I've continued making my way through my BF list of agents the last two days. I've produced a satisfactory synopsis and let me tell you it was so much easier this time around. One might even say that I'm a better, more mature writer. Or one might say that I did far more research (that is, browsing agent blogs) before I wrote this one. Take your pick. Either way, it's finished, and I'm getting on with my queries.
I've been working on the printed queries today. I am relieved, after finishing just one so far, that 80% of the agencies out there have moved from snail mail to email query. It's going to save me a ton of money, for one. Time, for another. Wrestling with a crappy $60 printer whose paper feeder and catcher arms were both broken off by one's wife is a real pain in the rumpus.
One of the things I watch for when I read agent blogs is how other people tend to go about their queries. Weronika Janczuk, a lit agent with D4EO, actually asked this question on her blog recently. I went through the answers and had one of those "Oh. You guys actually have a strategy" moments. It had never occurred to me to send out a batch of six queries and wait for answers, and then tweak my query and send out another batch. I produced what I think is a pretty good query letter and I've spent weeks scouring the internet for agents I think might be interested and now I'm sending them out. To everyone on my list.
I definitely see the merit in sending out a few at a time, tweaking, and then sending out more. But...but... I just don't have the patience. I gotta be honest. Further, I didn't go through my list and pick out my top five or ten. I took everyone out there who might be interested in heroic fantasy and put them on my list without further ranking. However, as I have been sending out the actual queries I've spent maybe twenty minutes on each agent, surfing the web and lurking all the author help sites and discovering what I can about that agent. If I find that agency is particularly well thought of--or the opposite--I make a note of it. If I find that agent is only mildly interested in commercial lit, then I make a note that they won't likely be interested in my book. Yet if they take an e-query, then what the hell I'm gonna query them anyway.
So that list of my top 5-10 agents is going to come about AFTER the queries have been sent out. This sounds kinda stupid when I say it that way, but since I'm not being choosy about who I send my queries, this isn't really a problem. This list WILL be nice, however, if I some day get a nibble from a publishing house before I do an agent.