15 Ways To Succeed While You’re Hunting Agents

You’ve finished your epic novel and you’re querying agents.

(You haven’t written an epic novel? No matter. Applying for a job? Same thing.)

Waiting chess HOC giphy
Pace yourself. And don’t do anything illegal.

Yep, you’re in it for the long haul. Oh yeah.

So how do you succeed at the game—and how do you handle the rejection?

1. It’s a numbers game. Remind yourself: It’s only a numbers game.

Numbers Game giphy
It’s just a numbers game.

2. For every query that is rejected, send out two new ones—because . . . it’s only a numbers game.

3. Pop a cork! You’ve gotten your first three rejections over with. (Because . . .  it’s only a numbers game.)

iPhoneography by Jann Alexander © 2016
Celebrate the little victories.  Jann Alexander © 2016

4. Print out the rejections and and make paper airplanes. (Or tack them to the wall to encourage you to persevere.)

Paper Airplane giphy
Burn off your frustrations in a positive way.

5. Find courage in the list of famous books that triumphed after numerous rejections at Literary Rejections. Then read the books.

Rejected. At first. via Literary Rejections
Rejected. At first. via Literary Rejections

6. Reread Six Cover Letter Mistakes to make sure you weren’t mistaken and Query Letter Do’s and Don’ts to make sure you didn’t. Then avoid sharp objects.

“Chance favors only the prepared mind.”

—Louis Pasteur

7. Prepare yourself for success. (Because chance favors only the prepared mind—or so said Louis Pasteur). How? Ice down the bubbly.

Be Prepared | iPhoneography by Jann Alexander ©2013
Always. Be. Prepared. Jann Alexander ©2013

8. Seek out published authors who describe querying over 100 agents before they finally find theirs—because . . . it’s only a numbers game. Take heart.

Numbers giphy
It’s just a numbers game. Repeat to self: It’s only a numbers game.

9. Compulsively check and recheck AgentQuery to make sure you haven’t overlooked any agents to query—because, that’s right, it’s a numbers game.

10. Revise, refine, rewrite your query. Hone that sucker. Make that baby sparkle.

Shiny giphy
Dazzle ’em!

11. Research the next batch (numbers game again) of agents you’ll be querying even more zealously. Add new names to your already massive Excel spreadsheet of agents to query.

It’s a numbers game. Repeat to self: It’s only a numbers game.

12. Follow every agented author on Twitter who writes in your genre and tweets her success stories. Use her profile photo on your dart board.

Pryor Darts giphy
Aim for Success.

13. Make a Twitter list of literary agents and publishing luminaries to follow and retweet their #querytips and #pubtips. When one thanks you and follows you back, pour more bubbly.

14. Start looking at small publishers and make another spreadsheet for those. Just to pass the time till your future agent calls. Stay positive.

Stay Positive.
Stay Positive.

15. Keep writing your next novel. Remember that one, the one you began so enthusiastically before you began querying? 

What are your strategies as you query and hunt?


Jann Alexander's A Habit of Hiding_Book Cover

You can get a sneak peek of my upcoming novel: 

Read an excerpt from A Habit of Hiding here

For more on the art of writing, look HERE.

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10 thoughts on “15 Ways To Succeed While You’re Hunting Agents

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      1. Oh yes! Still battling in the trenches, but thinking about it as a numbers game helps a lot. I’ve learned to practice a bit of healthy detachment from the whole process. 🙂

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