Saturday, May 15, 2010

How to Lose an Agent in a Day

Do you know how it feels to be rejected by a literary agent? A lot of authors have experienced this. We all try to follow the same guidelines for submitting the perfect query, but sometimes, no matter how hard you try, there's still a couple things in your submission that cause the agent to immediately click the delete button. So instead of posting another article on how to grab the agent's attention, I've decided to follow the example from the movie "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" and write an article on how to lose the agent's attention.

Here are some tips I've gathered from all who contributed to my previous post on how to be rejected by an agent:
  • Ignore an agent's submission guidelines. For example, send fiction to an agent who only represents nonfiction, and so on.
  • Announce that you're the best thing that's ever happened to Christian fiction!!!!!!!
  • Avoid using a professional, formal tone.
  • Announce "This is the first draft of the first novel I've ever written!"
  • Send in the first draft of the first novel you've ever written.
  • Tell them how much you LOVE to write and give them the background story on when the dream was sparked.
  • If the agent doesn't respond within five days, send the query again. If another five days go by, send it a couple more times, until finally he/she replies.
  • Tell them that you deserve this, and give them specific reasons why they should represent you.
  • Have your mom look over your first draft and send it in the query right away without allowing someone else to edit it.
  • Don't research the agency you're submitting to or their criteria/genre they represent. Just send it in and risk it.
  • BEG the agent for representation. Don't let them say no! This is a once in a lifetime chance, and the sooner, the better!
  • Use poor English in your query.
  • Be arrogant in your presentation. Humility won't get you anywhere. Remember, your doing a favor by making your manuscript available to them!
Thanks to all of those who shared and contributed their advice! Let's just pray no one follows it ;)

Below are a few more tips I've collected from literary agent Rachelle Gardner's Twitter on what NOT to do when submitting a query - except, of course, I had to reverse them so they can go along with our theme.

So if you want to be rejected by an agent, follow these tips from literary agent Rachelle Gardner's Twitter:
  • Before you submit your query, make sure to first ask permission from the agent to do so.
  • You don't need to know what a query is or have any idea on how publishing works.
  • Avoid putting the word "query" in your subject line when submitting.
  • You don't have to send your query just by email. If you send it through social media, your most likely to be noticed more quickly.
  • In your query submission, make sure to mention the praise that you've received from your amazing writing.
  • You don't have to include anything in your message of your query, except "Please read my attachment."
  • Give the agent an adjective on how amazing your book is. Example: Earthshattering
  • If you'd like your query email to stand out from all the rest, include: "I NEED A LITERARY AGENT" in your subject line. Make sure it's in all caps.
  • In your query, tell the agent about the genre you are trying to pursue. Example: "Paranormal romance is a growing trend."
  • You don't need to double or triple check your query for errors before submitting. Just trust your first instincts.
  • In your submission, include: "Dear [another agent who is not the agent you are querying].
  • Spread your query over a series of four emails in attempt for your submission to get noticed before others.
If you remember this advice when submitting your query, I'm sure you'll lose an agent in no time. :)

Any more tips you'd like to contribute? Comment below!


  1. Very true indeed.

  2. Always remember to include glitter, perfume, or pictures of your puppy. ;)

  3. You mean those aren't the rules to GET an agent. Oh, now I understand all those rejections! You made my Sunday brighter. Thanks.

    Since this is Sunday, here's the prayer taught me by my half-Lakota mother :

    Oh, Great Spirit
    Whose voice I hear in the winds,
    And whose breath gives life to all the world,
    hear me, I am small and weak,
    I need your strength and wisdom.
    Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes ever behold
    the red and purple sunset.
    Make my hands respect the things you have
    made and my ears sharp to hear your voice.
    Make me wise so that I may understand the things
    you have taught my people.
    Let me learn the lessons you have
    hidden in every leaf and rock.

    I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother,
    but to fight my greatest enemy - myself.
    Make me always ready to come to you
    with clean hands and straight eyes.
    So when life fades, as the fading sunset,
    my Spirit may come to you without shame.

    (translated by Lakota Sioux Chief Yellow Lark in 1887)

    Love the title to your blog. Christ is also my Light when the world can get so very dark, Roland

  4. Oh, this is too true, and great reminders for anyone who is contemplating sending queries!

  5. In your query, go on and on and on at great lenght about the background to your story.

    Please visit my webiste :)

  6. ha ha! Thanks Tessa. I'm going to have to come back to this when it's time to submit :)

  7. Roland: Thanks for sharing the poem! It’s beautiful.

    David: Haha thanks for your tip! I’ll look over there right now. ☺

    Claire: You're welcome! Thanks for commenting.


Thanks for stopping by my blog!