Before we left for Egypt (little guessing that we’d sidestep the drama there by hours…!) I sent queries to a number of agents thinking that we would be gone for two weeks so I’d probably hear back from all of them by the time we returned. After all, the first six agents replied to me within 48 hours.
Turns out I was being misguidedly optimistic – only one agent replied to me while we were busy dodging Cairo’s insane traffic. (Hello??? There are lines painted on the road – is it really too much to ask that you stay inside them…?!) The one agent who replied was #11 who I originally discovered through her blog. Her reply was the email equivalent of a form letter. Does that make it an ‘eform letter’…? At any rate, it was a No’, albeit a nicely worded one:
Sadly, this project is a pass for me. I pass on many interesting (and publishable!) projects due to time constraints (much like you choose only one or two books at a bookstore, even though there are a lot of good ones.) Please do not read any more into this decision than “not the best fit for me.” Of course, I urge you to query widely! What’s not right for me can be exactly what another of my ilk is dying to get her claws into.
It was disappointing because I really like this woman’s skewered perspective on life and she would have been great to work with but, alas, a nicely-worded no is still a no.
However, to her credit, she did say that there are a number of agents in her firm and a ‘no’ from her doesn’t mean a ‘no’ from all of them. For some reason I thought it was just her working on her own. So I went to their website and found that in fact there are 11 agents at this firm. One by one I read each of their bio’s on the company’s website and one by one I knocked them off the list because they’re not interested in what I have to offer. Eventually I got down to just two out of the 11 and decided to approach the one who’s been a literary agent for 20 years and says she is “…looking for fine, accomplished writing, whether the work is by a first time or established author.” I guess all literary agents are looking for that however she also lists ‘historicals’ as one of her areas of interest. So she becomes agent #14.