Saturday, August 15, 2009

Meet Me at the Watercooler

I’m back in manuscript-submission mode, so wish me luck. To help me choose the best agents to query, I’m pouring over the forums on Verla Kay's "Blueboard", Absolute Write, and QueryTracker. If you’re launching a targeted agent search too, and you haven’t checked out these sites yet, you really should.

Verla Kay and Absolute Write are watercooler sites that are full of forums, with plenty of agent-related threads. Posters comment on agents’ likes, dislikes, and response times; agency openings and closings; new agents and what types of manuscripts they’re looking for; and a slew of other helpful topics. QueryTracker has a comments section where writers compare notes on particular agents. These forums are not only full of insider information, they’re also supportive, motivating, and easy to join. I find them essential when I’m querying and submitting.

Part of the fun of using these sites is stumbling on submission-story gems like the one below:

“Keep it up everyone, the bestseller, The Power of Positive Thinking, was rejected so many times that the author gave up and threw it in the trash. He told his wife not to take it out, so she snuck the whole trash can to one last publisher and he accepted it.”

Or this comment about a weird-but-good experience a writer had with an agent (I’m not revealing the agents’ names here but you can find them on QT):

“I sent an e-query to Agent X on 4/27. She rejected it on 5/17. Yesterday, I emailed Agent Y in the same agency since she now accept e-queries (according to AQ) and now lists YA as one of her genres. I got an email from Agent X today saying that Agent Y forwarded her my query thinking it would fit her list better. She said if I was okay with a switch, she'd like to see a partial. Agent X requested a full after I alerted her to an offer of representation from another agent.”

And I just love comments like the one below, where a writer revealed her query stats before finally landing an agent:

“9 Pending, 1 Partial, 1 full (and subsequent offer), 10 No Response, 12 Rejections, for a total of 33 queries. Keep submitting! Never give up!”

So tell me, what helps you when you’re in submission-mode? Websites? Books? Conferences? Red wine? All of the above?


  1. AAAALLL of the above. Especially the wine.

  2. Love the VK blueboards for agent info. I also subscribe to the Guide to Literary Agents blog and get their email updates:

    Good luck submitting!

  3. Funny, I hadn't heard that story about The Power of Positive Thinking, but I did blog about that book this week!

  4. Best of luck with your submissions, J.L.! I just sent something out too (finally!), and it feels great to have something out in the world again. :o)

    I just checked out QueryTracker. Very nice information. Thanks for the recommendation!

  5. I'm in submission-mode, too! And nothing makes me happier than seeing smiley faces on the querytracker query list!

    For anyone who hasn't yet visited, not only is it filled with helpful info, it also lets you track submissions easily with click-able icons.

  6. Good luck with submissions. I haven't used querytracker, but when I start submitting again maybe I'll check it out. I made my own spreadsheet to keep track of submissions years ago. It was the simplest way to keep myself organized.

  7. MG: Thanks for mentioning the guidetoliteraryagents blog. I agree, it's another key site.

    Corey: We both blogged about the same book at the same time? Now that's power. :-)

    Brianna: G'luck with your subs. J.A. and I can be your sub buddies, if you like. Keep us posted.

    J.A. I love the smiley face icons too, especially the ones with the big, toothy grins. A full request...yeah, baby.

    Aimee: I'll clink to that!

    Thanks for your great comments everyone.

  8. Very thoughtfull post on positivethinking. It should be very much helpfull.

    Karim - Positive thinking