Photo found here: Indizi dell'avvenuta catastrofe
In yesterday's post I updated you on my query status: WAITING. In the comments, Rebecca pushed me (lovingly) to keep sending queries while I wait, reminding me that one's dream agent is not always found in the expected place.
So here is my question to you: when do you stop looking?
I have sent my query to 90 agents. I had a damn good hit rate, getting partial or full requests from 15 of those agents, as well as getting some really great personal rejections. I'm still not totally certain whether my book is "chick lit" or "women's lit", so when I started the process I looked for agents open to either of those categories when doing my AgentQuery research. (Actually, I might fit best into that new New Adult category, but that's not a searchable industry term yet.) I re-ran those searches a number of times, to make sure I'd captured everyone open to new clients in those genres. That was in April-May-June of 2009, and I sent out about 75 queries.
Then in September-October-November of 2009 I sent out a handful more. In some cases this was because an agent finally lifted her moratorium on queries, in others it was because a particular agent finally rejected me, thus allowing me to apply to a different, seemingly-a-good-fit agent at the same agency. I also came up with another genre to search for: Gay & Lesbian lit, because two of the main character's three best friends are lesbians. That brought me up to my current total of 90 queries.
So, I ask you: what have I missed? I think I've found all the agents who play in my field. You never know which agent will be the one who really "gets" your novel, but I'm not going to send my stuff to agents and say, "hey, I know you don't say you represent books like mine, and I don't see any books like mine on your list, but I thought I'd throw this your way anyhow."
So, I wait. I hope that one of the remaining four agents is The One. I guess I can take another gander at the AgentQuery listings, but at some point one does run out of reputable agents in a given category. I think if this last group doesn't pan out, then all I can do is take comfort in the fact that some rejections included an expression of interest in whatever my next project might be. It's nice to have a ready-made short-list for novel #2.
WHEN IS IT TIME TO GIVE UP? Querying writers, how are you choosing which agents to try for? What will you do when that list is tapped out? Agented writers, what would you have done if the answers had all been "no"?