After receiving my first rejection letter from an agent, I did some more research. I found a great website that has a list of all the agencies in the world: LitRejections care of the blogger at Rejectomancy.
There are only 30 literary agencies in Canada. They receive queries from all over the world – not just Canadians – making for some very heavy competition. It makes sense for me to look outside of Canada. The US has over 130 agencies and the UK has over 100.
The US agencies tend to ask for only the first 5 or maybe 10 pages of your book (the agency that rejected me asked for 3 pages) along with your query letter.
Aside for those of you who don’t know: a query letter is 250 words enticing the agent to read your book. Extremely difficult and frustrating to do. I have 10 versions that still don’t sound quite right.
The problem with fantasy novels – which mine is – is that it takes awhile for the plot to start moving. This is because the writer has to describe the world that the characters inhabit. The reader cannot take the normal everyday rules for granted.
The UK agencies, on the other hand, ask for the first three CHAPTERS. But I am still setting up my world in the first 3 chapters. *ugh*
So I am considering combining the first 3 chapters into one. I will attempt this task over the coming weekend… I have a feeling this will be a slightly less painful exercise than composing a query letter. I’ll let you know how this works out.
Some of you who have been paying attention – I don’t really expect any of you to as there will be no test – might be wondering why I’m considering a major rewrite on the first 3 chapters of my novel when I’ve already sent out queries.
Well… ah… hem… make that query. Yes, I only sent one query.
I know. You have a confused look on your face.
The reason is that I found an agency I really liked and the website indicated they were going to be closed for queries December 1. I panicked. I sent off my not-quite-right query letter and my first 3 pages and received a rejection letter quite quickly. It probably didn’t make it past the intern. Note to self: do not send panicked queries!
The good news is that I’m not expecting any more rejection letters… at least, not in the near future.