I thought it would make sense to not just blog about the fact that I am querying, but what I'm learning about the process as I go along. Here's what I've learned so far:
Researching for the agents who are just right for my project is a lot more time consuming than I thought, but worth the hours and hours of research and work, and an essential part of the process. Unless of course, you want to just query every Tom, Dick, and Harry Agency only to receive a whole bunch of big ole' Rs. My process goes like this:
A) Go to Querytracker.com, Agentquery.com, and Guide To Literary Agents, and find the agents who represent YA (and whether or not they are accepting unsolicited queries).
B) From there, I check the agency against the bewares forum in AW to make sure the agency is legit and/or the kinds of issues other writers may have had with them.
C) Check out their website, read what they are about, what they represent, who each agent is, what area/genre each agent is interested in, what authors they currently represent, and which agent you feel will be the best match for your work.
D) From there, you need to read the website (or individual agent's) submission guidelines. Do they want a query letter only, or query plus first 5 pages, or 10 pages, or first chapter, or first 3 chapters. Do they want a synopsis? And if so, do they want a 1 page synop, 2 page synop, or 3-5 page synop?
E) Once you compile a list of choice agents, you need to tailor your query letter to their requirements/needs and possibly for some personalization purposes. Ex. We met at a confrence in *** last month... or, According to your website, you are looking for edgy, upper YA stories and I think my work will be a good match for you...(lame, but you get the point).
F) Check that agent's recent sales on places like Publisher's Market to give you an idea of what's being sold by who and in what genre.
F) Finally, you need some sort of method for keeping track of who you have sent your queries to, when you sent them, what the responses were (Rejection, partial request, full request), what date you received those responses (it's good to keep track of the time frame for each agent so that you have an idea of their idividual time frame, though it can change, to keep you from going insane in the waiting game). I have various folders on my desktop, while others have an excel program to keep track.
So, there you have it. My querying process and how I go about it. Each stage of this novel writing process has it's ups and downs and requires a LOT of work and patience and some organization. I'm learning new things everyday about this business and to not take the time to put in the same work and effort towards finding the right agents as you do in writing and revising and editing your novel, query letter and synopsis is just plain silly. IMO :-)