It would be great to think that one of the two literary agents who currently have my full manuscript will want to represent it and me, but given the usual time lag between submission and response, it won’t hurt to have a few other irons in the fire – and there are bound to be many more agents who look really good. So, I need to search around and target who else I want to submit Certainty to. There will be a kind of advantage in not having had any previous contact with these other agents, since from their point of view they’ll be receiving an ultra-polished draft, whereas the two currently reading it originally read (and turned down, let’s not forget) the last one.
But as I learnt from my little exercise with my friends last week, whether someone will like a piece of writing or not is incredibly subjective, so even though I’ll be researching as much I can, and carefully targeting as much as I can (there’s obviously no point in sending Certainty to agents who only represent writers of historical fiction, for example), there isn’t an exact science to this. I’ll do my bit as well as possible, and then will just have to hope that it lands in front of the right person at the right time.
I’m pretty happy with my cover letter and synopsis. What always needs work, though, is the middle paragraph of the former that’s individually targeted to each agent, where I need to say exactly why I’m approaching them in particular. This time around, I’ll be mixing and matching UK and US agents, and the querying systems are completely different (UK typical: cover letter, synopsis, first 3 chapters. US typical: query email including mini-synopsis at the start, first 5-10 pages). Hours of fun ahead for me, then!