Normally, agent querying is miserable, but I've had a few bright spots the last week. No, I am not agented, but I did correspond a couple of times with an agent who rejected me, but was willing to give me some useful advice - links to research, etc. Her main criticism (that she expressed to me, at least) of my query was what I already suspected, the book is going to be a very hard sell in this market.
Meanwhile an agent who's requested a partial of my YA fantasy was quick to reply to a status email I sent. A status email is when you check to make sure they have your materials, and you should never send one before at least two months have elapsed, some would say three. I waited two, but he fired back a response at once to let me know he had them, and I thanked him for the quick reply. Why is this good? Well, not everyone in any business replies to emails/phone calls promptly, and as a non-client, I am at the bottom of any agent's priority list. If he's this professional with me at this stage, this means he's someone who'd be good to work with. Now we'll see if he wants to rep my book. I've seen agents who don't even return their clients' phone calls, though, so this is something that anyone looking for an agent needs to be aware of.
All in all, this isn't as depressing and awful as I'd anticipated - this week at least :-) There's nothing fun about collecting a slew of rejection letters, though, and it's always sanest to expect a slew of them. There are some exceptions; someone I know sent six queries and got six partial requests, but then another friend of mine sent 42 queries before she finally got offers from two agents and then a six figure book deal. Best to prepare for the latter - minus the six figure book deal, as you don't want to get six figures in debt and then expect to make that all back from your writing.
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