not starting new queries right away.  I wish to notify the agent first and give them one more chance to give me an update on where things stand with my MS first.  Unfortunately, this agent is in New York where Hurricane Sandy struck.  Knowing some of what my own family members are going through back there at the moment, I feel it only right to wait a couple of weeks before e-mailing her request for an update and my intentions.  I guess it's part of being brought up by my mother who was born and raised in England.  "It's simply not proper." 

So, if any of you are agents or know of any agents that are open to a full-length novel that crosses several genres Paranormal Horror/Mystery and also contains a Twilight Zone-like twist adding Sci-Fi into the mix, let me know.  Because in a couple of weeks, I'm sending out a barrage of query letters and synopsis.  

For those unfamiliar with this part of the process here's a quick explanation.  After you've finished your work of art you may wish to not e-publish but go the traditional route to get published.  If so, you'll need to do some research.  Internet, library, blogs or friends can possibly help guide to a number of agents out there.  Make sure the agent represents the genre you are writing in though.  Don't send a traditional Horror story to an agent that specializes in Romance.  That's wasting your time and the agents.  After you've found some agents make sure they are taking queries at this time.  Sometimes they stop taking new ones in order to sort through the ones they already have.  Or they may be busy with their current client load and not open to taking on another author.  Going to their websites should give you the information you need to find this out.  

Also on their website you should find out if they want a synopsis (and how many pages it should be) as well as if they want some sample pages of the work you are asking them to represent.  Usually they will ask for the first 5-10 pages.  Make sure you know what format they want it sent in (for example: double-spaced, numbered, you're name and title of the work on every page, etc.).  Remember, a query is your first chance to make a good impression with the agent.  If you aren't following the guide-lines they have laid out that can cost you before they even read your work.  Good grammar, following instructions, proper spelling, all of this leaves an impression on an agent as to whether or not you and your work are going to be worth the effort.  You might have a really excellent story, but if you can't follow the guidelines they've put up, you've already lost.  Take the time to familiarize yourself with these things and whip your letter/synopsis/and sample pages into shape.  You'll stand a much better chance of making a good impression.  Remember, this is your way of introducing yourself to them.  Make it a good memorable one.

Take care and keep writing everyone.