[Note to reader: Great agent interview video below me gassing on about agents]
So, you will see lots of writer and writing coach websites with all sorts of advice and rules for attracting an agent to your project. All of it is fairly general stuff that won't really give you the insight that allows you to know what it is that flicks a switch in an agent's mind to want to read your manuscript and represent you.
I HAVE THE FULL PROOF METHOD THAT WILL WORK AND GET YOU AN AGENT EVERY TIME!
I'm totally lying. No one can honestly say this.
There is no full proof method because the ways and whys of agents are subjective not objective. Yes, some agents, without probably recognizing it, lean toward women or men. They are affected by their mood when they receive your query as well as how busy they are in that moment or week. They are affected by how you try to sell yourself and it may never be consistent from one day to the next. They may love one person's story of a young girl finding a home with black bee keepers in the South and dislike the other thirty they receive that are well written and similar. They may just be too busy and either say no or, as they are doing more often these days, delete your query email without any response whatsoever. They also may say this query is great, send more, and then fall off the face of the planet. Why? I don't know, but this is the world of publishing.
It's subjective so get used to it.
Does this mean they are bad? No. This is just the way it is and we can try to wish it away or argue it's unfair, but it is what it is.
What it means, and this is the best advice I or anyone else can give a writer, are the following:
- Write a really good manuscript.
- Don't take any rejection as a rejection of your skill or story (but be opened minded to whether either is not working).
- Agents are busy people with their own literary dreams. If you don't match their desires, keep looking.
- Send your query/manuscript and a week later gently follow up to be sure they received it and ask if they have questions or need anything else.
- If they don't respond, move on.
- Also, if they say they don't take simultaneous submissions (meaning you've submitted to other agents) ignore it. Send to them and anyone else you want. If they are going to take four to six weeks to respond (oftentimes longer) and possibly/probably not respond at all (some even say on their websites they will do this) life is too short to go one at a time.
- But what if two or more agents want me for a client? Great. You hit the jackpot. Pick one and move on.
Below is a video that will give you more insight as to how the mind of agents work than anything else you're likely to find.