Pitching to Agents: My Duh Moment

Hello lovely people,
I received another polite frownie-button rejection email today. That brings me to five rejections from twenty-two submissions. That’s okay, though. I never expected my journey to be easy, and I expected rejections. That’s the way it is.
However, rejection doesn’t have to lead to dejection. I may feel otherwise if I reach one-hundred submissions without having an agent fly to DC, contract in hand, to meet with and sign me, but at the moment, while a little bummed, I’m not throwing my head back, hand on forehead, and crying “Oh! Woe is me!”
Instead, I’m going to review my query letter. I’m going to read my hook aloud, silently, whispered, backwards (haha not really 🙂 and see if I should tinker with it.
Tinker with it. Hmmm… that brings me to the point of this post. My “duh” moment. All right, my latest duh moment. Yesterday evening, while perusing the blog of literary agent Jane Friedman (I love Jane. I hope her husband doesn’t find out….), I noticed a popup news box that mentioned new agents who are building their client lists. The point of the popup was that submitting to new agents was a great opportunity. Not that they would be more likely to contact an author for more information, but that they might read two lines into your query rather than one line before deciding your query letter wasn’t going to make them scream for joy.
I thought I’d give it a try, so I looked through the list of names (unusual for me, since I almost always start at the top of a list and work down) and clicked on one. There was a brief bio and a link to the agency’s webpage. I followed the link and – you know what? Let’s make a long story short. As I prepared my email submission, the 100 watt bulb went off over my head. I have to say, that’s dangerous; my hair is thinning so my scalp burns easily. But, that bulb was hot! Here comes my duh moment: Stand By. Brace yourselves: “I should do a search for this agent and see if I can learn anything that might help me with my submission.” Right? I know. Brilliant!
Hey. I can be slow at times. I know most of you do this as a matter of routine: Step 1. (yawn) Spell Check. Step 2. (dash cold water in face) To-be verb check. Step 3. (here kitty kitty) Agent’s name correct? Step 4. (coffee…coffee) Research agent. I also know the world is full of writers like me, starting out, testing the water with toe-tips, learning the ropes. “It don’t come easy, you know it don’t come easy.” Thanks, Ringo.
In my research, I found a Q&A with this agent on a writer’s blog. In the Q&A, the agent was asked how she performed “The Ritual,” (my term – feel free to use it 🙂 What she said blew my mind: “My email inbox shows the name of the sender, subject, and first line of my messages, so I see those three pieces of information first. These elements can either immediately pique my curiosity (an interesting title, something in the first sentence that speaks to me, an instantly intriguing log line), or lead me to skip over, or sometimes even delete, a message….” Yessssss! I know the secret.(My title is Honey Ko – that’s intriguing. Isn’t it?)
Again, this may be old news to some of you, but for the rest of the Wills out there, live and learn. Don’t get complacent and keep sending the same old submission. Do some research and find out what makes that agent want to take another look, dig deeper, ask for more info, fly to YOUR town and sign you up.
Did I make the long story short? I hope so. My writer’s fault is wordiness. I don’t speak much; I’m usually the quiet one. I guess I let it all out on paper.
Tonight, I’m reworking my agent pitch and previewing it by sending it to myself as an email. I’ve set my email preview to one line. I want to see how powerful that first line is. It’s a bunch of baloney that the first line has to contain my name and the subject – that’s taking up valuable pitch space. But hey, nobody said life is fair, or agents 🙂
‘Til next time my lovelies 😉

10 thoughts on “Pitching to Agents: My Duh Moment

      1. Yes. I was stationed there for a year when I was in the Navy. The story is semi-autobiographical, but based mostly on my observations of the multitude of sailor-barmaid relationships I witnessed.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Wow, I could sense that in the writing. I would love to go there one day.
        Your book really drew me in, as i said before, I found your writing very cultured and entertaining.
        It must have been a great experience out there.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oh man you have done it now! I’m dying to go. You have just stirred that up in me with that comment. lol. What part were you at? And I’m dying to ask, what made the experience so great? You know I was gonna ask right? lol

        Liked by 1 person

  1. It was actually two six-month deployments to Olongapo with a year between them. My aircraft squadron was based in Barbers Point Hawaii (I know, this keeps getting better and better 🙂
    I was in my mid-twenties and indestructable. It was unfortunate, but the only place to party in Hawaii was Waikiki. Terrible. Anyway, take a guy from Hawaii and set him down in Olongapo, Philippines, kind of like Disney Land, but with only E-rides.
    PI was the most exotic, foreign land I had ever visited – and I was an Air Force Brat born and raised a while overseas. The base was on Subic Bay (Subic Bay Naval Station) and the airbase (Cubi Point Naval Air Station) part of the Naval Station. The whole area was surrounded by jungle and everything that goes with it. The town hopped at night. Nightclubs were verywhere. You could lose your hearing there very easily. It was just a blast. We worked long hours, but had enough time off to have fun. I used to take the bus all over the place to take photos and see the country.


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