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  1. Konan

    Konan Banned

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    Do you find querying agents tedious too?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Konan, May 5, 2017.

    I recently came off my last round of submitting to agents, and I find it such a grueling process... finding the agent, cutting and pasting their email address into my email program, filling out the subject line, cutting and pasting my query and sample pages into the email, personalizing the salutation, and then finally hitting send ... only to repeat the process over and over again, dozens and dozens of times.

    I find it incredibly tedious and monotonous, a real chore.

    Anyone else feel the same way?
     
  2. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    No, I got quite a buzz from it. I liked that no two were quite the same so I had to put a new package together and change it around a little.

    But then I do enjoy pointless time management games where you do the same thing over and over for an hour. :)

    The waiting for replies was incredibly tedious, but the actual sending was fine.
     
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  3. Konan

    Konan Banned

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    How many queries did you send out before getting your agent?
     
  4. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    My agent was about the tenth one I queried but I'd sent out about 60 when I signed a month later.
     
  5. Alex R. Encomienda

    Alex R. Encomienda Contributor Contributor

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    I haven't got to that stage yet with my novel but I have been submitting to journals and I enjoy the submitting part. Fancying up my manuscripts and sending them off is fun but like @Tenderiser said, the waiting for acceptance/rejection letters is always tedious.
     
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  6. Nabokov

    Nabokov New Member

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    I find that agents basically control the publishing "game." And that's a shame. It's obvious many of them thoroughly enjoy their favored, powerful, controlling spot in the industry. Funny how so many of them can show up on Twitter each day and yet they're "too swamped to answer replies." Many people will tell you to write the book you feel compelled to write but mostly what you hear from agents when they actually do send you a rejection is that "your book isn't right for my list." Sorry agents. Maybe I don't have it in me to write a family saga about the Old West or the next Gone Girl. And by the time I do write it, it won't be on your Wish List anymore anyway. There appears to be very few agents with the clout to take on a novel knowing full well it's not on some publisher's list (after all isn't that the list the agent is really referring to?) but it's well written and totally unique. "Not on my list," is utterly unimaginative and uncreative. I'm convinced that nowadays most agents would turn down "War and Peace" if it's not on their list.
     
  7. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    Well, in their defense, War and Peace does have one of the worst opening lines in all of classic literature.

    Researching Agents was my least favourite part of that mess. Going through agent listings, finding what they're looking for, reading their submission guidelines, etc. Being in Canada, too, I usually have to get in touch agents stateside before querying just to see if they'll handle someone from out of the country. It's usually not something they have listed on their websites and if they don't, it's usually not something they address in their rejection letters.
     
  8. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    Do you think agents are charity workers? You might be less bitter if you realised they're business people out to make money.
     
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  9. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin We may just go where no-one's been.... Contributor

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    Why would an agent take on a project they know won't sell? That's like putting fried goat placenta on a menu and expecting people to order it.
     
  10. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    [​IMG]
     
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  11. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin We may just go where no-one's been.... Contributor

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    I know, right? People do eat it, but I wouldn't try to sell it. Not here anyway.
     
  12. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    Have you found any agents who WON'T take someone in Canada? I never even bothered mentioning my location when I was querying... I certainly didn't contact anyone pre-query to ask!
     
  13. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    I found a couple that said they were uncomfortable with it. One mentioned something about how taxes would work, and I had a few more secretaries say that they'd ring me back later on it, but never did. It wasn't after that I found my agent, so it never took off too far. But the reason I started asking about it is because there was definitely more than one Canadian agent that didn't want to take me when I was in the states because they thought I was American. I had to rewrite a few letters adding that I was a Canadian Resident schooling in the US to explain the postage. I'm hoping this is less of a problem now.
     
  14. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    It gives me a shudder just thinking about it.
     
  15. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I can definitely see Canadian agents being wary of American clients - there are so many projects that are really only open to Canadians, and it would be confusing to figure out which is which.

    But I'd say you dodge a bullet if you were able to avoid American agents who aren't even able to handle a Canadian client. These are the guys who should be selling your rights internationally, sorting through all the details of your contract language, etc.! A Canadian client seems really simple, by comparison.
     
  16. LostThePlot

    LostThePlot Naysmith Contributor

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    Yeah, I haven't encountered any agents who seemed to care that much but I would caution a little bit depending on what kind of book. I've been a bit hesitant submitting to American agents because my books are set here in the UK with a lot of British vernacular and place names and cultural reference (not to mention spelling). I don't think they'd have a huge problem with that in theory, but I do have a preference to submit to people who have a clear idea of what that world looks like. If you write in some exotic locale or in a less contemporary place and time then I doubt this would be a problem, but if you do write in a specific place outside the US then I would exhaust your domestic options first. I'm sure some US agents wouldn't care at all, but when you're trying to convince someone the world in your book is real then you don't want them being puzzled why all these poor kids are wearing school uniforms and why there's a castle in the middle of town.
     
  17. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I've always found the process tedious, both in submitting to agents and my shorter works directly to publications. I kind of see it as the real work part. It's probably the most important part. I mean this is when you really take a chance on yourself. But it does seem to take more time than it should. I get you there.
     
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  18. LostThePlot

    LostThePlot Naysmith Contributor

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    Now that's something I do agree on.

    Writing is, I think for most of us, at least a hobby if not an outright joy. Yes, it can be frustrating, yes it can be a slog sometimes to edit, but you're working towards something with a concrete goal and as you go you can see something to come together.

    Submitting is a whole other thing. You're sending stuff off into the blue. It's not something that you can really take satisfaction from, or at least most of us can't anyway. Not because it's not an important thing to do, but because there's so much failure involved in submitting and so many of them you will just never hear anything back from. And, just when you were coming to terms with that, you'll get a random rejection letter just to kick you in the balls at an inopportune moment. Yes it does feel good to go from getting zero interest, to getting agents asking to see your book, to getting an offer to represent your work. But those moments are fleeting in an ocean of "Urgh, what the actual fuck."

    And there's no easy way around that. I won't derail this by giving my opinions of how the industry works; it is the way the industry works. And all you can do is plow through it. Nowadays you can self-publish and that's a blessing but that's not an easier option just difficult in a different way. All you can do is try to be professional in what you're doing.

    That means making yourself not get emotionally invested in putting pitches together; not hanging your hopes on this one agent who looks perfect. It means making yourself a spreadsheet listing what each agent wants you to submit, putting together a batch of pitch mails, sending them off, writing down the date on your spreadsheet and then just walking the fuck away from it. It's tedious to put those packets together. It's tedious to go and check that you're sending them the 5000 word sample not the 3 chapter sample; to check that you have double spacing or 1.5 spacing. But that's what you have to do. So you have to be phlegmatic about. It has to be done, so you do it, and that's it. Nothing more to think.

    One way or another you will learn to just be ok with it; to have a sense of zen. The only real choice is whether you're going to go through anger and denial or jump over to acceptance.
     
  19. MarcT

    MarcT Active Member

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    I really find it focuses the mind and you quickly realise it's not a hobby any more, you're in the real world, scary as that is at times.
    It took me several days to finally seal the envelope or to hit that send button, but once it's done you can move onto the next one. Yes it's tedious personalising each submission - heck, today I sent out a submission that only wanted five pages. Perhaps they only wanted a taste of the writing style, who knows?
    But when all is said and done, I find it very enjoyable, in particular the aspect of getting the submission just right.
    On the other hand I do not like those online forms where you have to copy and paste into a box. Ruins the entire layout and makes it look crap.
     

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