Okay, so you’ve toiled for weeks (or sometimes months) and finally crafted the PERFECT query. Your MS has been beta read, critiqued and edited down perfectly. Now, you’re ready to submit.
You gather your first ten pages, first three chapters or whatever the agent’s submission guidelines require (because you’ve already researched the agents and know what they want) and then you hit the SEND button. You cross your fingers, toes, and any other body part you can manage, and wait for a response.
You wait, wait, and perhaps wait some more – hitting the REFRESH button so many times on your browser you are sure it’s going to permanently stick there.
After much teeth gnashing, and hair yanking, your first responses appear in your in-box.
All form rejections.
Disappointment floods every core of your body and you wonder how this is possible. Your query was amazing. But what about those first pages? Was there a distinctive voice? Could your pacing have been tighter? Was their conflict from the start?
If you waver in answering any of these questions, your problem may not be your query, but those first submitted pages.
I personally have fretted many times over my first pages and it made me wonder what an agent instantly responds to when they begin reading. Is it a story dripping with voice, or an immediate and devastating conflict? Then I thought, why question? Why not just go the experts?
So beginning tomorrow look for a new series here called First Five Frenzy (aka F3) where agents will be answering questions about those treacherous first five pages. What makes them sing, and what automatically sends them to the circular file.
I’ll try to change up the questions slightly with each agent, so if you have something you are burning to know, please reply in the comments. I’ll be sure to add it to a future interview.
Check back tomorrow for my inaugural interview with Agent Bridget Smith of Dunham Literary. You won’t want to miss it!