I have sent off queries to three agents.
It’s taken me quite some time to get to this point and I feel I should say something momentous, motivating and magnificent. All I can think is ‘Oh, s&%$! What have you done now, you idiot?’
I’ve danced this dance before, but that was quite some years ago. One thing I do know; don’t pin all your hopes on one submission. It’s devastating when/if it is rejected. So I’m trawling the internet looking for suitable agents and sending off a query every now and then. Hopefully this will prevent everything coming back in one big lump…
The last time I did this (the early nineties) I didn’t even own a computer. I wrote my first book out in longhand, revised it and wrote it out again. My numbering system evolved into things like Page ’45C1B3 from * to * in here’. Then I typed it out on a manual typewriter with a carbon copy as back-up. Okay, I can HEAR you laughing.
Snail mail was the only option. It cost a bundle, particularly if you tried overseas markets. You had to have International Reply Coupons because naturally South African stamps don’t work in other countries. We were unpopular internationally at the time and IRCs weren’t available. We had a roundabout method of sending money to the head post office in Swaziland which would then send the IRC…
One of the writers in our group had a copy of the Writer and Artists Yearbook that was only two years old. She’d bring it to the meetings and there would be a polite scrum at the tea-break for the opportunity to write out some addresses. (There was a copy in the local library, but it was about ten years out of date.) Multiple submissions were frowned upon, so it was submit, wait, get rejected, try again… Now all you have to do is check out the agency’s website, adjust your query to suit their requirements and hit ‘send’.
I have to admit that I love the up-to-date information. The speed of e-mail is fabulous compared to snail mail But I still have this dreadful feeling that some unknown is going to read my query, laugh at the serious bits, look blank at the funny bits and send off the dreaded ‘does not suit our needs at this time’.
Technology might have changed. That hasn’t.