Submitting your work to an agent can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. A few simple steps will help you gain confidence, regardless of your method.
This is when you are querying several agents and you have no connection other than seeing them on a list. I really don’t recommend the cold call submission, because it’s not likely you’ll find exactly the right agent for yourself just by choosing names from a list.
But if you do, it’s fine to ask for acknowledgement that the agent received your work after waiting until the agent’s posted and estimated response time has expired. That way, at least you know that it wasn’t lost and is still in the review process by the agent.
Submission based on some familiarity
Not every writer can go to a conference, but you can still establish some connection by following the agent’s blog, liking the agent’s business page on Facebook, and following the agent on Twitter and/or other social media. Be a friendly presence by commenting on blog posts and sharing the agent’s posts from Facebook, and retweeting Twitter comments. If you are uncomfortable following the agent on all social media, I recommend being a faithful blog follower and commenting when it makes sense to do so. This way, you will have some name recognition with the agent when you submit. An added benefit is that you’ll get to know the agent, too.
Requested submission after conference meeting
When the agent has asked to see your work, congratulations! Be sure to label your submission as requested and in your cover letter, remind the agent where you met. You can even refer to any special connection you may have made, such as a mutual interest in vintage jewelry.
When you do get the nod
Again, congratulations! I hope the nod is from your first choice agent. Regardless, if you have submitted to more than one agent, let the others know before you sign. No one wants to spend time on a submission, only to find it’s no longer available.
Are you in the process of submitting to agents? What has been your experience?
What advice can you share with authors who are submitting to agents?