Querying a Literary Agent

So today (Friday May 18th 2018) I queried my very first literary agent. It happens to be Dan Brown’s agent… I know, insane right?

Thought process: I’ve never done this before, so hey, what the hell? I’ll just Google “Dan Brown’s Literary Agent” and see what comes up. Interestingly Heide Lange, from Greenburger Associates popped right up as his agent so I looked at her profile, which nicely has an email for her for submissions as well as her submission guidelines and away I went!

I may or may not have had some wine to give me liquid courage, and an air of confidence.

I’m sure it’s usual to query regarding one specific book, however, while I am writing a novel (my first), and have an idea for a future one I want to do, that is in her general genre area, the book that I have currently “finished” is not something normally in her wheelhouse. It’s a “kid’s book for adults” like Go the Fuck to Sleep is. While I will probably approach some other agents regarding this book, or maybe even directly approach the publishers of the afore mentioned book as well as the one that did Pat the Zombie, I feel like an agent should be more in tune with the larger novels I intend to publish rather than this one off book that kind of popped in my head as a non-sequitur the other week. This is why I queried her.

My first novel is kind of a Da Vinci Code + Children of Men + The Red Tent, at least that is how I am trying to package it and describe it when I’m only halfway through. It’s a dystopian futurist religious thriller kind of deal. The one that I have in my head for the future is an historical fiction one about my great uncle who died in Auschwitz. These are right up her alley according to her info page, so I would prefer to have an agent who seems to fit with these book genres. I’ll post updates as to whether or not I get any type of response.

I did do a little research before deciding to just Google “Dan Brown’s Literary Agent.” I recommend Writing Tips Oasis’s 21 Top Literary Agencies That Authors Should Know About and wrote them down in a research Scrivener file. They did not include Greenburger Associates, though clearly they have signed some pretty big author names. I also read Jane Friedman’s blog post about How to Find a Literary Agent for Your Book and Marie and David Law’s blog post, Agents for Children’s Picture Books since this first book I’m doing is kind of in a children’s book style, in that it should be illustrated and is in the style of a Dr. Seuss book. That was about the amount of research I did before I did this first query. Aside from of course listening to multiple podcasts that went over this at one point or another which I go over in my previous post.

Honestly, at this point I feel it’s best to just go for it. If she says no I’ll get my first rejection and my life won’t really change much at all except I will have one rejection to pin up. If she is interested though, then that would be awesome and maybe my life will change a little bit for the short term while we figure out where to go from here. Anyway, the moral of this post is have some wine, google some shit, and then ask someone if they like your work/ have time or inclination to take on a new author. The worst they can say is no, but your life will be exactly the same at the point they say no as it was when you emailed them, so really nothing lost. (If I get rejected and end up crying in the shower in my cutoffs Arrested Development style I’ll let you all know)

I’m also planning on doing a future post about how I’ve got to this point of “confidence.” I put this word in quotes because I realize from speaking to other writers, and other friends in general, that some people may find this idea of actually querying an agent to be extremely frightening, anxiety making, fills them with indescribable terror etc. I’m still trying to figure out the words to why this doesn’t currently seem to bother me. It might be the wine…

*quick update to this post – it’s Tuesday May 29th – and over the weekend I did a bit more digging and found that I had sent my query to the wrong email – her regular publisher one rather than her query one, since apparently agents often have multiple emails to separate the queries out. So I did send it to the right one on Saturday, and then I also saw on some site or another that she wasn’t accepting new authors. This info was not posted on her bio on the agency website, so I’m not sure whether or not it was correct info, or was maybe old and now she is accepting new authors again. I will have to see.

I also sent a query for my “kids book for adults” to another agent who’s specialty is more in the picture book genre and their agency works with illustrators as well (which I need because I’m not super interested in trying to illustrate my book at the moment) so I think that might be a better fit for those types of books. This agent also happens to have been an architect in another life so I’m hoping maybe we will be a good match. It was on this agents site, Andrea Brown Literary Agency that I saw that each agent had their own different preferences and emails potentially for submissions. It seems that some agencies standardize for the agency and some let their agents work the way they want to. Learning a lot of things over here! Very fun, slightly terrifying, excitingly new.

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