Submissions, submissions, submissions.

My aim was to approach a new agent every week. But I’ve found whole process is very time-consuming.

5 Year Writing Goal: May update

do you have goalsI’m taking part in Misha and Beth’s Five Year Project and my five-year goal is to write a novel and get it published.

For those who have been following my progress, you will know I have finished my novel, The Reluctant Scribe, and have been sending it off to agents. Just after my last update, I received my first rejection. It was polite but firm. The agent did not feel passionate enough about my work to want to take it on. Fair enough. And I am expecting many more.

My aim was to approach a new agent every week. But I’ve found whole process is very time-consuming. Each agency has different requirements. Some want the first 3 chapters, some want the first 30 or 50 pages, while some want the first 10,000 words. And each one requires a rejigging of the synopsis, which I have had to rework more times than I ever wanted to – from over 4 pages in length down to 400 words.

And some want the covering letter as a separate attachment, while others want it in the body of the email.

Of course, everything has to be beautifully written and checked for errors.

So, the whole process is highly stressful, and I haven’t managed to keep pace with one new submission a week. Walking expeditions and bank holidays got in the way!

Anyway, here is my latest tally:
Agents approached so far = 5
Requests for whole manuscript = 0
Rejections so far = 1

Author: Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, doctor, woman, etc.

17 thoughts on “Submissions, submissions, submissions.”

  1. Wow! I’m totally impressed by your approach to five agents and your goal to write so many queries. I think walking holidays are definitely worth a pause in the writing business. 🙂 Have a wonderful June!


  2. A few years ago, I queried with a 50% full request rate. I did get an agent although we are no longer working together. Here are some recommendations: save each element you need in a query as a different document. If you have to submit 10 pages one place and 30 somewhere else save both documents. (Chances are another agent will ask for the same thing, and you already have the document) Save each version of the synopsis and clearly label 1 page synop, 400 word synop, etc. Save your query/cover letter as a word document. Make it easy to see the parts that will need to change with each query (research, names, submission guidelines). Also, make sure your query includes a good synop paragraph. I’m teaching a class on this in July.


  3. I just left you a really long comment and it disappeared. Basically, I suggested you save each document you ever have to send separately and have it available for future use as well as save the cover/query letter in a word doc and be able to easily adjust each time. You can attach it or copy/paste into the body. I’m teaching a class on blurb writing in July if you need more help.


    1. Thanks for these suggestions Beth. Very useful and good advice. And would be interested in anything that helps me improve my synopsis. It’s one of the hardest things to write!


    1. Hi Marie. Yes, several established writers have produced rules on how to publish a novel. Most of them include this rule, or something like it: first you must finish writing the damn thing! At least I’ve achieved that 🙂

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