I did the thing. I have been slowly releasing The Reapers out into the world by submitting my work to agents. I thought I would share the experience, since it was all completely new to me.
I’ve been using the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook 2018 (haha!), and working through the list of agents one at a time. If their ethos resonates with me, and the work they have represented seems in line with my story, then I explore their submissions guidelines.
Now, I never thought that submitting work would be like applying for a job. It’s a sales pitch – for you and your product. Maybe that will be obvious to a lot of people, but I suppose I always assumed the writing would just be able to speak for itself. So, like with job applications, I have written a cover letter I am happy with, and have been tailoring it to each agent depending on what their requirements are. Some ask for a full bio while others ask for a few lines.
So far, it seems it is quite standard for an agent to ask for the first three chapters as the initial submission, as well as a one-page synopsis. It took me a long time to condense all that The Reapers was down to a page, without giving away too many spoilers. You want to draw them in with the promise of a great read, without info-dumping or giving away your best secrets.
I have submitted to 6 agents so far, and received one rejection. It might sound bonkers, but I was THRILLED to receive my rejection email. It meant someone had read my work, and made the whole process real. It meant I had tried, which is more than I’d ever done before with any of the stories sat on my computer. It was a nice rejection too – not “your work stinks”, but more “this isn’t what we are looking for right now but we are sure someone else will love it”. I hope all rejections are that gentle.
So that’s my experience so far. I don’t mind if nothing comes from this, it has just been exciting (and terrifying) to put The Reapers out there. But I love my novel, and I genuinely believe others would love it too. So fingers crossed, eh?