I did send my manuscript to several agents, here in Canada and in the States, and so far, a few rejections but, for the most part, radio silence, ergo rejections. And I figured, by sending my manuscript to an agent, it’s double the work. First, you have to wow the agent with your killer writing. Then you have to convince a publishing house that your killer writing is marketable. Albeit this last part is indeed the agent’s job, it’s just too many hoops to jump through. I’d instead take my chances by sending my manuscript directly to the publishing houses, no middle man.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: Tania, maybe the agents aren’t answering because your manuscript is a steaming pile of cow dung. That may very well be, but let’s just say for argument’s sake and for the sake of my own self-esteem that it’s not. Whether or not a literary agent likes your work or not is very suggestive and does not always reflect your ability as a writer. Sometimes the material is not something the agent is interested in or will have a hard time selling.
My novel, for example, contains elements of graphic physical violence, some aspects of sexual assault, profanities, and a dog is hurt. Quick parenthesis here, does a dog getting hit with a blunt object qualifies as animal cruelty in a novel? I don’t think it does, but one editor seemed to think it did. The dog is not tortured in the story; he’s just hit—one time. Let me know in the comments if you think that qualifies as animal cruelty. To me, cruelty equals torture. Hitting something that’s attacking you, not so much. Close parenthesis. So, as you can see, complex elements to sell in a novel. Hard to please an agent, or a publishing house, looking for horror without anything horrific actually happening. So what are they looking for? That’s anyone’s guess.
Also, did you know that you don’t need any qualifications to call yourself a literary agent? That’s right. You can just choose to call yourself one, and poof, you are one, like magic. No special training or diplomas are needed. That’s why you must do your research before submitting your manuscript to an agent. Make sure the agent has the experience and knows what they’re doing. Real literary agents start off as assistants to senior agents. Knowing their credentials and where they have worked is essential to make sure you’re entrusting your blood, sweat and tears to the right hands. And honestly, that’s just a lot of work. And I’ve got way too many kids and so little precious time to do that and find the time to write.