Write On Wednesday
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Write On, Wednesday: Agent-Getting Toolkit

By Leslie Lindsay

The last few weeks have been all about securing a literary agent–a dream most of us writers have if we want to get our work published.  Exactly ten days ago, I began the arduous and often soul-sucking process of sending out query letters to a handful of agents.   The rejections are flowing in…most of them have been a form style rejection letter that goes something like this:

Dear Author (consider yourself lucky if they call you by name, seriously),

Thank you for considering me for representation on your book project.  However, it just doesn’t fit my needs/my list at this time.  Best wishes on securing a suitable home for this project. 

Agent’s Name

Sometimes, you’ll get something a step up from that…

Dear Leslie, [note the use of my first name?]

Thank you for considering me for representation of BOOK TITLE [also good they remembered to mention the title of the manuscript you so lovingly tweaked and obsessed over].  The project seems quite promising, but I am afraid I’ll have to pass at this time.  Best wishes as you place this project.

And sometimes, you get something like this:

Dear Leslie:

I would love to see the entire manuscript.  Would you please send it as a PDF document, along with the original query and synopsis?  Please also sign this release form.  Please use these specific instructions for attaching a file, and use these words in the subject line of your email…

I got one of these today!!! 

Does that mean I have an agent?  Nope.

It does mean, however, that I have a nibble.  Oh, how I hate that word.  Okay, let’s revise…a strong interest.  Yes, that’s better.

While I had a celebratory moment with my mostly-sleeping basset (who happens to be doning a pumpkin hat and orange ruffle around her neck in honor of Halloween), and a quick, slightly panicked phone call to my hubby at work, I’ll admit…I’m a little scared.

And not in the boo!  Halloween kind of way.

What have I gotten myself into?!  I admit I want a literary agent.  But, now those demons are coming back….”am I good enough?”  “can I write book after book for years to come?”  “Is this really my life’s calling?” 

Ah yes…and then I bust out the Pressfield book THE WAR OF ART and realize that all of us creative types grapple with this kind of thing.  Product Details

So here’s the deal:  I will not break open the moscato just yet.  Instead, I’ll prepare the manuscript per the agent’s specifications, sign the release form, and keep my fingers crossed. 

It’s really all there is to do…yet those little monsters in the basement are making me feel like there’s more to it than that.

If you’re curious whether your chosen agents are legit, plug their names into these sites and see what happens…

[book image retrieved from:  www.lenasledgeblog.com on 10.31.13, typewriter rejection image from literaryrejectionsondisplay.blogspot.com on 10.31.13 and Pressfield cover from Amazon]

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