Agent Trouble

It happened again. This time I am not sure what I am supposed to do. Do you recall that crazy story when I emailed my query to twenty agents pitching my unfinished novel? One agent rejected, one wanted to see the first chapter and no one else answered, remember? So, I am back to the same nightmare. Two days ago I received a request from another agent. This time it is not just the first chapter, but five!

When I opened that email and read it, I was excited. I was very proud of my story and my query. My story is good enough to attract attention! My query rocks! Then I realized that I DO NOT HAVE A BOOK. My shoulders slumped. I sat down and wanted to weep. So, what do I do now? Do I get into the agitated editing state as I did before? Do I file away this precious request, finally write the book and re-query? It is a tough decision.

What are my chances of getting a request for a full manuscript? Really slim. But it is possible (or so I like to think). If I do get a request for a full, then what? Do I write a very humble and apologetic letter confessing all the idiotic mistakes I committed, all the naive dreams I had, and ask, beg, pray for time to finish the book? I can only imagine what will come in response… if anything at all. Do agents have some kind of a “stupid authors” list where they write down names of writers like me for their future reference?

I don’t know what I am going to do. I might edit the pages and email them. I might just take my time, finish the book and hope that when I re-query again, I will get some interest.

Meanwhile, I will tell you this:

1. Don’t be stupid and don’t query an agent before you actually finish your book.

2. For your own sake, finish that book!

3. Learn from someone else’s mistakes (mine!) instead of learning from your own.

11 thoughts on “Agent Trouble

  1. tomd73

    Best wishes – but no matter what, I feel like I hear that there’s a book there to be written, right? Otherwise you wouldn’t be bothering with any of this mess.

    For what it’s worth, I did query letters a while back for a novel that I pretty much had finished. The result? Nada. I briefly questioned whether I just read the instructions incorrectly, but no – just no interest.

    1. aloysa

      You know, I think I’ve got myself into this mess because I don’t have a book written. My advise to you – keep querying. Don’t give up! I know how discouraging it can be.

      1. tomd73

        Thanks – I’m just now getting back into it after letting the novel gather some dust on the shelf. I’m also debating the whole self-publishing approach.

        1. aloysa

          Check this website: I learned a lot from there. I even posted a few writing pieces of mine and got an excellent critique and advice. In fact, I learned how to write query letters from this website. Also, there is a forum where authors discuss self-publishing (it is under “Other Ways into Print). Maybe you already know about this website. It is a really good and useful source of information.

  2. mauthor

    your next blog should be “how to write a query letter” since yours seems to get agents’ attention. If you have the time, i think you should seriously try to write this novel as quickly as you can while someone else should quickly edit it. I mean getting a request for it means it must be something unique and marketable.

    1. aloysa

      I am not sure “quickly” works in this business. I am planning on writing this book. Especially after getting the second request.

  3. Lindea

    I’m a little jealous of you, as you actually manage to write a query letter. I’m not even close, but I’ve finished my manuscript though.
    What if we work together, you write the letter and I write the book? (he he, just joking)

    How far are you in your manuscript? If you have a written outline it would be quite quick to ramble down a 1 time draft (Or it might just be me that are fast and furious while writing.)

    1. aloysa

      Haha! It might be a good teamwork. Fast results for sure!
      I have about 45 written (unedited) pages: the story is in my head, characters are work-in-process. I don’t have an outline. Do I need it? I never relied on one. Maybe it is something to consider.
      I am actually jealous of you because you have a finished product – first draft! It is huge! I, on the other hand, have no product, just an idea and a few pages.

      1. Lindea

        I, personally, prefer to have an outline. If I don’t have an outline my story gets to big. ex. a story which is supposed to be on 300 pages will end up as a massive thing on 1000 pages. An outline helps me to stay to the story and don’t have to many stories within the manuscript. But I’ve also planned writing a series of 16 books (shared on 4 trilogies and four independent books) so I have to know what’s going to happen to have a good flow in the story.
        On the other hand, when I write movie scripts it’s impossible for me to have an outline.

        45 pages is a start and you can quickly draft another 45 pages and then we half through (or it’s depends on what word-count you’re heading at. (60 – 90 000 is regular novels while 100 000 + is extended novels.)

        But I advice you to write an outline, it helps to see about how long your novel will be and to keep focus.

        Good Luck

  4. Tricia

    Here’s a little tip that kept me from temptation to query before the book is finished: An agent said on a blog that if he wants sample writing he always asks for a full. The reason is since electronic submissions are the norm, it takes no extra effort or expense for the author to send it all. He said sometimes he reads only one sentence, but if he reads more and wants more he doesn’t have to take the time and ask for more, it’s already there.

    Since I read that, I’ve seen many other agents adopting that method.

    I’ll admit though, your method would keep me from dillydallying. I’d pump that baby out, fast.

    1. aloysa

      I created a mess and I will be glad when it is over. At this point, it is better for me to get rejected. Otherwise, a big mess would become a great mess. I promised myself not to query without a finished novel. Never.

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