Now that you’ve researched agents to determine which seem a good fit for you, tailor each submission for the agent you will query.
Take your time
I take at least one day to prepare, following the agency’s requirements exactly. If I’m not sure about something, I email the agency for clarification—but this is a last resort rather than a first option. They were glad to know I was taking their guidelines seriously, but I’d rather not give the impression that I need handholding through the entire process.
Send the file in the format they specify. If they don’t specify, choose RTF (rich text format).
- Date sent
- To whom
- Agent or publisher
- Title submitted
- Manner of submission: Email or USPS
- Response time
- The date I could begin looking for a response
- The date I received the response
- Comments the agent made
I also included publishers and editors I contacted on my own so I’d have a complete submission history. I kept a copy of the spreadsheet in a pocket folder that included other notes and correspondence about that project.
Don’t send it yet
Have another writer or freelance editor read your submission before submitting. Fresh eyes (and brains) will find what you missed.
Once you’ve sent your baby into the world, start on your next project—until you get that phone call letting you know your hard work has paid off.
Michele Huey takes time from working on her current manuscript, a historical fiction, to find a cozy corner and read. She also writes an award-winning column, is a Christian Writers Guild mentor, and preaches for a small congregation between pastors. Visit her website and her blog.