I took the day off, yesterday, to read “Flowers for Algernon”, and to mull over my little bit of success.
I decided that this is no time to rest on my laurels.
I’ve been hitting up agents ever since I wrote “Naming Names”. I’ll need one if I’m going to get any kind of an audience for the three books I’ve already written, and for the two new ones that I’m currently planning.
Since being shortlisted for the Mslexia prize, I’ve had my most recent agent rejection letter, (see blog “Failure on the Heels of Success”), and very encouraged by it I was too. The day I got that rejection, I sent out another begging letter, this time to Greene and Heaton. Mslexia has also offered me an agent introduction, which I plan to pursue, and the wonderful Angela Slatter (go read her short story collections, “The Girl With No Hands” and “Sourdough and other Stories”) is also pursuing a lead for me.
This all sounds good, right? Yes... Yes it does.
Now, here’s the worry.
I do want to make hay while the sun shines, who wouldn’t? On the other hand, I don’t want to become a thorn in anyone’s side, and there are rules about this sort of thing.
It is considered impolite, at the very least, to contact more than one agent at a time. I’d consider it rude if I was an agent. This is a small community of specialists who know each other. If I was to send my book out to a dozen of them at a time, it would be like spamming on the web. Don’t think that agents don’t talk to one another.
When does being keen and motivated turn into being rude and annoying? Honestly, I’m not entirely sure.
The Mslexia prize might well be newsworthy several times over the next year or two as books from the shortlist find their ways into the readers’ hands, but today’s newspapers are tomorrows chip-wrappers, and my window of opportunity feels small.
I’m off to read submissions guidelines.
In the meantime, if you’re an agent, do feel free to request samples; I can have them ready for you in no time flat.
Multiple submissions are a problem, aren't they? While on my MA we quizzed several agents about this and they suggested it's OK to submit to more than one agent unless they specifically ask you not to. As one pointed out, they make multiple subs to publishers themselves. Otherwise you can be left hanging about for months. I agree the Mslexia thing is good for a few months anyway, but it will go stale at some point. Good luck with it!ReplyDelete
I don't want to exclude any really good, top-flight agents just because they're looking for a little exclusivity. I can't say I blame them.
I'm in this for the long game, so I'm going to keep plugging away at submissions, and working on new projects. I'm enjoying writing the blog, too.
if it's of any use I got my first agent by sending off to 15 agents at the same time chosen from the Writers and Artists' yearbook. my advice is to just do it especially while your stock is high. my reasoning was I would have to be very lucky to have two fighting over me!