Before you leap to drafting 19 new queries, be certain you’ve done your homework: Is the manuscript up to professionally edited standards? Do you know what category your book falls into? Do you know the sort of agency you would want to represent your work? And are your goals for your manuscript realistic?
When you submit your query to an agent, be a professional first and a personality second. No matter what your brain tells you in moments of doubt or frustration, agents aren’t looking for seers, and they won’t be won over by efforts to prove you truly, deeply know them. Presenting an agent with biographical details you dug up on her by googling her name won’t charm her. She wants a concise, professional query that displays your book, its qualities and potential, and a general sense that you submitted to her with care.
Keep the query brief.
A touch of personality is professional. You should aim to highlight those qualities that make you interesting, but such qualities can be limited to your publication history, education, or professional qualifications that relate to your manuscript.
Know that a “No” is in your best interests just as much as a “Yes.” This can be tough. When you’ve finished your manuscript, and it’s time to sell it, you can’t imagine one reason why anyone would reject it. That’s a good sign. It means you have faith in the outcome. But don’t confuse confidence with good business. You wouldn’t want an overbooked agent to take on your project any more than an agent would want to represent an author who never plans to write another book.
Agents offer career representation. If the agent doesn’t take to your work, she’s saved you valuable time by rejecting you. Taste is a powerful thing, and you want an agent-author relationship that will foster your talents and encourage you to persevere. After all, securing literary representation is only the first gate toward publication. Editors offer a whole new round of rejection, and for that, you want someone in your corner to champion your voice.