Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pre-Agent Mania

Dear blogworld, I think I'm going crazy. No, not because of my blogging addiction, because of my desire to find an agent. I finished my novel last June. I did one immediate edit of it, then waiting a few months to give myself some space from the project, and then edited through it again. Then, I printed out four copies and gave them to friends and mentors.

Finally, I have the first edited manuscript back. Finally, I'm in the middle of editing it for the last time before I send it off to agents. Finally, I'm looking up agents and researching query letters and every bit of research that I possibly can. But now that I'm so close, it's so hard to wait. I read successful query letters, and I want to write and send mine. I look up agents, and I feel the need to submit to them. It's all I can think about.

But alas, I have to wait. I have to wait, I tell myself, until I finish editing the novel a final time. Until I finish making my list of agents and ordering them. I can't rush into it. I want to. But I cant.

Tell me, fellow blogites, is this something you go through or have gone through? How did you deal with it?


  1. Yes, I've been through it. I know it's hard, but take your time! Rushing will do absolutely no good, and could do harm. Of course, I say this as I'm manically finishing up my final edits before submitting again (that's different, though - it's really done and I need to stop stalling).

    Just take your time. Re-read it. Edit. Re-read again. Tweak a few words. Completely rearrange the opening chapters. Re-read again. Do minor edits, then more major edits. When you're completely sick of the freaking thing and want to shred it, read it one last time. If, on that read, you tweak less than 2% of the manuscript, it's probably ready.

  2. I totally rushed in the first time, humiliated myself surely and completely... I would recommend in addition to the MANUSCRIPT editing, that you also get LOTS of critiques on your query letter (maybe post it here in addition to giving it to some published authors in your genre). AND have your synopsis ready because some agents will ask for it, AND do yet another edit and get more feedback on that first chapter.

  3. How did I do it? With a lot of panicking :P

    I've read that you should send your queries in waves; group agents with regards to preference. A lot of people say start at the top of the group -- I'd go with your second wave because if you get zero response first, it could be worth tweaking the query again.

    Good luck -- it's long and arduous, but hopefully worth it!

  4. I'm in the same boat as you at the moment. I'm revising my manuscript still even after working on it for some years. And at the same time, I'm revising my query letter and synopsis to get it ready. My writer's group has helped me a ton with that as well as deciding when to query. For instance, I'm still taking my completed manuscript to the meetings for tightening and small things here and there. I'm sure I'll continually edit clear on up until I get an agent and even beyond that. The thing is to take a look at the reason you can't wait to get out there. Are you eager for eagerness' sake or do you really believe in the strength of your manuscript as it is. In my honest opinion, there is no "final edit". Not pre-agent, anyways. And I'm definitely pre-agent so this is just one writer sharing a POV with another.

  5. Hey fellow Crusader!

    First of all - breathe! Give it time, it's not a race! I know the jittery feeling all too well, but there's nothing to lose in waiting, and so much to gain. Best of luck with it :)

  6. Right now I have not ever wrote a query letter or submitted a piece to an agent- mainly because my stuff is short stories and poetry, so I'm sorry I have little to know help for you on this end fellow crusader. I can only say keep to your guns and do what you think is best at the time.

  7. Hi, fellow crusader. I've been through it too. You're smart to know to wait, even though it's so hard. I didn't wait. It's embarrassing what I didn't know in the beginning.

    I wish you the best of luck!

  8. You're right to wait. I know it's hard to do, but it's totally worth it! Good luck!

  9. Hi fellow crusader! I haven't gone through this yet, but since I'm finishing the first novel this weekend, I think I'm in for a ride. I already want to revise it, but I am forcing myself to wait a month.

    I think another commenter mentioned breathing. Sounds good to me. And frosting.

  10. When I get to stressing like that, I self-medicate, often heavily.

    All successful writers do this, you know.


    - Eric

  11. I jumped in too fast with my first one - learned hard lessons. My last one has been through countless revisions, been critiqued by I can't tell you how many people, and I've written the query... idk... two-hundred times (not really - but it's seen several rewrites). This time I'm almost too afraid to send it out.

    But yeah, definitely get lots of feedback on that query - make sure it's POLISHED. Because many times that's your only "in."

    Good luck! I'm rooting for you!

    New follower and fellow crusader! Nice to meet you!

  12. Yes, I am going through it currently. ;) I'm soooo eager to get querying. and yet my book isn't even in beta yet. I can't wait to get it there! :D But I have a lot of work to do yet, before I can even get to that stage. Word cull, word cull, WORD CULL!