Sunday 13 May 2012

Agency update

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   I sent those Guild letters out to the literary agencies last week, and so far I've heard back from four of them. Like I said in the original post, agencies generally expect the first three chapters, a synopsis and a covering letter from the off, and don't generally require a preliminary letter or email, but one agency from the extremely short list of fantasy-accepting agencies did.
   A few months ago I read through the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook and searched all of their agencies. Very few of them said anything about fantasy, but I checked all of the websites of everyone who mentioned nothing about it. I ended up emailing about seven agencies who never stated they did or did not accept fantasy novels - I've heard back from half, all of whom have declined - but the few agencies who have expressed interest in fantasy didn't accept email. This was where my letters came in.

   So I wrote them up, printed them out, sealed them and made them lurvely. I made sure to state in the letter that it was a fantasy novel, and also included a brief 3-line plot outline, so once I sent them out the balls were well and truly in the agencies' courts. The four I've heard back from have all asked me to send out my first three chapters. One sent me a standard form letter, but, surprisingly, the other three agencies actually took the time to hand write a request - one of them was only a line written at the top of the letter I sent them, but the other two put more effort in. I'm a little more hopeful with this now. Each of these four agencies know I'm sending in fantasy, but are interested anyway, so I'm hoping that now, finally, I'll be judged on my work rather than my genre.
   I'm still waiting on an order from the wonderful Fawn and Flora - some giant paperclips (and cute notepaper which has little to do with anything) to bundle my manuscript together and post it out to them, since they don't want them bound any other way, but since I don't have them yet and heard back from these agencies much faster than I expected, I'm going to just send this first one out as it is.
   I've also decided that, after printing merely the first three chapters and seeing it reach 79 sheets of paper (required to be printed on one side, and double spaced), I'm only printing it once. Generally, if you send a stamped addressed envelope, an agency will return your manuscript to you. I hate to think what this will cost to send, but in the face of a future career, no cost is too great. Of course I only just managed to find an envelope big enough, I have little idea of what to do if I'm lucky enough to be requested the full manuscript - though that will  be a problem I'll enjoy having.
   My plan for this is to wrap the bubble wrap envelope (it was all I could find big enough at my tiny post-office/chemist) in parcel paper, tie it with string and use the wax seal again, to keep it visually consistant.
   None of this means anything, not really, what counts is the writing itself, of course. And since it's a trilogy, as I've said time and time again, even if my manuscript is good, the series factor will decrease the likelihood of a contract. But I have plenty of ideas, so if this doesn't work, I'll try something else. I'm submitting the first book of the trilogy, but I'm already writing the second, and have plans for the third, and then on top of that I have plans for a duology in the same world with a few thousand years between them, and two other books in their own worlds and with new stories. If this trilogy won't be my debut, something else will be. I want this too badly and am working too hard for it to never happen.

   The response I got today, however, and fortunately, requested my work by email, so yay, saving paper (and postage and ink). I've sent that to them this morning, but I probably won't hear anything back for a month or so. As for the rest, I'll be sure to update when they're sent out, and whenever, if ever, I receive a positive response.


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