agents · Queries · Reflection · self-publishing

Finding Your Next Literary Agent – Is #2 Right For You?


As most of you are aware, my agent of two years cut me loose a few weeks ago. It was a bit of a shock, but also something I expected. While I’d like to think that the decision wasn’t based on my inability to produce good stories, I do know that the inability of those stories to persuade publishers to buy them is what led to the big goodbye. From what I understand, the YA market is saturated. I think that, like all things that are soggy, they can be dried out in the sun… hence the reason I’m back on the Wonder Horse known as querying for my second agent. In light of this, I have only one question – am I still a desirable prospect?

It sounds like I’m getting ready to face Patty from Millionaire Matchmaker. Do I have the look that the prospect wants? Am I attractive, with my edgy contemporary YA that pushes big manila envelopes? I have to wonder, especially because publisher rejection was my middle name with agent #1. Granted, A Place in This Life queried very well, with 7 full requests and some partials. Only one agent wanted to rep the story, and I accepted it. That’s history, but you might ask why only one offer? Because what I write is not an easy-breezy sell to publishers who want to enliven their audience with the latest trend. God, who wants me?

As I make the second agent query rounds with SWELL (even more edgy than A Place In This Life), I gather more rejections than requests. Could it be that this reversal of query fortune might result in garnering a publishing deal if – IF – that lone agent who requested my full manuscript offers representation? Maybe. It’s easy to play “this time around” games.

And a game is what it is, this business of querying, getting an agent, making the publisher solicitation rounds. I played it in 2009, and won the first leg of the game, but fell flat on my face after half-time. As I go into another level of this game – finding my second agent – I can’t help but feel fed-up in advance with the whole old-fashioned process. In particular, now that A Place In This Life is published, I realize I can do this on my own. The marketing is a bear, but the rewards are the tears that come out of my readers’ eyes. That is success…

So Agent #2, are you ready to play the game with me?

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