How I Found an Agent Who Asked for my Full Manuscript

You know that one time when I thought my book was done and I was going to submit it to Kindle Scout? Well, turns out I was wrong.

I won’t get into the details of why I decided against Kindle Scout because, well, read the title of the post. Let’s just focus on my brand of finding an agent, plus what’s happened so far. Sound good? No? Well, tough.

Part 1: THE HOW:

Anyone who has thought about querying has probably read the gazillion Writer’s Digest articles about A.) Looking for agent names in the “Acknowledgement” section of books comparable to yours, or B.) Subscribing to Publisher’s Marketplace. I’m not a fan of either method because A.) Ain’t nobody got time for that, and B.) Who the hell designed that site’s search function?

Since, I didn’t want to spend hours in the teen section at B&N (see: Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That), I decided to consult Amazon, the One True God of the Internet, to see if I could find a quicker way to find an agent. I pulled up Amazon categories for my genre, looked for books similar to mine, and then hit the author websites to see if they mentioned their agent. After I checked the agent websites to see if they were open to queries, I then used the Google machine to see who else they represented by typing the following (including quotes):

“Represented by Agent McAgentson

Most authors write something along the lines of “I am represented by Agent McAgentson” on their site, so Google will use its black magic to find this exact term.

Part 2: THE WHAT’S HAPPENED SO FAR

After ten or so responses beginning with Unfortunately, Regretfully, or I’m Sorry to Say, an agent asked for my full after reading the first few chapters. I was stoked. Nay, I was more than stoked. I was pumped as H-E double hockey sticks. There I was, Joe No Name, and this totally legit agent actually wanted to read my stuff. It was the goddamned cat’s meow, man.

About a week later, I got a response. Not a bad response, but not so bueno either. The story, this agent said, wasn’t really their schtick. They gave me their reasons why — a pretty classy move as I understand this doesn’t happen all the time — and wished me the best.

Bummer, I thought. Major effing bummer.

Despite the suckiness of getting rejected, the agent’s comments gave the hamsters in my brain a reason to start running. The more I thought about it, the more I saw the defects in my story. Changes needed to be made if I wanted to have a better book.

I went ahead and thanked them for their time, but also asked if they’d be willing to give the thing another glance if I made some changes. They said that, yeah, they’d take a peek, and to email them directly.

Badass, I thought. My story would now be in a considerably smaller slush pile once I resubmitted.

And so I made changes. Major changes. Thanksgiving gave me a couple weeks from the soul-crushing demands of graduate school and I used every second to do some gnarly rewrites. I had a friend read through it, tell me it was horrible, then tell me he was kidding, and then tell me I should send it back. I did it. That was a few days ago. Now I’m waiting, another of my not-favorite things.

Given that this agent probably reads a whole crap ton of manuscripts, I’m not banking on them giving much time to an already-rejected manuscript. But that’s okay. Like, really okay. See, as much as it sucks to get rejected, there’s something good to be learned from this experience. I now know that my query & first few chapters were good enough to attract the attention of someone who represents a NYT bestseller. It also forced me to do a whole slew of rewrites that made my book even better.

And so, dear friends, that’s the whole show for today. Now that I actually have something other than grad school to write about, I’m sure I’ll be hitting up this old bloggity blog a bit more. That is, of course, unless I decide to start documenting the joys of performing prostate exams or the exciting realm of antihypertensive drugs (I think they’re both awesome so please don’t judge me).

I don’t imagine a lot of you would appreciate that though.

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