A couple of weeks ago, I got two e-mails in the same day from real agents who were interested in reading more of my book! Each of them had received my materials about a month earlier and were now getting back to me. One works in the religious market and had seen a one-page query and five sample pages, and she asked to see a full proposal (three chapters plus marketing plans, etc.) but she wanted me to cut down the size of the manuscript, too, which made me wonder why she was asking for cuts before she had actually read the thing. But, I made some trims to the part she had read, and sent in the manuscript with a planned length of 70,000 words (at present it is 80,000 words).
The other was from a big literary agency in New York City. There, the agent (ok, his assistant) after reading three sample chapters and marketing plans, had asked me to send the whole manuscript. I went and looked him up, and he is in fact listed as the number two dealmaker for memoirs by Publishers’ Marketplace, a database that keeps track of literary deals.
Having this all happen at once made me feel like this short video of Kermit going nuts. Excited, but also frantic in that I wanted to make sure that everything was all perfect before I actually hit “send” on the additional materials requested by the agents.
My friend the developmental editor got me back to reality. On the one hand, this was really good news in that my proposal and my writing was good enough to get past the first hurdle, on the other hand, there’s still a really high attrition rate even at this stage. My chances of landing either of these two particular agents is quite small, she said, so it’s important to continue sending lots of proposals to agents. Quantity matters along with quality. And, there’s no need to labor over the full manuscript to get it “perfect” before sending. That would be procrastination.
So I sent them what they asked for last week. And I’m planning to query a whole bunch more agents.