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Jan 16, 2009

Agent Search Ongoing

On my list of writing goals for 2009 is to send out my other mss to an agent who requested it an embarressing length of time ago. I don't know if she'll be interested after all this time, but I have to give it a try. I certainly owe her the right of first refusal if nothing else.

Expecting to be rebuffed, I'm drawing up a list of further agents to query. A friend of mine from OWW just landed an agent who was not on my list before because I didn't have enough information about her. (There are too many poor agents out there to just send your mss to anybody.) A recommendation makes a difference in both directions.

There are a few other agents I've never written to before, names I've found through a variety of sources, including Publisher's Lunch. I want to find ten new but reputable agents and then send out my Rainbow Dancer query package.

I hope to complete the new book so I can start from the top of my agent list again, re-sending to agents who previously turned down the first mss.

How many times should one send out the same book before one gives up on it? The rule of thumb I've heard is to hit triple digits before abandoning ship. So I need to compile a list of 99 good agents. On my previous send-out, I had a list of 31. I don't know if there *are* 99 agents out there with whom I would be equally happy. Yes, writing is always an agents' market, because there are more good writers than good agents. But I don't think it behooves me to settle for a poor agent. I think it's better to re-write and send to the same agents over again, until something clicks, than to get accepted by an agent you can't live with.

Actually, I speak from experience. I did have one agent accept me. But I had sent to her without doing proper research first. I only researched her afterward, when I was actually faced with the the decision to sign on. I discovered her "agency" was opearated by three nice ladies out of the midwest. Now, I'm not snobbish. K Nelson does just fine operating out of Denver. But these nice ladies had no publishing experience, and not a single book credit to their agency's name. They were former librarians and would-be authors turned agents, probably in an attempt to sell their own books while they were at it. I realized I was not likely to be well-represented.

By the way, this was several years ago and their agency no longer exists.

I've made a lot of newbie mistakes, and am likely to make many more, but at least I try not to repeat the same mistake twice. Now I will respect myself and the agents I query more than that. I promised myself after that, I will only query agents I respect, agents I would be giddy to sign on with if they offered me a contract.

I do wonder if I could get myself in trouble sending out MSS 2 and MSS 1 at the same time. Suppose Agent A offers on MSS 2 (having already rejected MsS 1) at the same time Agent B offers on MSS 1 (knowing nothing about MSS2)? I want to do everything professionally and not be a rube.

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