You’ve received professional editing help and have revised your manuscript until it shines. You’ve carefully crafted your query letter and sent it to agents you’ve researched. Now what?
Many authors I’ve worked with ask what to do while waiting to hear back from agents. The obvious first answer is to work on your next book. Agents and editors today are not looking for just one title from new authors; they want to champion authors who have many ideas for future projects and can deliver on more than one idea. If you don’t have a next book in mind, then begin to brainstorm ideas, make notes, write outlines, and start your research. If you do have that next idea, begin to put it down on the page. In addition to keeping your writing juices flowing, it will help to pass the time and ease the anxiety of waiting.
While you aren’t writing, start working on your next list of targeted agents. Maybe you’ll be lucky and find an agent to represent you among those in your first submission group. But most likely you will have to do another round, so start researching other possible agents, read their submission guidelines, and prepare to go through the process again.
If you haven’t done so already, devise a sound record-keeping strategy. Use a MS Word table, an Excel spreadsheet or simply keep paper records of agent names, submission dates, follow-up dates, and responses. Be aware that some agencies request that you not submit to multiple agents within that firm. Keep meticulous notes regarding these types of requests and also of the stated response times. Send follow up emails to agents who state it is okay to check in after a certain amount of time has passed.
Ana Howard specializes in developmental editing of historical fiction, science fiction, YA, and memoir.