Oh, the query process. Trying to get an agent to love you and your story in around three paragraphs. Totally doable, right? Thanks to the digital age where everyone and their grandma who has ever written a book can just email an agent, not so much.
But, it’s part of the process, so we do it. You tweak your query over and over, send and send, hoping someone will take a bite at it and love your novel as much as you do. As much as your grandma does.
You search for agents online, looking for the perfect one. You scroll their Twitter feed, read their bios on their websites, read interviews with them, trying to get a feel for their personality and what they’re looking for in an author and their work. Yes, you basically stalk them. But in a not-so-creepy-I-just-want-to-work-with-you kind of way. Not the I’ve-been-staring-at-you-across-the-cafeteria-and-want-to-makeout-with-you kind of way.
Hours are poured into research and polishing your query and first chapter/pages. You want to impress them. Wow them. When you finally summon the courage to actually hit send on the email, a small giddy relief washes over you. You did it. You made the first move on your agent crush.
Then you wait. Agents are busy. Very busy. They have current clients, edits, publishers, deals, other query letters, and a billion other things I’m sure I’m overlooking.
Some are so busy, they never get back to you. They get hundreds of queries a week. Thanks, grandma.
Some will respond in a few months. Some in a few weeks. Some in a few days. Some in a few hours. All depends on their workload.
Multiple things can happen. They can ask to see a little bit more of your work (lunch date). Or they can request your whole novel to review (dinner date). Or they can pass on your project, but give you some valuable feedback on your work (you’re sweet, funny, and cute, but the spark just isn’t there).
Even the most popular authors received rejections. Some received hundreds of them. It’s all part of the process. Obviously we, as authors, want to find the perfect agent for us. Just like they want to find the perfect author for them. It’s an online dating process that is long and rough and full of sorrow and heartache, moments of joy and excitement, all in search of “the one.”