The Query Countdown

The countdown has begun. On September 4th, I sent a query to four of the first twenty agents I had selected out of my initial list of 50. Replies may come within 4-6 weeks unless I get none. A no reply means either implicit rejection or my submission is still among the hundreds of queries an agent receives weekly.

A list of 50 agents seems like a lot but after compiling it from I discovered from their websites that some agents are no longer agenting. Then, out of that shortened list, I put aside those for whom memoir appears as an add-on genre rather than their representation of choice.

On a funny note, I was surprised that so many agents feel compelled to introduce their cats in their profiles. Overall, I favored those who took the time to show what they are looking for and why.

Strangely, among my chosen top ten agents, half are currently closed to submissions. They are busy working on the submissions they accepted before the summer. I anxiously check daily to find out whether they are open again.

My #1 choice of agent is also a Francophile. That my memoir is about two French women might spark her interest, or so I hope. As it happens, I just returned from France where I visited my ailing father. Four days since my return, I am still jet-lagged and getting back to work on my next batch of queries, sometimes in the middle of the night.

I read each agent’s guidelines, revise tutorials, and check my list of dos and don’ts in a query. I find that they are clearer for fiction (novels) and prescriptive nonfiction (how to…). Some say to include my book proposal instead of waiting for an agent’s specific request of it. Others say not to do that.

To be bold or bashful remains a question.