The querying-in-earnest begins…

Having had my query letter held up as exemplary at last fall’s Novel Writing Conference in Pasadena (see previous post), I’ve now started aggressively querying literary agents for representation.

My first choice of agent, the one I met in Pasadena, currently has my full MS for review, which is very exciting. But she’s had it a while now, and I’m not going to make any assumptions, so I’m researching, listing and querying lots more agents who represent women’s fiction writers.

I’m being pretty methodical about this. I have an Excel spreadsheet of all the agents I’ve found out about who deal in women’s fiction. I subscribed to Publisher’s Marketplace (well worth the $25 a month fee, for a while at least) so I can see who is representing which authors on what relevant deals. Then I research that agent, find out more about what she’s looking for (they’re all women!) and plug all of that info, plus her contact details and guidelines for submission, into my spreadsheet.

It’s getting pretty massive. There’s a list of agent names down the side, and across the spreadsheet are columns for contact details, agency name, submission guidelines, their wishlist/relevant clients, when I sent a query, if/when they responded and what that response was, if/when I sent further pages, and so on.

I’m also grouping the agents geographically, so the first section is New York, then there’s a smaller group for outside New York (mostly LA, but some others) and then a UK section which I’ll get to later if I have no luck in the States.

Finally, I’m colour-coding the rows, so that each time an agent rejects me, I mark her row off in orange-red so I don’t go back to it, but the record is there. If an agent currently has my full MS, her row is green, and if I queried but haven’t heard back yet, it’s yellow. If there’s a reason I can’t query them yet (currently closed to queries, for example), they are pink. Any that I still need to query are in white, and are turned to yellow once the query is sent.

Here’s an image of it below, in case it helps anybody, and I’ll keep updating the image so you can see how many rejections I get!