I’ve finally done it, folks. I’ve completed my 100 Literary Agent Challenge. Can you believe it? I’ve sent MEDICAL MECH out to 100 agents. It has been a long and arduous road. My initial plan was to send the novel to 100 agents over the course of 100 days. However, that didn’t work out as intended. Life happened. I couldn’t keep up with the time it required to research agents each day. Plus the Holidays hit and a lot of agencies stopped taking manuscripts until after the New Year.
But I didn’t give up. I had set a goal, and I planned to reach it one way or another. So here we are, eight months after I began back in September, and now I’ve completed the task. What do I have to show for it? Well, here’s a look by the numbers:
- 100 agents/publishing houses queried.
- 34 responses.
- 66 have not heard back from . . . yet.
- 1 personal response with feedback . . . and a promise to give the manuscript another look after some careful editing/rewriting.
- 3 interested in seeing more work from me . . . specifically MADDIE JONES & THE CURSE OF THE TERRACOTTA WARRIORS (they believe this novel will be more marketable than MEDICAL MECH with its guitars and robots).
- 3 request to read the manuscript.
- 3 rejections afterward . . . but one of those agents represents New York Times bestselling authors and it was extremely cool that she reviewed my work for two weeks.
When you look at the numbers it’s easy to see this experience as formulaic. However, what you’re not seeing are my ups and downs of emotions. When I first began I was filled with excitement and hope. When the first rejections started coming in I was deeply hurt. Then it the challenge became a marathon–and sometimes I didn’t want to keep going. Eventually, after months of querying and I was thirty agents in, I began praying that at least one person would request to see the manuscript. I told myself I’d consider the challenge a win if just ONE said, “Hey, I enjoyed your work. Can I see more?”
Well, 49 agents later and my first request came. My emotions soared! Then the request from a high-profile agent came in while I was cooking dinner one night after a long, stressful day . . . and I felt like I was on Cloud 9. For two weeks, my dreams were very much alive, and it fueled me forward to continue the challenge.
You see, all it takes is one yes. Although I have not (yet) received a letter of representation/publication this go round, I am encouraged that my next project will. I’ve learned a tremendous amount about the process. And a few of the agents I spoke with seem to think MADDIE JONES & THE CURSE OF THE TERRACOTTA WARRIORS has more potential to sell than MEDICAL MECH. I’ll keep my fingers crossed they are right. In the meantime, I’ll be fine-tuning the novel and recruiting test readers soon. And who knows, I might just post a few videos of me reading the opening chapters. Stay tuned.
I’ll conclude with a cartoon that sums up how I feel about this entire thing. It’s easy to quit when things aren’t going your way, but if you do quit you’ll never know how close you might’ve come to achieving your goals.
NEVER GIVE UP, BECAUSE YOU MIGHT BE CLOSER TO YOUR DREAMS THAN YOU THINK.