I've been querying for a couple months now after a fresh round of more edits. In addition to giving me time to consider all the reasons my manuscript could be rejected, it's also given me some time to step back from the query process and think about which strategies and resources have been the most helpful. For other writers who are also, #amquerying out there, I thought I'd share some of the things I found the most useful.
- Find books that you've loved in the past that are in the genre you're writing and use the acknowledgments or google to find out who represents those authors.
- Go to the #mswl feed on twitter to find what manuscripts agents are interested in right now. #agentwishlist also serves this purpose, but I haven't found it as useful. Plus if you go to the #mswl website, you can sort by genre, thus pulling up any agents that might be currently searching for something specific. Think of it as the personals ads for the publishing business. Maybe someday they'll even come out with a Missed Connections section. I would love to see what that would look like. (You: A well-edited sci-fi with steampunk accessories I noticed from across the room. I: An agent in search of well written steampunk adventure.) But I digress. I've had a lot of luck with this resource, I even got a full manuscript request and quickly from a posting, so this would be the number one resource I would suggest checking out. Lesser known is also, mswlparagraph, a more expanded version where you can peruse longer wishlists by agent.
- Publisher's Marketplace. I know, you have to pay a monthly fee. And that probably means you'll have to give up your sushi habit, or your potato chip habit, (don't judge me) to accommodate for it. But it's worth it. Publisher's Marketplace will list most deals for agents, (some aren't reported,) and this information gives you a much better idea if your book would be a fit for them than online interviews or agency websites because you can get a feel for the type of books they're interested in. For example, if they list middle grade on their website, PM can tell you if they've repped vampire trapeze artists or a story about a girl in drama club whose childhood best friend just betrayed her.
I'd love to hear about other resources and strategies others have used below in the comments. And good luck to anyone out there who is querying!