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Wait Well (Day 1)

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It is no secret, that agents are busy. Do you know that our inboxes, most of the time, have hundreds of query letters in them? And that has nothing to do with the emails from our existing clientele or from publishers contacting us about in house projects. My inbox is a beast. A beast that won’t ever be tamed. I have accepted it. With that said, all I can do is try my best to manage it. This form of management has a pecking order. My existing clients and publishing professionals have to take top priority over “potential” clients. If I want to keep my clients happy, sell them, and help them grow their careers, then this is the priority.

So, when you pitch an agent, you will wait. We aren’t trying to be ugly. We aren’t ignoring you, but we are racing from email to email to email, and I typically go in order of date received. I work for an awesome boutique agency that is based in Colorado Springs, The Blythe Daniel Agency. There are only two of us, and I handle all of our fiction by myself. And to top it all off, I am a SLOW reader. I have clients that can read me under the table, and I’m the one who does this professionally. The wait time for me getting to your query can be anywhere from 1 month to 12 months, especially if you are a fiction writer.

I say all this to show you that waiting is a part of this industry. And some people wait better than others. I like to call it simmering. Some writer’s get really impatient with this process, and their initial, polite pitching demeanor quickly escalates to a boiling point of frustration. As the saying goes, their true colors begin to shine through during that waiting period. They might ping me on multiple forms of social media, when I already told them a time frame for my review. They might start speaking or yelling in ALL CAPS, because their patience is running thin. Some authors resort to baiting for an answer. They tell me that there are multiple agencies vying for them so they “have to know now.” Now, this can be a totally true scenario, but there are times that I’ve inquired about who else is interested and never heard from them again. This impatience may indeed get you a very quick “I’ll pass.” For me, the manner in which you wait, tells me almost everything that I need to know about what a working relationship with you will look like. Will you treat me this way after I’ve given you what you want? Will you exhibit kindness and patience when you begin to deal with my professional contacts? Or will your frustration boil over every time I’m not as fast as you think I should be? It’s so telling.

On the flip side, there are so many authors that know what “waiting well” looks like. They email politely to “check in” and they wait. And I know the wait for them has probably been years, and I really feel for them. Because what authors forget is that agents are waiting too. We wait 40-100 times over depending on our client list, and we wait 365 days a year to hear that one “yes” on your behalf. And once you’ve published your first book, the process starts all over again. We wait for you to finish your manuscript, we wait for the publishers to review what we have pitched for you, and we wait sometimes 2 years to see your book on the shelf. We rejoice with you in the end, but we have logged years of waiting with you. If you want an agent, you must wait well. And if waiting is difficult for you, then you might want to re-consider the industry that you have chosen. The publishing industry is amazing, but to publish anything of worth, there is a process that takes place, and this process takes time.

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This series is part of the #Write31Days challenge. To read all the posts in this series click here.

 

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31 Ways to Snag a Literary Agent

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I’m so glad you made it here to My Place Beneath the Pines. I am really excited about this series. It has been swimming around in my brain for over a year now, and I’ve been dying to get it onto paper. My name is Jessie and I am a literary agent with The Blythe Daniel Agency, which is in Colorado Springs. I however, am a Texas gal. I am a mom to triplets, married to the Coach, and live in a tiny dot of a town beneath the East Texas Pines. This January will mark my fourth year as an agent, and I’ve loved every minute of it. Before I was an agent, I was in sales, and owned a promotional products company. Currently, I represent both fiction and non-fiction in the Christian (CBA) & General Market (ABA). For the next 31 days, I am going to teach you 31 Ways To Snag a Literary Agent. This is the most common question that my clients are asked, “How did you get a literary agent?” You see, this question never gets old and it rarely gets answered, because every author has a unique experience. If you know ten authors who have already gotten agents, then you probably know ten different stories as to how they got theirs.

I’ll tell you some atypical things about the way I sign people: I rarely sign from a query letter, a few times I’ve been so impressed with an author that I’ve signed them on the spot (although this is really rare), and I have signed quite a few clients by scouting them (meaning I found them on the glorious world-wide web instead of them querying me). Oh how I love to surprise people with contracts. Maybe I’m weird. But, seriously, I love to reward amazing writing, and I take great pleasure in finding talent in obscure, undiscovered places. It’s like Christmas…all the time.  I can’t speak for other agents, but I hope that when this series is over, you have a better understanding of what YOU should do next in order to snag the agent of your dreams. Check back here daily for other posts in this series or subscribe here to get the entire series delivered straight to your inbox.

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Day 1: Wait Well
Day 2: Start a Blog and Write on it Frequently
Day 3: Go to a Writer’s Conference
Day 4: Hook Me in the First Sentence
Day 5: Personalize Your Pitch
Day 6: Ask for An Appointment
Day 7: Listen and Revise Accordingly
Day 8: Write Articles
Day 9: Enter a Writing Contest
Day 10: Have a Team
Day 11: Secure Writing Endorsements
Day 12: Tell Me a Story Only You Can Tell
Day 13: Don’t Bash Your Old Agent
Day 14: Be Proactive About Growing Your Platform
Day 15: Be Finished
Day 16: Know Your Characters
Day 17: Ask for a Referral
Day 18: Have a Speaking Career First
Day 19: Pay Attention to Signing Windows
Day 20: Self-Publish Well
Day 21: Take the Offer in a Timely Manner
Day 22: Show Your “Plus” Side
Day 23: “Fixer Upper” Your Email if You Want to Snag an Agent
Day 24: Be Persistent with Reminders
Day 25: Show me the Irony
Day 26: Follow the Submission Guidelines
Day 27: Search #MSWL on Twitter
Day 28: Books to Help you Master Your Craft
Day 29: Ask an Agent Q&A
Day 30: Ask an Agent Q&A Day 2
Day 31: Just Keep Pitching

This series is part of the #Write31Days challenge. To read other topics or join in click here.

 

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