Thursday, September 5, 2019

Learning from your (my) mistakes when querying agents

I need to admit something. I made a mistake. After all the prep work that went into my short list of agents, I thought I was ready to start querying. I was excited to get going. I was also feeling a lot of (self-inflicted and completely imaginary) time pressure to get going.

I selected an agent from my short list. I re-re-re-read the customized query letter and compared it against her agent page. Yes! I am ready!, I thought. Spoiler: I was not ready.

When I went into the query management system for this agent, I found that a synopsis was also required. That is when I made my mistake.

What I should have done was back out. Re-re-re-read my synopsis and tweak it, and sit on it, and come back to it later. I should have returned to the query management system after I felt confident all my materials were as good as I could get them.

Obviously, that wasn't what I did. I revised, read it over, and submitted the synopsis along with the other required materials.

And that, my friend, is how I got my first rejection.

Of course, I don't know that's what led to the rejection. But I am pretty sure it is. As I said in my previous posts, I spent a lot of time researching agents. I was fairly confident this agent would like my work. I still think she would, if she read it. But I don't think she read the first 10 pages of the novel I submitted. I think she read an amateurish synopsis and noped it right out of the query management system.

So...lesson learned. I have retooled my synopsis A LOT. I have had it read by someone who read my novel. I have polished and fussed over each word. And I have told myself to take my time and not make the same mistake again.

We can't go backwards, but we can make better decisions as we move forward. I hope my experience will help you, as well.

For those of you still working on your synopsis, these are the sources I found most helpful:

Both posts include examples as well as links to additional helpful sources

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