At Adams Literary, we receive over 10,000 submissions a year. That averages out to over 30 queries a day. So, for every day you query, you’re competing against at least 29 other writers looking for representation—and against established clients with new projects to be read and sent out, editors scheduled for phone conferences, co-agents with updates on foreign deals. On average, you are competing against tens of other people for the time and attention of a literary agent each day.
Intimidated? You’re not alone. Pumped up? I hope so.
Because your journey as a writer doesn’t end when an agent represents you. A publishing deal and a fanbase doesn’t fall in your lap. After you find the agent that’s right for you, the process starts all over again. You will be competing for the time and attention of a consumer—this time, against hundreds and thousands of other books, movies, events, videos of kittens and puppies.
Your story is one of millions of things people can be reading.
You know what though? Your story is one of a million. It’s one story only you can uniquely tell. It’s not the best. No one is looking for “the best”—not when reading is such a subjectively and deeply personal experience. But we are looking for your best.
When you have written the story the best you can do at the level you’re at now, that allows someone to connect with it and you. Work with it and you. An agent, an editor, someone browsing in a store—all readers looking for that one in a million.
So forget about all the competition, the numbers, the averages, the trends. Forget about what I said earlier. Focus on you and the story you’re submitting.
Does your query capture the most intriguing aspects of your story? Do you introduce yourself and the story in the best way? (Hint: The best introduction doesn’t begin with a generic “Dear Sir” or “Dear Sir or Madam.”) Does your passion and professionalism shine through? Is your first page the right first page? Does it pull the reader in and keep the reader interested?
I’m looking forward to answering these questions with you at the 24th Annual SCWW Conference during my class, “Love at First Page: Captivating Agents with your Query and First Pages.”
Can’t wait to see you there!
Samantha Bagood wanted to be a literary agent since she was in high school. So she was ecstatic to join Adams Literary in 2012, where she now works as an assistant. She brings her design, writing and editorial experience from years of freelancing, writing and book reviewing. She loves meeting people who share her passion for children’s literature and the children’s book industry, especially those who are just starting out like her. Samantha graduated from Appalachian State University, where she earned a degree in English, with concentrations in creative writing and professional writing, and a minor in communications. In her free time, she reads, writes and takes on occasional freelance design work. She also runs races with obstacles that tend to be much, much taller than her.