As you probably know, I finished my first draft and started editing. Strangely enough, my mind isn’t nearly as focussed on editing as it was on writing. I’m not feeling the pull, mainly because there isn’t one. The story is there, down on the page. The fun part is all done.
Unfortunately, as we know, editing is necessary. My first draft is pretty clean, i.e. it makes sense. Now I have to go through and make sure the inconsistencies are sorted, typos are corrected, dialogue and characterisation and description are strengthened (or, in some cases, put in). This doesn’t, to my mind, constitute fun. So much for the carrot. I need a stick.
The stick comes in the form of agents. Yes, I will be submitting to agents and this is the stick I need. In order to submit, it has to be perfect. I mean, P E R F E C T. I’m picky like that. No baby of mine is going out into the world with three heads and eighteen toes.
(This is an excellent reason for me never to have children.)
So, agents. I went out and bought myself a copy of the Children’s Writers & Artists Yearbook 2011. I already love it. It sleeps on my bed. So does a lot of other stuff, books included, but the CW&A is there as well.
I made a list of agents who would accept email submissions. I got to G before I even had a list of 5. Granted, a few are currently closed to submissions (this I know because I checked all their websites specifically for this information) but this does indicate a dearth of agents who accept email submissions. Anyway, then I had an epiphany.
I can’t go submitting to any old agency just because they accept email submissions. I have to find the right agency for me. I need a dream agent to dream about. To focus on.
Which means research.
Ugh. I’ve never been a huge fan, but now I’m about to hit up the internet until it begs for mercy. Who is writing somewhat dark YA fantasy? Who represents them? Which agent at which agency? Are they currently accepting submissions?
The last question on my list should actually be what was originally the first: do they accept email submissions?
If yes, YEE-HA!! If no, I need to buy more stamps. And envelopes, both big and small. Luckily I already have print cartridges from when I thought I had run out of ink and bought two new cartridges and then found the printer already had a brand new cartridge in it. Go figure.
Anyway – once I have a list of agents to submit to, I have the end goal. Agents do not like first drafts. They like polished manuscripts. So, I will edit. A lot. Probably a few times. Then I’ll do it again until my CP physically tears the manuscript from my shaking hands and sends it to betas. Who may or may not like it. Oh god, I’m tearing my hair out already.
But one day I’ll have a polished manuscript. And when I do, I will have that list of agents to send it to (re-checked to make sure they are all still accepting submissions) already in my hand. And then I’ll be able to submit it and start the next book. Which is the happiest thought of all!
How do you go about agent research? Do you buy something like the Writers & Artists Yearbook? Do you rely on the internet? Word of mouth?