A simple step-by-step guide on how to apply for literary agents. Want to take that step and put your heart and soul, sorry, book, out there in the publishing world? Easy! Copious amount of stress and pain required. Please follow this guide for enlightenment.
Realise that this is what you want. Really and truly. Decide to do one of the bravest things you’ve ever done and start applying for literary agents in the hopes of publishing your book. Immediate regret may follow. Bucketloads of tears too.
Start work on your cover letter and synopsis. Wonder how on earth you are supposed to summarise your plot into one page / 500 words / one paragraph / whatever ridiculous length they claim to want. Google it. Become distressed by sheer amount of help available on the internet all offering contradictory advice. Include a biography in your cover letter? Call it a cover letter or a query letter? Include synopsis in said letter? Who knows?!
Start choosing agents to apply for. Start off handpicking those who fit your genre/style, who have existing clients of similar genres/styles, who have nice and fancy websites. Decide pretty quickly to apply for anybody and everybody with an email address.
Become annoyed at the distinct lack of universal specification. Oh you want a 100 word biography and a 1000 word synopsis all in the body of an email, but you want no biography but a separate synopsis, query letter and manuscript as word documents? That’s not annoying. That’s not going to be time-consuming at all.
Initially become very excited and nervous about pressing the send button. Emit a few shrieks as you do this. Very quickly become disillusioned with the whole process as you watch your inbox become full of agents’ confirmation emails telling you that they may get back to you, but that, then again, they may not. That’s right literary agents, you play it casual.
Sit back and wait 6 weeks. Twiddle your thumbs. Put your emails onto push notifications. Regret that immediately as you become overexcited by every ping signalling a spam email.
Start receiving rejections. Feel like a real writer.
Start the whole process again. Get used to people telling you that J.K. Rowling got rejected hundreds of times before she got published. (I don’t care about JK effing Rowling, I care about me!) Become alternatively disheartened and inspired. Get on with your day-to-day life and spend your free time daydreaming, writing and literary agent applying. Hope with all your might that one day it will all be worth it.
And boy, I really hope that it will.