Revising Leah

September 20, 2008

Finding an Agent (Progress Report #8)

Filed under: Uncategorized — J.M. Reep @ 11:57 am
Tags: , , , ,

So today I’m finishing the fourth cycle of revision. It’s taken a while, but this cycle has been very productive — perhaps the most productive cycle since the very first one. I’ve been reading each chapter twice, usually twice in the same day. That has allowed me to linger on chapters and scenes and make corrections that I might not otherwise make if I were just reading at a normal pace and covering two or three chapters a day.

I like how the manuscript is coming along. Some chapters are very close to completion. Others still need some work. As I start the fifth cycle of revision, one thing that I’m going to try to do is add some sensory imagery and descriptive detail to those passages which seem to need it. Because so much of the text of Leah is narration, vivid description is very important in keeping the reader interested in the story.

The other thing that I’ve decided to do while I continue to revise is to query a few agents. All along, my plan for Leah has been to self-publish the novel as I did with The Spring.  But I thought it might be fun to query some agents and just see what happens. My first three chapters, which is what I would send to an agent, aren’t quite finished, but they’re far enough along that I’d feel confident letting someone else read them. I’m pretty sure all I’ll receive in return will be form rejection letters (or, more likely, no response at all), so I’m not going to waste a lot of time on this. I’ll try maybe three or four agents (I haven’t decided who yet) and see what happens.

To that end, I’ve found a couple of useful sites lately regarding agents. One is AgentQuery which has a lot of good advice (and contact information) for finding an agent. I’ll try to query by email as much as I can because it’s faster, and I know that if I don’t hear back from an agent for an email query within about a week, then that’s a rejection.  Some writers spend years seeking an agent (often without success), but I’m not going to waste my time like that. If I don’t get any bites by November, then I’ll proceed with Plan A: self-publishing.



  1. Good luck with it, even though you’re not too bothered whether you find one or not I think it’s an interesting thing to try out. The other wonderful thing about email is that it works out a lot cheaper ;-) no costly printing of pages and postage.

    Comment by J.C — September 20, 2008 @ 2:18 pm

  2. Yeah, I’m surprised that agents and publishers (whether book publishers or small zine publishers) haven’t embraced email more. That site I mentioned, AgentQuery, seemed to disparage email submissions because they’re so easy — as if the “sacrifice” of spending money on packaging and postage means that you’re a more serious writer than one who submits by email. I would think that email submissions would be better for both sides. Agents and publishers wouldn’t have a physical “slush pile” taking up space in their offices. It would save them money on postage, and a PDF or DOC file is a lot easier to handle and keep track of than 300 loose pages of a novel. According to the AgentQuery listings, some agents still refuse to accept email queries; I won’t be sending my work to them!

    Comment by jmreep — September 20, 2008 @ 2:34 pm

  3. No me either when I get there eventually. Due to living in New Zealand email makes a lot more sense, I think the cost of physically sending things out to people would be too much to handle for me personally. Plus emails can just be deleted or stored in separate folders, I cringe when I think of the paper waste created by the vast quantity of posted submissions there must be in the world.

    Comment by J.C — September 20, 2008 @ 3:17 pm

  4. I write Christian Romantic Comedy and just got my first response from an agent–well, my first two: one outright rejection, and one request for three chapters. All done through e-mail, by the way. I have only one agent who requested USPS submissions, and I haven’t gotten around to mailing it yet.

    If you query an agent, follow their guidelines to the letter, and be sure to let them know when you expect to finish the novel. Of course, they’re notoriously slow to respond, so you may have it done by the time you hear from anyone.

    Good luck, and God bless your efforts!

    Comment by pprmint777 — July 15, 2009 @ 12:26 pm

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