I've had to really think about how to proceed when I get to the end of my agent list, which is getting close. I'm not done querying yet, but I've been reflecting on the process and have come to realize there are three things that go a long way in helping you secure an agent. And here they are:
1) Endorsements/referrals - this means having published authors who have read your book, liked it, and are willig to be quoted as saying so- and who will refer you to their agent so that they'll read your query a bit more closely.
2) Publishing credits- if you can sell an article to a magazine or newspaper, this will positively affect your query.
3) Face-to-face meetings with agents- this is done at conferences. Many agents will only accept queries from writers they've met at conferences or who are referred to them by one of their current clients (#1).
So... I have decided I need to seek after one or more of these three things. The one I can begin to work on most quickly (which means you can too) is getting something published in a magazine or newspaper. This isn't to say I'll be successful right away, but it's something I can take action on. So I've pulled out my trusty Writer's Market and have begun looking for opportunities to submit freelance work. (I suppose I need to also actually write something.)
Next, I have to get serious about getting to a conference. Unfortunately, I will have to wait until at least February. I don't have time to save up for the ACFW Conference in September, nor am I able to leave my son that soon because he is still nursing. So, the next one is the CWG Conference in February. That's a long time to wait! And patience is not one of my virtues. But it's the only way to get a shot at some of the best agents in the industry. So a few months of waiting should be a no-brainer. A conference is also a good place to meet authors who may endorse my book or refer me to their agents. Of course the friendships to be made will far outweigh this benefit, but networking is important.
So, I'll need to start saving my pennies! I'm not sure how I'll do that. Maybe I'll have a couple of candle parties. Or maybe I'll even sell an article or two and use that to help pay for a conference. Amazing how all that could work together, huh?
*In the meantime, I'll let you in on a secret (shhhhh): I have an idea for another novel percolating in my brain.
The idea isn't even in the infant stage yet. Not even an embryo- more like a zygote. But it's there and it's growing. It's exciting to have this new idea to hold onto while I make my way impatiently down the publication road. I've mentioned it to only a couple of people, and you will be the first to hear about any progress I make right here.