The whole process makes me very nervous. I’ve spent almost two years now writing, re-writing, editing, and developing ways to promote the manuscript. I’ve committed my attention, my time, my passion and my heart to this project. I believe in it and I think it can provide hope for whoever reads it. Now I get to see if anything will come of it.
Agents have to be picky. They generally get hundreds of submissions a week. Simple spelling or grammar mistakes can tank your project. Not following submission guidelines is also a nice excuse to reject the proposal. I read through my email dozens of times before I sent it out because I was worried about a stupid error that would lead an agent to believe I am not a serious author. Once it was sent, I felt really on edge.
Even if your story is good, there is the whole question of whether your manuscript is marketable. Agents largely are not in the business to make people’s publishing dreams come true – they have to make a living. If they see something that cannot be commercially successful, the manuscript ends up in the garbage bin. They have to convince a publisher to print the book, which won’t happen if the book has limited appeal.
This first person I sent my materials to is an agent I was “introduced” to over email from another author. Referrals and introductions can make a big difference when trying to stand out from the crowd in a good way. Many agents don’t like it when authors send out their manuscript to other agents simultaneously and specify they may not get back to you with an answer for 2-3 months (if at all!). Translation – finding an agent can be a long, drawn out process.
If you know of any agents or publishers who may be interested in receiving a submission for YOU DON’T KNOW JACK: A MICRO-PREEMIE STORY, please email me: email@example.com.