A quick check on Google confirmed my worst fears. There are almost half a billion returns for ‘unicorn’ and only 168 for ‘literary agents’. Does that mean that getting into a conversation with a unicorn is more likely than getting a literary agent to consider my latest novel? This was how I approached the process.
Stage 1 Before submitting any material I read through the sites of some 150 agencies. I checked the agents online profile, twitter feeds and video posts. I noted their likes and dislikes and checked the authors they represent.
Stage 2 The first three chapters of my novel were submitted, a query letter and a synopsis to a number of agents (all tailored to their individual specifications).
Stage 3 A couple of depressingly quick rejections ensued. I waited longer (quite a long time in fact) but heard nothing from the majority of them.
Stage 4 I repeated of stages 2 to 3 – several times.
Stage 5 A few more rejections – some polite, some formulaic and some friendly – but also a lot of silence.
It may be about ‘who you know’, but I hope it’s also about what you’ve written. My readers like my style and my stories, but my offerings simply don’t grab the attention of agents.
I’m sure that literary agents stand shoulder to shoulder in wanting to like your novel. I fear that I can write a popular novel, but get the pitch wrong when I am approaching agents – being on the autistic spectrum may be a problem here as my command of interpersonal relationships is learned rather than intuitive.